Posted on March 30th, 2018 - Fiona
Port Isaac is a traditional Cornish fishing village just 25 minutes drive from Coombe Mill. It is picturesque and surrounded by countryside in an area of outstanding natural beauty on the North Coast of Cornwall, almost directly out to sea from Coombe Mill. The village is characterised by its steep narrow lanes, old whitewashed granite cottages and slate fronted Cornish houses leading down to the old harbour. It is a notable tourist attraction not least as the setting for famous TV series like Doc Martin. However while tourism is the big employer today, fishing was once a significant industry and a few fishing boats still use the port today. If you dig back further in time cargo ships came and went from Port Isaac carrying coal, stone and more from this Middle Ages until well into the 19th Century. While I was tied up at Coombe Mill waiting for guests to arrive, my niece and her family went off to explore the quaint little village armed with my camera. It is their photo adventure I’m sharing.
You can’t park down by the harbour but there are car parks up on the headland with stunning coastal views.
It’s a steep walk down but not too long or busy
Once at the bottom it is clear why you can’t park there, there isn’t even room to turn the car but it is very pretty to walk though.
All roads lead to the sea
Whichever way you walk down you will find yourself in the little harbour front. At low tide there is enough beach for a little play and it is easily accessed via the boat slipway. Space and freedom was just what was needed for these little ones and an eager puppy. Wet paws and wet wellies were inevitable but worth every minute.
The handy slipway wall is a good chance to sort out soggy wellies, sandy hands and catch your breath.
If you are after a bite to eat or a drink there are a handful of shops, pubs and cafe’s to revive you.
After which a wonder through the town brings plenty of excitement for little ones from cottage railings to the old water pump.
A last look out to sea through the harbour walls is a must before the long trek back to the car park. A heavy trek for some and a cosy carry for others!
Apparently the car engine was hardly turning before this was the scene in the back seats.
Half an hour from drive from Port Isaac is just enough time for a power nap before the evening Coombe Mill train ride!
Tips for visiting Port Isaac
- Park at the car park at the entrance to the village before driving down into the village where you can’t park or stop.
- Wear sensible footwear for walking.
- Have some cash for a local tipple and a treat in the town or pack some snacks and drinks in a ruck sack.
- Take advantage of a play on the beach at low tide.
- In summer and weekends the local fish shop sells excellent fish and seafood from the local fishing boats.
- Look out for Martin Clunes!
Posted on February 16th, 2018 - Fiona
I love the beach as much in winter as I do in summer. It is less crowded, parking is easy and it always gives me a sense of being on holiday whether I am sunbathing or wrapped up exploring. The lead up to the Christmas holidays leaves me short of time and dreaming of time off with the kids at the beach. Thankfully I found that free afternoon and it became a wonderful impromptu beach adventure with my triplet teens.
Hardy winter beach folk
The sun was shining when we left but Cornwall can be very changeable and even though it was only a 15 minute car ride, as we parked up the drizzle began. I was determined not to let this stop us now that I had found the time and the kids had downed technology and were keen for an adventure. The path to the beach crosses fields that were boggy and slippery, this didn’t stop the kids passing a football between them all the way and nearly losing it on several occasions.
Slipping and sliding along the coast path
I was questioning my decision as the wind and rain picked up, but it had become a badge of honour now to reach the beach and we forged onwards despite soggy feet and muddy trousers from falling.
A Stunning coastline
Standing and watching the towering cliffs through the misty air was quite breathtaking.
Fun on a winter beach
The kids clambered down the rocks in no time at all while I carefully picked my way through feeling my age. Once down, the sand is soft and golden interspersed with huge rocky outcrops. I had firelighters and matches with me to look for driftwood and light a fire as we had done in the past, however the rain was making everything too wet and the tide was coming in fast so we made the most of our time just being carefree on the sand and jumping off the rocks.
Danger of tidal beaches
I am always wary of an incoming tide as it can cut off the route back to the steps up to the coast path so quickly. When the waves crept in to within a couple of feet of the path we headed back up the rocks to the safety of the steps.
