My best memories of the sea when young were the trips to Lansallos on the south Cornwall coast between Looe and Polruan. As a result of Operation Neptune in the 1960’s the National Trust had purchased this prime unspoilt section of coastline and it remains a haven for both people and wildlife. Access for me though was dependent on friends or family who were car drivers until such time as I passed the test in my thirties. The village of Lansallos is a small one and the church a good example of the granite and slate religious buildings that grace the landscape of the far southwest of England. It’s nicely proportioned, clearly well loved and boasts small treasures like the fine late medieval waggon roof and carved pew ends. I particularly admired the beautiful monument to the Elizabethan lady Margery Smith (d.1579), a large slab of slate with fascinating costume detail carved in shallow relief. The craftsman must have been proud of his highly skilled and detailed work because he’s put his name to it; Peter Crocker.
A descent to the sheltered cove via the coombe on a stony path crisscrossed by a little stream. Abundance of Spring flowers glowing in the dappled shade which eventually gives way to ferns and furze at the sea’s edge. Miles of cliffs and inlets with no building to be seen anywhere except the remains of a wartime look out post. I don my new rubber swim suit and take a refreshing dip in the cool waters our sheltered haven and later a further invigorating scramble up to the cliff to take in the magnificent views from the long distance coastal path. Look closely in the photograph and you’ll see Kim beach combing….always alert for suitable subject matter for her exquisite detailed drawings. Later we drive through the maze of high banked lanes to Polruan, park up, and take the passenger ferry across the impressive linear harbour to Fowey. Discover that the Daphne Du Maurier literary festival is in full swing, although events that night are sold out and we are running out of time to get back to our base. We settle for a relaxing drink on the terrace of the yacht club overlooking the seaway filled with all manner of small boats. The little ferry with its cheerful pilot gets us back to Polruan with a fish and chip supper in the quayside pub to follow. We then thread our way back uphill via the steep hillside terraces and enjoy a final view of town and country, coast and estuary from the remains of St Saviour’s Chapel here on the headland. Amused to note it had been rebuilt in 1488 by Sir Richard Edgecumbe to give thanks to God for his safe return from a diplomatic journey to Ireland. Have fond memories of my time with the Young National Trust Theatre Company playing the great man in our ‘Wars of the Roses’ themed season at Cotehele, the Edgcumbe’s family’s seat.