Cornwall Holiday – Arrival

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.

Cottage exterior.
Living room

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.

Weekend in Cropton.

Well, we’re back home safe and sound after our lovely weekend away.  It was just what we needed, relaxation!  The cottage was beautiful and the owner Mike, couldn’t have been more helpful.  Even down to getting his 4×4 out to tow us off the yard on Monday morning when our car was stuck in the very deep snow.  There was a wood burning stove in the inglenook fireplace and we made great use of that all weekend.  Very cosy and romantic :-).

We took books to read and I had plenty of knitting with me, oh and biscuits and chocolates of course 🙂

My Dream Holiday.

Now, coincidentally this happened to be the weekend of the Cropton Beer Festival.  We didn’t know this when we booked the cottage – no one believes us of course but it’s true.  Naturally, we were very happy to discover it, but we genuinely didn’t know about it when we chose that weekend. Our plan, as such, was that we would just chill out and relax, pop to the pub a couple of times and stay in and cook one of the three nights we would be there.

So, after staying in with a bottle of wine and a beef casserole on the Friday night, on Saturday, after a hearty full English breakfast, we set off for a walk in the snow around the village.  It really was a winter wonderland, so beautiful.

The view from the cottage window
Sheep in a field
The New Inn, Cropton

Naturally, after all the exercise, we felt we had earned a couple of beers so it was off to the beer festival.  We got there just as it had opened for the day so had the run of the bar in the marquee specially set up for the purpose.  Just take a look at all those pumps!  That’s only half of the bar in the picture. 

We'll just start at one end and work our way down shall we?

I’m not going to bore you by listing all the beers we had over the weekend, suffice to say we tried a fair few between us!  My particular favourite was Cropton’s Blackout.  A fabulous rich Porter which is produced from a 1930’s recipe.  It’s like chocolate in a glass….yum yum.  There was also a Biker’s Rally on over the weekend and about 50 motorcylists had braved the elements for the event and many were camped in the field behind the pub.  Yes, that’s right, camped!  As in tents and sleeping bags!  I was astounded that people would even consider camping in that weather but the ones we spoke to assured us that they were snug and warm.  I’ll take their word for it I think.  We were also surprised to see how many other visitors there were from Hull.  We met people we know and saw quite a few others who we know by sight from The Wellington Inn in Hull. 

On Sunday, we had a very lazy day and actually didn’t move from in front of the fire all day.  I enjoyed some knitting and finally finished my Woolly Wormhead mystery hat B, just in time for the end of November!  I also made a dent in my Red ‘jeans cardigan and am pleased with they way that’s coming along now.  I’ll blog about and put pictures of my hat up when I can get some nice ones.

On Monday lunchtime when we came to leave, we found the car well and truly stuck in deep snow. 

There's a car under there!
I had to sweep the snow off!

Mike the cottage owner got his 4×4 out to try to tow us out but it was a struggle.  We had to dig more snow from under the wheels and try several times.  Eventually we got moving and once we were on the road, it was fine.  Fine, until we got within spitting distance of home.  Part of the road to Beverley was closed and we had to take a diversion, through little villages and country roads.  It got a bit hairy at one point when we couldn’t actually tell where the road ended and the ditches began!  I would have taken a photo but I was too scared.  I also thought it might piss Patrick off since he was the one trying to keep us on the road at the time.  I know if I’d been driving and he’d got his camera out, I’d have felt like ramming it down his throat. :-D.  We were very relieved to see the main road in front of us, relatively clear of snow, leading to the main Beverley bypass.  We stopped in Beverley at The Green Dragon, for some lunch and then made our way home for a quiet night in.

A truly lovely weekend break.  Why are they always over too quickly though?

Staithes – day one

After a lovely drive up the coast, we arrived in Staithes just after 2pm. Cottage check in was 3pm but we chanced our arm and found it ready. After unloading our stuff, we had to move the car back to the top of the village to our pre-booked parking space as there is no public parking in the old village.

On first impression, Coble Cottage was charming and right on the harbour.

View from the cottage with Cowbar Nab in the background

After parking the car, we walked down the very steep hill, through the high street back to the cottage to unpack and explore our home for the next 3 nights. It sleeps up to 8 in 4 bedrooms with 2 bathrooms over the two upper floors. A tiny but very well equipped kitchen and a lounge on the ground floor.

Having unpacked, we decided to pop to the shop for some butter, probably the only thing we didn’t bring with us. There doesn’t seem to be any general grocery shops in old Staithes and we didn’t really want to drive down to the next village to the co-op so we popped into a lovely shop called Betty Bo on the High Street. This was one of those shops that sells really nice but quite pricey artisan products. You know the sort of thing, hand made goats cheese and organic this, that and the other. It was nice though but the only butter they had was in a little wooden tub, raw butter which is apparently much better for you than Lurpak 🙄. It was a case of being more convenient than having to shift the car and drive to the co-op so we bought it at just short of a fiver! It is bloody nice though I have to admit.

Coming out of the shop, we decided to do a bit of exploring so went down a little snicket next to the Cobbles cafe which took us to a bridge over the beck.

We turned towards the sea, past a row of cottages, the life boat station and some lobster pots to the harbour wall for the obligatory walk to the end.

Cowbar Nab towering over the cottages.

It’s a pretty view from the harbour wall looking across towards the bay and we could see our cottage tucked in between the rest.

Our cottage is the buff coloured one behind the cream one across the road to the left of the pub.

On our way back and instead of crossing the bridge back to the High Street we continued up a very steep hill, just to see what was there really.

View from the hill

We didn’t realise that we were walking up the side of Cowbar Nab until we got to the top and there was a sign and a stile to climb over to continue to the top of the headland.

Well, we were already there so decided to carry on. Over the stile and through some undergrowth and a few hundred yards later we were on the top of the world! Next three photos are taken from the top of Cowbar Nab.

Back down the hill and on the way to the cottage, we’d hoped to pop into the Cod and Lobster but it was too busy and we couldn’t get in. Resourceful as ever, we got ourselves a beer from our own supply in the cottage and went and sat on a bench on the harbour just yards away from the front door.

What a lovely first day.