Sunday morning dawned chucking down with rain. What a horrid start to our holiday after the glorious weather of the journey down. After a little research we decided to pop into Bude and visit the Heritage centre, Bude Castle. It was built by and the home of Cornwall’s forgotten genius Sir Goldsworthy Gurney (what a fabulous name) in 1830, it was the first building on sand with specially constructed foundations and though he was mocked at the time and people said the building wouldn’t last, it’s still standing and in use today. Well worth a visit, the museum was absolutely fascinating and I’m astounded that we’d never heard of this man before. Inventor of the steam drag, a precursor to steam engines on railways which ultimately failed due to lack of investment because the smart money was going into railways, he went on to invent limelight and the Bude Light which illuminated the House of commons and Trafalgar Square among others and he developed the system of the light with a revolving shield still used in lighthouses to this day.
I really enjoyed learning about the man and his inventions.
We enjoyed the other exhibits on shipwrecks and the Bude canal as well as a moving display dedicated to the American rangers stationed at Bude to train for the D-Day landings. A walk around the art on show in the various galleries in the castle and a sandwich and cuppa in the cafe conservatory overlooking the beach completed our visit.
With the weather getting even wetter, we jumped back into the car to drive round to Widemouth Bay for a look. Then back to Morrisons to buy ingredients for fish pie. My turn to cook tonight!
So wet and miserable that there are no photos taken today apart from the ones of the cottage that I added to the post for yesterday.
After an uneventful drive of just short of three hours we arrived in Stratton and found our cottage. It was evident that parking was going to be difficult, the ‘ample street parking’ as described by the owner is clearly only available at times when the village is deserted! We were very early for check-in anyway so headed off to Bude for shopping.
When we got back to Stratton, we were lucky that a kindly neighbour took pity on us trying to unload the car (parked halfway back to Bude) and directed us to a space nearby.
Higher Townsend cottage is very old and rustic shall we say! It’s very quaint with its thatched roof and rickety wooden door, complete with enormous key.
The living room is comfortable but the furniture is shabby and a bit fusty smelling to be truthful. The staircase to the bedroom leads off the living room and is wonderfully wonky, typical of a cottage of this age obviously. The kitchen is a small extension and is adequately equipped for a holiday let but by no means as good as some we’ve stayed in. There is a sweet little courtyard area at the back next to the kitchen which was bathed in sunshine when we had unpacked the shopping so what better than to sit out there and enjoy a beer!
The bedroom and bathroom are furnished nicely and are clean and welcoming. The wonky floors slope just enough to fool you and trip you up late at night…. and Patrick found a little secret door in the bathroom that leads to another staircase down into the dining room.
It’s a really quirky little place but I have to say that the living room lets it down a bit for me. The place is old but that doesn’t mean the furniture has to be!
We decided to see the lay of the land around Stratton, or specifically the local hostelries of which there are two. We thought that we may eat at one or both of them during the week so a bit of a reccy really. First up was The Tree Inn. I was expecting a bit of a gastropub after reading online reviews but we only popped into the public bar so didn’t see the restaurant. We bought a drink and sat out in the yard at a table. There was a table of local characters at the next table who seemed to find us very interesting. I felt like a zoo exhibit and it didn’t endear the place to me. Next up was the Kings Arms. I preferred this one but Patrick didn’t care for it. We again sat outside as there was no one at all in the pub, as there hadn’t been in the Tree. We may give them another try one evening but we didn’t feel comfortable in either of them on Saturday afternoon.