Teen gossip & hot chocolate
The kids knew I had a flask of hot chocolate and bag of donuts in my rucksack and were determined to enjoy them outside and not back at the car so we found a large rock back on the path with a bit of an overhang to shelter us from the rain and sat there together sharing our impromptu snack.
We must have sat there a good 20 minutes laughing about silly family moment’s together and school gossip. The rain didn’t stop play at all, though we agreed to return when the tide was further out and the conditions drier for the campfire we didn’t manage.
From soggy trek to beach adventure with teens
Posted on February 9th, 2018 - Fiona
As children grow and develop into adults, the need to stay active is just as great as when they were young. Somehow when they were little it was easier, I made up the rules, decided when they would have their coats on and go out to play, where we would go and what we would do. I was in control of their activities. Now with eight teenagers life is different. Having the trendy active wear is almost as important to them as being outdoors and there is always competing pressure from social media indoors! That said I am such a firm believer in the power of outdoor time and exercise I will go to great lengths to make sure it happens. Whether it is one to one time with me, sports through clubs or out with friends on the farm, outdoor time is a release from school work and technology and if having the right look promotes this then I’ll do with the flow. When JD Williams clothing asked if we wanted to have a look at some of their womenswear sports and leisure active wear I knew Clio and I would be fighting over who would get to choose. Clio won but as her choices fit me too there may be some sharing!
Hitting the beach in style
We hit the beach on a stunning bright January day. The boys were surfing but we’d opted out due to the cold. Not that it was cold at all when you have an empty beach at your fingertips and some new stretchy Puma sports leggings in which to practice the latest gymnastic moves. If only my bum looked this good in leggings I’d buy them too! Clio says it’s all in the lovely thick waistband on the leggings, I’d say she is selling herself short.
By the time I’d raced around the beach after Clio, trying and failing to copy her leaps and jumps we were both warm and warn out!
Time after school at last
Finally the days are drawing out and there is enough daylight after school for some outdoor fun. This past week has been bitterly cold with our first flurry of snow, frost and hail but there is no telling teens to dress up warm. You’d think I’d suggested flying to the moon if I mention taking a coat to school with them! In this vain it was no surprise to me that Clio came bounding round the farm with me in a crop top, leggings and new womenswear size 8/10 Nike hoodie just unwrapped from JD Williams. I dismissed the lack of coat just glad of her company and energy on a bleak mid winter afternoon.
We set off just to chat and wander and ended up out for nearly 2 hours which did us both the world of good. We checked for frogspawn in the streams, visited the animals and jumped across streams as time ran away. Nature’s obstacles became a ballet or gym opportunity for Clio at every turn.
Perhaps the best news to me is that this womens Nike hoodie hits the mark where any school coat I’ve bought has failed. Apparently this is the perfect coat substitute, thank goodness it has more warmth than her school jumper, a big hood against the wind, deep pockets inside for her phone and outside for her hands, because of course gloves are so yesterday!
There are so many brands and choices over on the site you could easily kit out all the family and your home just from this one website. Take a peek if you dare, I’m eyeing up a couple of dresses as well as borrowing Clio’s new leggings and hoodie for our on site gym!
We were kindly invited to choose from the JD Williams active wear range for women to create this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Posted on February 2nd, 2018 - Fiona
Every family begins to build up its own traditions over the Christmas holidays and we are no exception. I spoke last weekend about our local weekend away for family time and Christmas shopping together. This week I’m sharing another of our favourite winter holiday activities, watching the horse racing. Our local showground is Wadebridge, just 20 minutes from us and where the kids go to school. It is home to the Royal Cornwall show in summer and a whole host of other events throughout the year. The Christmas point to point is one we have attended for the past 3 years and it is always a fun day and surprisingly good value for money, if the bets go your way!
