top of page

Cornwall & Devon (day 11-15)

After the peace and solitude of Pedn Vounder beach with which I ended the previous post, it was Land's End's turn. Of course we knew that it would be very busy there because of the school holidays. But you shouldn't miss this famous, westernmost point in England. Moreover, for me the natural arch Enys Dodnan was the real attraction.

And indeed, within a radius of 200 meters from Land's End it was very busy, but a five-minute walk and the world looked a lot better again. That arch was no less impressive despite the gray, gray weather.

And a little further south there were many more beautiful views that could keep you busy for a day as a photographer.

After lunch we drive to another excellent headland, Cape Cornwall. The view is also beautiful from here, but it is mainly the brightly colored fishing boats on dry land that attract my attention.

In the evening we stay in a meadow with a farmer to spend the night and coincidentally it is not too far from a dolmen, one of the places in the aforementioned booklet with photo locations. The dolmen is called Lanyon Quoit and is located right next to a paved country road. The dolmen is small and I walk around it to see what is the best position for a beautiful composition. I like the point of view of the photo below. Now we just have to wait for nice evening light.

Shortly afterwards, however, the sun disappears again behind a wide band of clouds. It won't happen to me again, I think to myself. But unlike that evening at Mullion Cove (from the previous blog post), I now see a strip of sky just above the horizon, where there are no clouds. With a bit of luck I will see the sun again tonight.

The strong wind quickly blows that cloud band in my direction. It looks like the sun will come out again. Yes! I quickly pick up my camera with tripod and place it on the shady side of the dolmen, because if it is going to be a beautiful sunset, there is really only one point of view possible and that is towards the sun itself.

What I see in the next half hour exceeds my wildest expectations. The sunset is getting more beautiful by the minute and like an idiot I start taking pictures so I don't miss anything. Even though there is only one possible position, I doubt whether or not I should try to show the sun a little bit, so that a so-called sun star appears. But for that I have to move the tripod a little and change the aperture.

As mentioned, it was windy that evening and if at some point some low, orange-colored clouds come my way, I know that that is the moment that I should not miss. You can see the result below. Hopefully I captured something of the magical spectacle I witnessed that evening.

The next morning I walk with Timo on the same road. No orange clouds this time, but a beautiful Dutch sky and a curious cow that found a hole in the hedge to observe us closely.

This part of Cornwall where we spent the night is known for its former tin and copper mines. We regularly see old buildings and chimneys that have been damaged by the ravages of time and still provide a glimpse of the past.

Perhaps the most beautiful location with two such typical buildings is the old Botallack Mine. For the probably best position for taking photos I have to cross a literally one and a half meter wide connection between the mainland and an outcrop and on both sides of the path it goes straight down into the sea for about 25 meters. Normally not a problem, but the wind was blowing hard again that day, really hard and I think the risk is too great. So I look for a spot on the safe side of the narrow passage.

Long shutter speeds and strong wind are obviously not a good combination. I hold the tripod as tightly as possible with both hands to try to prevent vibration, but to no avail. Ultimately, only the photo below is sharp enough to use with a shutter speed of just one second. Due to this relatively short shutter speed, the waves show that there was quite a storm that day and so every disadvantage has its advantage.

St. Ives, our next stop, is pretty much the Zandvoort of Cornwall. Add to that the nice weather and the school holidays and you can imagine it, I think.

(Much too) fat British people are over-represented here and make no effort to look presentable, at least by our standards. We are amazed! Halfway through our walk along the water, I noticed the scene below. Beautiful colors and more or less repeating 'graphic' elements. How can you not take a picture of this, right?

On day 13 we drive to Porthcothan. The beach and the beautiful surf are littered with surfers and people who want to learn. However, we ignore all this and walk to the South West Coast Path. This is England's longest marked walking path of over 1000 kilometers and runs along the entire coast of Devon and Cornwall. We only walk 15 kilometers, but we enjoy it to the fullest. Get a breath of fresh air with beautiful views, wonderful.

Halfway through we arrived at the so-called Bedruthan Steps with a great view of some large, free-standing rock towers. It is very cloudy and quite hazy, but I am lucky if a watery sun appears for a moment. I quickly print and hear from Marie-José that I always have luck with these kinds of things. 😁

At the end of the afternoon we found a nice place to spend the night in Padstow. Along the Camel river, the former railway line was last used in 1983 and subsequently made way for a walking and cycling path of about 28 kilometers. It's great to run at a good pace on a flat section after all the 'hill training' of the past two weeks.

While running I see a sailboat, which is moored on the side of the river on a dry stretch. A beautiful picture and so after dinner I quickly return with my backpack full of camera gear. It almost starts to feel like work and with over 40 kilometers in my legs I fall asleep like a log that evening.

I'm a morning person and I always wake up early, but I set the alarm for the next morning just to be sure. A colony of puffins breeds on an island just off the coast near Padstow. The timing of the breeding season couldn't be better and I booked an excursion for 9:15 am. Marie-José has a very sensitive balance organ and Timo will not be happy in such a fast boat, so I walk to the harbor alone that morning.

The puffin is a photogenic bird and it was fantastic to see it in person, but taking good photos was damn difficult. Both the birds, floating on the sea, and our boat moved up and down considerably due to the waves. Fully zoomed in with a shutter speed of 1/2000th of a second and the camera in 'continuous mode', I took more than 700 photos. I only keep a handful of these that are sharp. I think the photo below is the most successful.

In the afternoon we drive to Greenaway Beach. There should be rocks there with purple and green stripes, good for taking abstract photos. Yes, we find the rocks and yes there are plenty of green and purple stripes to photograph. Yet I always find it difficult to capture these types of subjects in such a way that I continue to watch them with fascination. And if it doesn't really matter to me, chances are it doesn't really matter to others either, I think. In the photo below I have tried to add an extra dimension, as it were, with the small pebbles from the beach. No idea if that worked.

On Sunday, June 2, the last day of the national school holidays, we are on the road early to try to avoid the biggest crowds. Our destination is St. Nectan's Glen, which turns out to be a very special waterfall. It's nice to see that our plan was successful. After a half-hour walk through a forest and along a stream we arrive at the waterfall. There are only a few people present at that moment, so a photo without homo tourismo should be possible. The waterfall itself is located in a very narrow gorge and you can only see it if you shuffle through the water with or without slippers on your feet and look around the corner.

I quickly put my tripod with camera in the water and determine the composition. In the meantime, I keep my left hand above the lens all the time. In this way I hope to prevent falling water droplets from the vegetation on the rocks above from ending up on the lens. By the way, a filter is not necessary here. It is so dark in the narrow gorge that a shutter speed of 1 second is no problem.

I don't know if you've ever seen a waterfall flowing through a round hole in a rock wall. Not me in any case. Just take a quick look at the result below. Insane, right?

Once back on the bus again, we continue along the coast. After only about five minutes we pass a campsite. A quick look at some good reviews makes us conclude that it was a nice day. Almost all the English have left for home and we have to share a field the size of two football fields with only two other campers. Wonderful, what a rest! We make it a relaxing afternoon and this way the third week of our trip has started well.


bottom of page