Thursday, 25 June 2009

From Looe to Minions - a great day out

Weatherwise I reckon yesterday was about the best day of the past week in my area. Which was fortuitous timing because one of my brothers together with his wife is holidaying in Mid Cornwall at the moment and we agreed to meet up to initially visit Looe and then maybe go to one or two other places. We met at Liskeard and then shared a car for the onward drive to Looe. There are alternative routes for this leg of the journey and we took the slow tortuous 'B' road that wends its way through St Keyne and Duloe before dropping sharply off the ridge that separates the valleys of the West and East Looe rivers. From Sandplace one has the river and railway for company for the final mile or three to the town, or perhaps I should say twin towns.

Although the main economic activity in Looe was and still is centred around the river rather than right on the coast, nevertheless the latter is very close by whereas the likes of Fowey and Padstow are tucked well into their respective river estuaries. I particularly like going right through West Looe out to Hannafore where there is (free!) parking on this wide cul de sac road from which there is a great view of St George's (or Looe) Island lying just off shore at this point.
A gate at the end of this road leads to the continuation of the coast path and a not too arduous walk west to Polperro by way of Talland Bay.

The length of that walk wasn't on the day's itinerary but it's a perambulation I've done more than once before and I would recommend it to anyone new to coastal walking and unsure about their capabilities. On this occasion we stopped by the little kiosk at Hannafore to refresh ourselves before gently ambling back through West Looe, crossing the bridge and wandering the narrow streets of the older settlement of East Looe. The fairly large beach can be easily missed believe it or not and is separated from the river mouth by the Banjo Pier - if one sees the shape of this construction then the reason for its name becomes readily apparent.

Having had a lunchtime snack we decided to go inland to visit 'Paul Corin's Magnificent Music Machines' at St Keyne. The website is here. It's a few years now since I first went there but it's a museum like no other. Paul is, what can I say, very much an individual and I can highly recommend a visit to this peaceful spot hard by the river and railway. Like many another small tourist attraction Paul is finding his visitor numbers dropping off. As it so happens we were the only folk there at the time we arrived but sometimes you can find yourself joining Paul's grand tour of his wonderful instruments part way through. No matter from Paul's point of view - you can drop in or out as you please. A couple of things that particularly appeal about this attraction are that Paul takes the trouble to chat to his 'customers' in a personable way and he throws in a lot of personal anecdotes for good measure. We must have spent a good hour in his company; he not only demonstrated the 'magnificent machines' that play music automatically but played his wonderful Wurlitzer Organ as well. There are the brown tourist signs pointing the way off the 'B' road I had first mentioned and there are picnic tables just outside the building. Unfortunately it wasn't practical to go there by train because not all the Liskeard - Looe trains stop at the halt which is only a stone's throw away.

We rounded of the day by pushing north of Liskeard to first have a quick look at the holy well at St Cleer, then Trethevy Quoit from which it was a not too long a hop onto the high moor at Minions. It was delightfully quiet there compared with the bustle of Looe. However, as I pointed out to my companions, there was a vital connection between Minions and Looe - the Minions area was really important for the quarrying of granite and the mining of copper and these products were primarily exported through ... Looe!

It had been a very satisfying day with absolutely ideal weather - warm but not close with a pleasant breeze and Cornwall looking at its best. We couldn't have asked for more!

1 comment:

Badham Farm said...

brilliant desciption of a lovely day out in beautiful S E Cornwall.