This week I had reason to visit my parents in South Devon with an overnight stay. What better time I thought to take a trip to the home of the Pasty... Cornwall, I remembered it being quite close, no surprise that it was further than I thought. Incidentally, in case you're not aware of the "Cornish Pasty" here's the official definition - A pastry case with variable fillings, usually beef and vegetables. Unofficially, well variable is right, they're filled with chewy gristle which will generally make you want to spit it out...delicious they're not, I'm more of a "Devonshire Cream Tea" person. That'll get the Cornish up in arms demanding independence! Seriously, it's a beautiful part of the world, for the most though it has to be said along it's coastline. Inland it's not up to much apart from the rugged Bodmin Moor. My fathers friend used to own a pub on Bodmin, "The Jamaica Inn" of Daphne du Maurier fame - her writing was described as moody and romantic, much like large parts of Cornwall.
So, once I'd travelled 100 or so miles I reached Penzance and not a pirate in sight, actually there weren't many people in sight. St Michaels Mount is there and a couple of other brave souls, one of which was a fellow biker, so it was we chatted about bikes, photography and the weather for a while.
The route I'd chosen took me around the tip of Cornwall. From Penzance I headed a few miles along the coast to Mousehole, which I believe they pronounce as "moos-ole". Extremely beautiful place although again very quiet. Did they all know something I didn't? A few ominous looking clouds had appeared around Penzance, the writing was on the wall weatherwise. Anyway, a view of the harbour and a guy sat doing his crossword puzzle which seems a very nice thing to do - a peek over his shoulder would reveal... 1) Across - Wet, Cold & Miserable (4) - simple to solve that one mate "Rain" or perhaps the answer was "John"!
Next stop Land's End. Things began to take a turn for the worse as I gingerly rode through the muddy lanes making my way to this tourist hotspot. The wind picked up, it started to feel decidedly chilly and there was water coming out of the sky. When I arrived (I've been a few times in the distant past) the rain stopped and it was just as I'd left it all those years ago. A run down hotel, amusement centre and gift shop mostly closed for the season. Outside were four cars with a group of cheerful guys. They were on some kind of "Top Gear' challenge. They'd bought old cars for strictly under £500 and driven down that morning from London. They were planning to travel from Land's End to John O'Groats (the tip of Scotland), in all 874 miles...an adventure. Of course I obliged and took a photo.
I wonder how they got on, I imagine if nothing else they had a great laugh and stories to tell. Anyway, I gave them one of my cards and hopefully I'll get an email. Here's a few more shots of Land's End. The sign post is still there, the only change is that instead of standing next to it to have a photo taken by your friend or relative it's now roped off and a charge made of £10 for a print...I make no comment or judgement on that!
So, for the final part of the loop and on to St Ives. It was getting late and light would be soon running out, not that I seemed to get much light. Wet and Wild was the journey to St Ives, not fun on a motorcycle. Forget slippery roads and muddy lanes, my current bike gear is a round 12 years old, let's just say the waterproofing (like the rider) isn't what it was, uncomfortable doesn't begin to cover it. St Ives is another of those hot tourist destinations in cornwall, a fishing harbour surrounded by tiny streets with old cottages and pubs. Tiny amount of parking too! After riding around the town for a while I headed up a hill where I saw a what they laughingly call a Bus Station - a shed and parking for two buses. I stopped the bike, lent over the wall and grabbed a few shots. You'll notice after the first photo that I swapped lenses from the Summicron 35mm to the Noctilux 50mm with 3 Stop ND Filter, looked a little drab so I though it might give a bit of punch to the scene.
That lens can make the drabbest of days look bright. It was getting dark so I headed home. A long journey, made worse by the riders shivering (note to self: get some new bike gear!). By the time I reached Devon it had slackened off to torrential! I stopped at a garage for fuel and the lovely lady owner offered me a free cup of coffee - they're such nice people these Devonians. You'll see that I more or less just documented my stop offs photographically speaking on this trip, there was such little time, I reckon about 300 miles were covered in all. I loved the bike ride despite the weather, the countryside and coastline were stunning. Worth a visit if you haven't been to Cornwall, don't get drawn in to buying a Pasty though! In case you don't believe from these shots the weather I endured here's one I took at the roadside, virtually unprocessed apart from all the sensor dust spots removed (Man that Leica lets in some dust!!)
Finally, and not Cornwall related, here's a shot I took in Bath the other day. For those interested in photography. Using the Noctilux, but at f/11...I know, who heard of such behaviour! I've only ever really shot this lens wide open (f/0.95) before. Still can't beat the Summicron 35mm though...
As usual I would be delighted to read any comments and my sincere thanks go to anyone taking the time to read my blog.
All images can be opened by clicking on the thumbnails and are taken using a Leica M with either a Summicron 35mm or Noctilux 50mm lens fitted.