Perran Sands is a beach that is almost exactly the opposite of Porthgwarra. It is on Mount's Bay to the east of Penzance and is quite long, about half a mile, and very flat so the sea goes out a long way. It is better at high tide, or at least more than half tide, otherwise you have to walk a long way to have water deeper than your knees.
This beach is rather neglected by holiday visitors who tend to continue to the larger and better known Praa Sands a little bit further south. Perran draws mainly local residents (like Porthgwarra) so even in July and August there are few people there except on weekends.
The beach itself is known as "Perran Sands" (the name of the village is often shortened to "Perran"). Don't confuse it with the "Perran Sands" on the north coast near to Perranporth. Like so many beaches in Cornwall this is an "untamed" beach; no icecream sellers, no beach toys or postcards on sale, no toilets!
Cornwall's patron saint
The patron saint of Cornwall is St Piran who is also the patron saint of tin mining.
We don't know much about him, only the legends. They recount that St. Piran sailed to Cornwall from Ireland on a stone. He had offended one of the Irish kings who shackled him to a millstone and threw him into the sea. The people were amazed to see him rise to the surface astride the stone.
According to legend, one night as St. Piran was preparing his dinner, his rectangular hearth cracked in the heat of the strong fire. The black rocks became so hot that he noticed shining white metal in the shape of a white cross appeared among the black ash. This must have been a bit of tin ore. This was the discovery of the smelting process which St. Piran taught to the Cornish.
He landed in Cornwall, on the wild and lonely beach of Perran sands, where he built a small oratory and erected a granite cross (see following tips). There is a photo of this beach as the second photo of this tip.
The Great British Holiday
"When you're a kid in Crystal Palace"
When you are a child, every outing is an adventure.
When my brother and sister were just babies and we lived near Crystal Palace in London, my father took me out for an afternoon to this park.
The caravans were not spacious, especially around the kitchen area but mum would always insist on cooking the five of us breakfast each morning before we started on the days adventures.
From 4 star hotels overlooked by a Castle ,to homely family run bed and breakfast, to romantic weekend breaks, to golfing holidays, to beautiful centuries old farmhouses to self catering in traditional cornish cottages, to holiday parks and villages with their own entertainment, to camping in a field with only cows for company Cornwall has a huge choice of places to stay.
"Brecon Beacons - Wales"
When I was about 14 I decided I wanted to go on an outward-bound course. Much to my surprise I was only one of two girls who opted for this course. There were about 10 boys. The mini bus picked us up from outside our school in Essex, and we drove all the way to the Brecon Beacons in Wales.
It was the furthest I had travelled at that time and Wales was astoundingly beautiful. Its hills, which I thought were mountains at the time, sometimes rose steeply and sheep grazed quietly on their slopes. Our destination was a tiny village in the Brecons called Ystradfelte (forgive me if I have spelt it incorrectly).
The "village" was comprised of a pub, a barn and a post office. We were to stay in the barn. Our amenities were very basic. We had a bed roll a Burco boiler and a large stove for heating purposes. The only food and running water was available at the pub. It was very different to the Cornish holiday camps, which were luxurious in comparison.
At that tender age, I was afraid of everything, heights, the dark, rats, enclosed spaces and having my head underwater. By the end of the week I had faced and conquered every fear, apart from the over riding fear of being unable to match the opposite sex for valour.
I rock climbed so quickly I was given the nickname of "spider woman"; whilst quite a few of the boys froze with fear on the rock face. I was so scared, I just climbed faster. I also abseiled. I remember thinking as I was asked to lean back from the top of a viaduct, "what the hell am I doing here?" I did as I was told and reached the bottom safely and to my amazement shot back up to the top and asked for another go.
Pony trekking was almost a disaster, as whilst trekking along a narrow track, the horse behind mine decided to bolt and came crashing past me at a rate of knots. I held my horse on the inside and clung on for dear life as it broke into a gallop too, with its ears flat back. For a second, the other rider’s stirrups caught mine and my leg was caught between two out of control horses. Eventually, the track widened and I was way out in front, the other rider had fallen, and I tried to calm my horse.
I was quite shaken by the experience and my bum hurt. Potholing had its funny side too. At the time I wore glasses but was told I could not wear them whilst in the caves. I am blind as a bat without my glasses and our leader just said its dark down there, there was nothing to see anyway. So equipped with a pit helmet and an oversized boiler suit we descended in the black cavern.