Coombe Mill is in the most beautiful sheltered valley and the Royal Cornwall show ground is on the top of an exposed hill, well I don’t know how old you need to be to understand that the temperature will be vastly different, but no amount of telling the triplets to wrap up warm would work. We gave up and just threw a few extra jumpers and jackets of ours in the car for good measure. Sure enough they were frozen by the biting wind in seconds and piling on the layers from the car! Thankfully placing bets takes place in the big barns which is sheltered from the elements.
Despite being farmers, we know nothing about horse racing and place our bets with a team vote over a name we like and a hunch on watching the horses in the parade ring
For the first three races we felt like we should have been offered a bet on the losing horse, as it always seemed to be ours despite our braving the cold on the side lines and cheering. But finally our moment came in race four and Guy’s choice of horse came in first. We only had a £5 bet on each race to win but that one £30 win was enough to have us break even on the day.
Guy and Farmer Nick couldn’t have looked more delighted, you’d think they’d won a fortune!
We put our winnings to good use rewarding ourselves with some excellent pasties and coffee against the cold.
There are always some lovely outdoor clothing and craft stalls to wander round between races too and I found myself picking up a couple of lovely unexpected presents there.
Our last race was a maiden race and we hedged our bets with an each way bet. Lucky we did as our horse came in second and paid out again. We left in high spirits despite the biting cold wind and headed home to warm up and enjoy the roast I had on low it the oven.
We certainly won’t be put off another flutter on the horses in future.
Helpful hints for winter horse racing at Wadebridge:
Entry is just £10 for adults on entry. Under 16’s go free|
Fixtures for the year are online|
|Pasties, tea, coffee and cakes are all very reasonably prices and piping hot.|
|Our local moorland village pub host the bar for those wanting something stronger.|
|Limit your bets to just a fun amount per race and you won’t spend a fortune and may even come out in profit.|
Keep your car wheels on the tarmac in the wet as the field parking gets very churned up
Wrap up warm as the wind up on the showground can be wicked.
Posted on January 26th, 2018 - Fiona
I’m back tracking in Country Kids this week to where Christmas begins for us way back in early December. Don’t you just love a good family tradition? Well our pre Christmas treat is a weekend away in Devon at the hotel Nick and I went to on Honeymoon back in 1995. It used to just be Nick and I, but for the last 3 years, as they kids have grown up, we take the whole family and we all look forward to it each year. The kids adore all the sports, I love seeing them together and having 2 days with no cooking!
It may only be 2 nights but we really pack in so much. The Hotel is situated just a short walk from the sea and I couldn’t resist an evening walk down there to watch the sun set when we arrived while the kids and Nick hit all the sports on offer. I only just made it but at the end of a glorious winter’s day it was simply stunning. So much so I actually dedicated a post to the scene that week.
Anyone for golf?
Golf is Farmer Nick’s big passion outside of the farm and the reason he choose this hotel for us all those years ago. The little 9 hole course is really challenging with trees, bunkers and ponds to catch you out. In all the years I have played, my game is still woeful, but my teens can hit a mighty dive and really seemed to be enjoying playing this year.
Tennis championship in progress
Golf was interspersed with Tennis out on the enclosed courts. The triplets had an advantage here after playing at a friend’s house back in the summer.
A stroll around the grounds
The grounds themselves are beautiful and the last of the leaves were still clinging on despite it being December giving a lovely backdrop to stroll with Clio
The outdoor pool was closed for winter but the kids spent hours in the indoor pool and over at the badminton courts. They have all been in the Badminton club at school and we had hours of tournaments interspersed with a few squash games.
With so much to do right at the hotel it was hard to persuade anyone to leave. However the older 3 came with us to the local estuary town of Kingsbridge for a little shopping in the festive Christmas market up the high street, I’m not sure their shopping went much further than street food though!
A Family Tradition to remember
Both Nick and I had a stinking cold while we were there but even that couldn’t detract from a weekend that gave us so much pleasure. The huge hole in our wallet was worth every penny to see our 6 growing teens having the most fun time together. Listening to the banter, seeing them all dressed up for dinner and watching their competitive spirit tampered by a caring concern for one another was the biggest Christmas present of all for me. What more does any parent want?
Our Pre Christmas Family Tradition
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