Thursday, July 26, 2012

Ilfracombe Princess

This was the best picture I could get of the Ilfracombe Princess this afternoon without actually losing my place in the queue. Then when we came in it was to a different spot in the harbour and the view was even worse. If you google it, you will find their website easily enough and it will give you a much better picture.

The Ilfracombe Princess offers cruises around the coast of North Devon. We went on the Seal cruise today, in search of seal's, strangley enough, but they also run one which goes east out of Ilfracombe in search of other wildlife, caves and waterfalls. Cruises last an hour and half and the friendly captain of the boat offers an informative commentry as needed. We travelled west in deep water towards Woolacombe and stopped to turn around at Morte Point on the north side of the beach. From their the return journey took us slowly along the coast hugging the shore line and stopping frequently to search for the elusive seals. We spotted one bobbing his head up and down out of the water until the yellow helicopter from Chivenor flew overhead, circled the boat and frightened him away. Later we saw another, swimming around a little cave. Our captain told us that there are around 20 who live in those waters, but where they were today was anybodies guess.

We saw some different birds - seagulls, an oyster catcher, commorants ("Is that a penguin?" my 13 year old neice asked, much to the amusement of those nearby). And got a good look at villages and beaches from a different vantage. It was nice to be in a cool breeze but still enjoy the sunshine.

Tickets cost £12 for adults, £6 for children and under 5s go free. If you are thinking of making a trip I recommend phoning to reserve your tickets as it is very popular. Also, trip times are different each day according to the tides. I really enjoyed it and I don't even like boats!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Berrynarbor and the coast path

 We took the dog and the children out for a walk today. Strangely neither of them moaned, although daughter no.2 was initially reluctant to exchange her jeans for shorts as she hadn't shaved her legs! She was persuaded in the end and was probably glad she had because the temperature outside was showing 26 degrees. It was lovely.

We drove out towards Combe Martin and parked up in the tiny village of Berrynarbor, proudly displaying it 'Prettiest Village' award on entry signs and near the local church. We headed uphill out of the village in the direction of the Sandy Cove hotel where we found the local coast path. We were hoping to find some caves we saw marked on the OS Map but when we got to that point the coast was barred with hedges and a campsite.
We did find the path down the cliff to Broadstrand Cove, which looks very beautiful. However the 227 steps down to the bottom are down an almost vertical cliff and after going about one third of the way down the girls and I chickened out, thinking of the long walk back up. My husband and the dog went down and both were very puffed out when then made it back up again. Perhaps we'll go another day.

Pilton Green Man Festival

Yesterday we made our annual trip to the Pilton Green Man Festival. It is right on our doorstep so not to go would be rude. And this year it was blessed with lovely weather - no rain, although slightly overcast at times. It was packed out by about 2.30 when we got there.

Pilton Street is lined on either sides with stalls of tombolas, jewelery, clothes, cakes, etc. There are three sound stages which always cause bottlenecks, and the local pubs, hotels and chip shop are all open for business. It's a great atmosphere and everyone has a good time.

We made our way up to Rotary Gardens off the top of Pilton Street, to find the Hockings Ice Cream van. Then a walk round the stalls in Rotary Gardens (the tent with Indian Head Massage looked inviting, but I didn't go in) led us back into Pilton Street where we sat on the pavement in the sunshine and had a beer. After that it was back home, stopping to spend a bit of money on the stalls as we went.

There are pagents and street entertainment, and a look at my earlier post on Green Man day will give you all the information you need.