On Vacation in Cornwall

As odd as it sounds, we decided to take a vacation from our vacation. We booked a cottage in Looe, a fishing village on the Cornish coast. Tim’s mission on this trip is to do a lot of walking on the coastal path and Looe, directly on the path, was advertised as a picture perfect English fishing village.

We left London via Paddington Station early on Saturday morning. The main train took 3 hours to get us to Liskard where we changed to a branch route to go to Looe.

The one car train to Looe
Tim at the train station in Liskard

The train to Looe was a tiny one-car train that went through leafy green woods, right beside a flowing stream. After 5 minutes of going forward, the train stopped and the driver left the front engine, walked through the train, and started driving in the other direction. We thought at first that he was heading back to Liskard, but apparently he was just going onto another track from a siding. Within another 10 minutes we were in Looe.

Looe is actually comprised of two villages – East Looe and West Looe – each wrapping around the small harbour. They were connected in 1411 when an estuary bridge was built. The current bridge was built in 1853. East Looe is the main commercial village filled with shops. West Looe is quieter and is primarily filled with accommodations.

Our cottage in West Looe is up a quiet, narrow, twisty street. It is a small two-story structure attached to a row house, and we enter below ground level. It is very dark (the bathroom is the sunniest room in the house) and has virtually no views out of any windows. But it is cozy and clean and private. It has a well-appointed kitchen, which is really the best feature as we are planning on cooking a lot of fresh fish.

The harbor is around the corner and to get to the shops in East Looe we can either walk around the harbor (about 5 minutes) or take a “ferry” (one man in a motor boat) for 40p (1 minute trip).

Looking across to East Looe

One of my favourite things on the West Looe side of the harbor is a dedication to “Nelson”, a distinctive, “one-eyed” Grey Seal who was well known along the Cornish coast for over 25 years.

The statue of "Nelson" in the harbour in West Looe.

He eventually “settled” on the rocks in Looe and the “Grand Old Man of the Sea” was apparently fed by local fishermen, villagers and visitors and was a great favourite of all.

After settling into Horton Cottage, we were anxious to walk about and get a sense of the town and points beyond. It was a warm and sunny Saturday, the tide was out and the beach was filled with families and laughter.

We walked a mile along the eastern coastal path to get our bearings, marveling at the rock formations and the quiet.

Rocks along the shore. Tim is in the centre of the picture for scale.

We hadn’t realized how much we missed vistas and fresh air.

Back in the village, we watched children set up around the edge of the harbor catching crabs just for the fun of it. They lowered little bait packages down into the water and then reeled them up covered in small (3 inch) crabs, which they put into buckets of fresh seawater. Inevitably, some crabs got away, and the kids squealed as they tried to catch them on the dock. The competition was in the number of crabs caught in any one lift (“Look, Look! I’ve got 5!!!). They were all released 15 minutes later.

Beside the dock, the tide was coming back in and so were the boats, laden with fish – John Dory, mackerel, lemon sole, crabs, halibut – to unload at the commercial market beside the dock. Looks like it has been a good day. Gulls cried overhead as we strolled lazily back to Horton Cottage.

Looking out to the beach at Looe

Author: Amanda West Lewis

AMANDA WEST LEWIS has built a life filled with words on the page and on the stage, combining careers as a writer, theatre director and calligrapher. Her new book, The Pact, (Red Deer Press) was released in the fall of 2016. It has been listed on the 2017 USBBY OUTSTANDING INTERNATIONAL BOOKS LIST; selected for the 2017 ILA YOUNG ADULTS’ READERS CHOICES LIST; Nominated for 2017 SNOW WILLOW AWARD; and listed in the CANADIAN CHILDREN’S BOOK CENTRE BEST BOOKS FOR KIDS & TEENS, Spring 2017. SEPTEMBER 17: A NOVEL was nominated for the Silver Birch Award, the Red Cedar Award, and the Violet Downie IODE Award. Amanda has an MFA in Creative Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. In her theatre career, Amanda is the founder of The Ottawa Children’s Theatre, where she teaches and directs children. She has developed specialized drama and literacy programs for youth at risk, and for children with autism spectrum disorder. She has a Certificate in Theatre for Young Audiences with Complex Difficulties from Rose Bruford College, England. In 2015, Amanda co-produced the hit play “Up to Low” is based on the book by Brian Doyle. As a professional calligrapher and book artist, Amanda is passionate about the history of writing and has taught calligraphy courses to students of all ages. She studied with Hermann Zapf, Mark Van Stone and Nancy Culmone among many others. Amanda lives with her husband, writer Tim Wynne-Jones, in the woods in Eastern Ontario. They have three wonderful grown children. Find out more on her website at http://www.amandawestlewis.com/

2 thoughts on “On Vacation in Cornwall”

  1. Oh, I love the wee train! How do you pronounce Looe? … Lew – ee?
    Glad to see this note from England. Glad to hear that you are on vacation. The place with no windows sounds like a misery, but you’ll be there mainly for sleeping & cooking, I guess. …

  2. It is Lew. And actually the cottage has a charm, and is wonderfully convenient to everything. Not quite what we were expecting but very cozy. A lovely place to curl up and read with a cup of tea. And we’ve found a “local” up the hill where we can sit in big overstuffed sofas and look out over the sea. It doesn’t get much better!

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