Sunday, 19 August 2012

Summer comes to Cornwall

Amazingly, we've had nearly a solid month of summer here in Cornwall, which must be some sort of record. The sun has been out and the air has been warm, so everybody has been going to the beach. The water, of course, is as cold as ever, so once you're by the waterfront, you either don a wetsuit in order to go for a swim, or you just hang out on the shore. I generally find the latter option to be both more comfortable and more rewarding, since it not only enables you to avoid the ice cream headache sensation caused by getting frigid seawater on your face, but also allows you to take in the scenery--and when you are visiting the lovely St. Agnes, the scenery is pretty spectacular.

(A gull surveys the shoreline from on high...)

(...but the view was pretty good from my perspective.)

(Here's the view back towards St. Agnes, and the old tin mining buildings up on the ridge.)

(The beach is always a popular place on sunny days--we were sharing it with many others during this particular visit. Notice how very few people are actually in the water!)

(Many of Cornwall's beaches are backed by impressive cliffs, and St. Agnes is no exception. If the wind is coming off the water, though, the stone walls don't offer much protection, so many Brits bring windbreaks and even tents, as you can see in the background here.)

(When you're at the beach, it is practically mandatory that you take a peek into the rock pools.)

(Underneath all the algae, you can find all sorts of other critters--anemones, shrimps ("prawns"), fish, crabs, and so on.)

(During low tide, you can also see wildlife higher up on the rocks, such as these mussels...)

 (...and these limpets. Also, the rocks themselves are pretty neat--look at all those intricate veins; they are a good reminder of Britain's volcanic past.)

 (Pro tip: When you go rock pooling, take along a biologist (or three) to help you with species identifications.)

(To escape from the hustle and bustle of the shoreline, you can take a hike up the cliffs and get a new vantage point.)

(It may rain a lot in Cornwall, but not too many places have shorelines as spectacular as this.)

 (Here's a reminder that there's more to the seashore than algae and gulls. This little guy is a gatekeeper (Pyronia tithonus), and is perched here on what appears to be some dried-up gorse.)

(In direct opposition to the dried brown vegetation in the previous picture is the vibrant coloration of the heather (aka "ling"), shown here with some blooming gorse in the background. Entire hillsides were pink and purple thanks to an abundance of blossoms like these.)

When you pack for a trip for the beach, it's a good idea to include a camera alongside your sunscreen and wetsuit. Days like this are few and far between down here, so it's good to snap a few photos that will help cheer you up during the long, dark winter hours--and remind you of what you have to look forward to next spring!


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  1. Wow, I accidentally came to your blog, I was looking for pictures of lamb's lettuce :) And I can't believe that it took me to this wonderful blog of yours! Great pictures!

    1. Thanks so much--I'm glad you enjoyed it!