Posted by: lindsaygoes | September 1, 2011

I learn to surf (well, I start to learn)

So after my weekend in London, I left town (good timing, the riots really took off on the Monday) and headed in the direction of Cornwall. First stop was Stonehenge, which was really amazing, and we were lucky enough to have a bit of sunshine, and good timing, as the crowds were far worse as we were leaving than at the start of our visit. It’s incredible that people could have moved such large stones onto each other so long ago, and also that the structures have survived as long as they have. Our next stop was Salisbury Cathedral, which has the tallest spire in Britain and some really interesting artwork inside. Next it was on to Glastonbury Tor, which was so windy! I got blown back towards the edge of the hill at one point. Luckily I was about three meters from the edge! Then we had a fantastic drive through Cheddar Gorge, which is Britain’s biggest gorge. We saw climbers and goats, but unfortunately no climbing goats. That would have been cool. Finished the day in Cheddar and in celebration had something with cheese in it for dinner.

Our first stop the next day was Canonteigh Falls, the highest waterfalls in England, and they were created in 1890 when the 3rd Lady Exmouth decided to employ some redundant miners to build the falls. I’m not sure how altruistic her motives really were, I suspect she just wanted a waterfall in her grounds. But it was pretty impressive, particularly the view from the top (which did mean we had a bit of a hike to get there). After lunch we saw Hay Tor in Dartmoor which looks like a giant’s foot sticking out of the ground. Normally I don’t really like feet that much, but that one was ok. It wasn’t hairy or anything. Then it was on to the Clapper Bridge at Postbridge. A clapper bridge is one formed by big stone slabs for ponies to cross. Although I’m not quite sure how easily they would have climbed the steps to get onto the bridge. And then it was on to Newquay. It was noisy.

The following day we visited the amazing Minack Theatre, an open air amphitheatre on a cliffside overlooking the sea. It would be fantastic to see a show there! Then it was on to Land’s End, the most westerly point of mainland England, and we had a bit of a walk along the coast to Sennon Cove. Even saw a shipwreck on the way! It was more amazing sites after that with St Michael’s Mount, an island where a giant once lived (apparently), with a fantastic castle on it. Ok, so we didn’t actually go onto the island, but the view from the coast was pretty spectacular. We did get quite a nice stop in St Ive’s, a lovely coastal town, which we explored and had lunch in. It was lovely and sunny as well, although we just watched other people swimming – it wasn’t quite that warm. On the way back to Newquay we stopped at a cider farm, where I had some ice-cream and saw a mummy pig head-butting her piglets and a highland cow (I thought I’d seen all of those when I was in Scotland). And then back to Newquay for another restful night’s sleep. Or not.

My last morning in Newquay was a real treat because I got to go surfing! I’m not sure why I had to leave Australia and go to the UK to go surfing for the first time, but it was so much fun. We got to wear wetsuits as well, so I really wasn’t that cold. And I pretty much managed to stand up…and then fall off the board. But I wasn’t as bad as I feared. My last wave was pretty awesome too. As I caught the wave another board came over my head, but I managed to stay on, although no longer going straight, so then I hit someone else’s board, kept going and managed to stop myself just before hitting someone else. It was carnage and I got a high five from the surfing instructor. Gnarly dude! Yeah, I don’t think I can quite get away with using surfing slang. Give me another lesson and maybe I’ll even get a dolphin tattoo. After our surfing we didn’t have time for bacon and eggs (that would have been wonderful), so instead we visited Tintagel Castle, which is said to be the birthplace of King Arthur. Although I probably have to mention that there is no evidence for that. As we were in Cornwall we decided to go for some Cornish Pasties as well. We must have picked the right shop because by the time we got out pasties the line went round the block. Too big to eat the whole thing though! Final stop for the day was Bath where our tour guide drank lots of Pimm’s and then woke up one of the girls who’d gone home early because she thought she was missing out.

In the morning in Bath a few of us went to the Bath Spa and relaxed in the minerally water and the flavoured steam rooms which was quite nice after travelling for a couple of weeks. We then went on to a charming little village called Lacock, the setting for a number of period movies, and then went and saw the enormous stone circles of Avebury. Amazing that there are houses and streets within the stone circles. That evening I caught up with a few people from my Wales tour and we saw ‘Million Dollar Quartet’ in London, which had some fantastic music, and for £10 our seats really weren’t that bad.

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