It was here that I had to fight several fears simultaneously. It was decided that I would be the last down and had to carry the first aid kit. There were times when we had to crawl on our bellies through the narrow gaps in the cave and I somehow managed to get myself wedged in by the first aid kit, which was attached to my waist. The rest of the group had about thirty seconds to get away from me. I lost sight of their lamps and could only hear their voices echoing along the dark corridors of the cave. I decided not to panic and inch by inch freed myself and scrambled to catch up. I found them resting in a larger cave, which was barely big enough to crouch in. On seeing that I had caught up they moved off again.
Then I was told that we would have to duck underwater to get into the next section as the caves were starting to fill with water. The icy melt water took my breath away. One by one people took their turn to duck into the next cavern. I felt the water inching up my body and the force of it was making it difficult to maintain my footing.
By the time it was my turn to go under, the water was up to my chest and I was worried that I would be swept away with the strengthening current, like a spider down a plughole.
Even though it wasn't raining where we were, sudden downpours in the mountains miles away make the area prone to flash flooding. Once more I caught up with the group and found we had to terminate our expedition and do a vertical climb out of the cave. I was exhausted and soaking from head to foot. The boiler suit hung heavily around me and my socks and trainers were full of water. My hands were so cold I could not feel the rock and I still could not see a thing. I started to climb but I came away from the rock face when I was about 10ft up. Fortunately one of the expedition leaders broke my fall. He urged me to climb again straight away, so up I went. This time I was out in moments and he followed, relieved we had all made it safely. They made me run behind the mini bus back to the village to prevent hypothermia.
I had been in the water the longest and they could see that I was starting to look a little purple. Once back at camp I changed into some dry clothes, drank some Bovril and had the deepest sleep of my entire life.
To this day my mother says I changed on that trip. I was more confident and out spoken. After leaving school I often volunteered to take other children on the same adventure. Hoping that their eyes would be opened to the wonders of nature and the latent strength and courage we all have deep inside.
If you would like to camp in the beacons try Cwmcynwyn camping barn, situated high in the Brecon Beacons, it is a working hill farm in it its own secluded valley. There is easy footpath access directly on to the common. The Camping Barn offers basic shelter, it has sleepling platforms, electric light, sink & wc. The barn is an ideal overnight stop or a base from which to explore the dramatic Brecon Beacons. Tents are welcome. Contact B Stephens (01874) 665378.
Although my sister now lives in Scotland and we all have children of our own it is great when we all get together. This is a picture of me with my brothers daughter Micha, and my sisters daughters, Emily and Kesiah, and of course my Sabrina.
Since this photo was taken there was a new adition to the family in the form of the first grandson for my mother, Marcus.
I always found it difficult to get on the train each morning to go to work in London when I was leaving this behind me.
Leigh-on-Sea is about 6 miles from Southend-on-Sea. It is still known for its cockle and mussel sheds and fresh shellfish which is caught along the coast in the Thames Estuary.
"Southend at night"
Looking on the bright side though it was always lovely to come home to, especially in the summer. Many commuters congregate in the seaside bars to enjoy the last of the days sun, before returning home.
Enjoying a summer sunset with a cool beer and some fresh seafood is such a treat.
"Home Sweet Home"
However far we travel
Where ever we may roam
Its always good to come back
To the Place we know as home.
"External view of my Home"
It may not look like much from the outside but this house has been my home for nearly 12 years and I love it.
"Perfect for a BBQ"
If the weather is good we normally celebrate with a BBQ in my back garden. Good news for hayfever sufferers I have patioed the whole lawn!
I was about 4 years old when these pictures were taken but I still remember that day like it was yesterday! It was my first time on a horse. I remember thinking that they seemed bigger once you were on their backs and they smelt funny.
I would get on a horse any opportunity I got and although I never had formal riding lessons I learnt enough which may have saved me from serious injury when I was in my teens. Read on to find out how.
"Childhood Memories of Cornwall"
I have many fond childhood memories of holidaying all over the UK. From the mid 70's to 80's my parents would gather my brother sister and myself in whatever banger of a car we had at the time, and drive us to the Cornish coast We would stay in a caravan park somewhere along the coast, we tried somewhere new every year.
The caravan parks were well laid out and it would not take us children long to get our bearings. We normally took a six-birth caravan, which generally had two bunk beds and a double bed, which could be made up, in the living area for our parents. As the oldest I would often have a room of my own but as we got older I generally shared with my sister. A decision I remember being a little dispondent over.
The caravans were well equipped with a bathroom and shower and electricity for lights and heaters. The kitchen was compact but equipped with all the crockery and cutlery one would need. They were simply furnished, in the most awful taste, but we only used the caravan as a base from which to explore the beautiful coastline and surrounding countryside.
We would have days out to places like Polperro, Perenporth, Lands End, and St Ives etc. We either spent days out building sandcastles on the beach, visiting amusement parks and water parks or taking a picnic to the countryside and enjoying the Cornish ice cream and world famous cream teas.
I have to admit I did not like the Cornish Pasties, as I was never sure what was in them. You could travel to one place and they would not be too bad and in another they were awful.
As a child you could lose and hour just watching the "water boatman" skidding across the pond or fishing for tadpoles. We would constantly try to interact with the local cattle, (we wanted to stroke them). I was astonished at how big cows and horses really were!
They were simple days, a time where children could play out more safely. We idled the long summer days by exploring the coast and country lanes playing childish games of hide-and-seek.
"The Great British Summer"
The only thing about taking holidays around the UK is that you could never gaurentee the weather. I cant remember which seaside resort this was but I do remeber it feeling very cold, hence the duffle coats.
We took day trips out to amusement parks, riding stables, beaches,zoos sealife centres and safari parks.
"My Sister - Dr Doolittle"
A picture of my little sister, Natalie, making friends with the local wildlife. Most zoos have small petting enclosures where you could feed young lambs, goats, rabbits and occaisionally more exotic creatures. We would always check out the feeding times, it gave us a chance to see the animals in a more dynamic state of activity.
"St Micheals Mount"
The jewel in Cornwall's crown. Home of the St Aubyn family for 300 years. Separated from the town of Marazion and the mainland by a 500 yard long granite causeway, only reachable by boat when the tide is in. One of the most visited National Trust properties in Britain, and open to visitors Mon- Fri during the season.
It has beautiful gardens of rare flowers and plants found growing out of doors nowhere else in Britain, you can explore the terrace garden created as recently as 1987. Every room of the Castle is full of history. At one time over 300 people lived and worked on the Island.
For a different and enjoyable view of St Michael's Mount take a ferry boat trip around the island at high tide, often with an informed commentary.
"As we grew so did our confidence"
We regularly found good pony trekking stables when ever we were on holiday. This one is Manor Farm Cross at Axbridge.
Gooseham Barton is a 50 acre holding situated in the parish of Morwenstow on the North Cornwall/Devon Coast. It is a British Horse Society Approved stables which has been established since 1974 and cater for everyone from the tiniest beginner to the more experienced rider. Everybody is welcome and they offer special rates for guests staying in one of their 4 character cottages situated on the farm.
Horse Riding Tariff: Horse riding is available on either English or Western saddles. Riding charges for guests from January 2002: £13 per hour, £7.50 per 1/2 hour, £24 per 2 hours. Western Saddle Style Riding: £1 extra per hour and 1/2 hour ride Non guest rate: Please enquire. Call 01288 331204 for further details quoting 'Cornishlight'
My brother and sister are twins. Nigel and Natalie could not have been more unlike. Nigel is about 16 minutes older. We were always very close. Keeping kids happy when you are on holiday is a pressure.
When we stayed at Perran Sands - The chalets offered accommodation for up to 6 persons within a short walk of Perranporth Beach. Perran Sands Holiday Village is located in the sand dunes behind the beach. There is a private footpath to the beach from the village. Perranporth is a 10 minute walk across the dunes. There is also a regular shuttle service into town.
The site offers extensive entertainment facilities:Indoor Fun Pool with Flume; The Leisure Connection; All-Weather Multi-Sports Court; Mini Ten-Pin Bowling; Pool Tables. For the Kids; Adventure Playground; Swim Fun Award: Pirate Island Fun Palace; Tiger Club (5-7yrs) & (8-11 yrs); ATR Club (12-17 yrs). Pubs, Clubs & Shows: Tropicana Entertainment Centre; Surfrider Cabaret Club. The Ideal base for your family holiday in Cornwall.
"A Passion for Cars"
My brother always had a passion for cars. He would go on any ride which had a car on it and even today he likes to have the latest and greatest thing on four wheels.
My father took us on some fantastic drives along the Cornish Coast. Today more than 40% of the County's Coastline is protected by the National Trust. There are 24 leaflets which feature detailed maps and are brimful of information on the history and wildlife, with superb line drawn illustrations . They cost between 60p and 90p each. They are available from National Trust shops, or for a full list of titles telephone the Cornwall Regional Office (01208) 74281. To explore without them would be to miss out.