Black Friday – Patagonia Worn Wear Returns to the Palace

This year we decided we wanted to do something positive and sustainable for Black Friday, so we’ve teamed up with our pals at Patagonia to bring their Worn Wear station back to the Palace. Martina will be working her magic and mending any of your outdoor garments for free, and giving advice on how to do repairs too.

See all the details and RSVP for Worn Wear at The Brokedown Palace – Black Friday 25th November.

 


The Night Riviera to Cornwall

The Night Riviera Sleeper Train to Cornwall departs Paddington just before midnight and arrives in Truro at 7am the next morning – ideal for a long weekend of camping and surfing.

Once aboard the train we headed to the Dining Car for our complimentary tea and coffee, before bedding down in our cabin bunks. Our sleeper carriage attendant Jamie woke us with croissants and coffee at 6:30am.

We picked up our rental car and made a beeline for Watergate Bay, where the Watergate Bay Hotel offers coffee and a fantastic view of the crashing surf from their wicker furnished terrace. Watching one lone surfer on the waves, we decided to take some of the action, hiring boards from the friendly team at Extreme Academy right on the beach.

Post surf the tide had dropped significantly and exposed Watergate Bay’s massive sandy expanse, we spent what remained of the morning lounging on rocks and browsing pools for crabs before heading south. In Perranporth we found the Willow Bistro and shared voluminous bowls of salad, and mind altering mackerel.

08970012Alena exploring Watergate Bay wrapped in her Pendleton Jacquard Beach Towel

We set up camp at the fantastically located Beacon Cottage Farm Holidays, where our pitch was just right for the Poler Stuff Two Man Tent, the little car and a Primus-fuelled kitchen set up. Poler’s tents go up quick and easy and before long we were searching for a pub.

robin-poler-tent

Beacon Cottage Farm is hidden from the village of St Agnes by Beacon Hill, a high point of heather and gorse from which a lookout sent warning signals to nearby towns during the Napoleonic wars. Forty minutes of skirting the hill by foot leads to the village centre where the St Agnes Hotel and a myriad of other pubs serve booze and food. On our way back to the campsite we admired the sun as it faded over the Atlantic from Beacon Hill’s peak.

On Friday we woke to the sound of rain on canvas – one of the simple joys of camping in the UK. We made coffee in fog and drizzle, utilising the tent’s porch for shelter.

The shape of the Cornish peninsula produces several odd climatological phenomena and when the north coast is shrouded in clouds and mist, the south is often basking in the sun and vice versa. Bearing this in mind we left St Agnes behind and headed for Falmouth in search of sunshine and pasties.

We found not only the finest pasties in all of Kernow at Oggy Oggy on the High Street, but also, nestled in the woodland below Pendennis Castle, an excellent rope swing. After fish and chips and beer out the front of The Chain Locker, we headed back to our misty north coast encampment.

I’ve never heard of sea trout before but I’m glad the fishmonger recommended it to us. Fried over the the Primus Miner Stove with garlic, red onion and button mushrooms it made a killer topping for tagliatelle, similar to salmon but with added juice and oils.

08950004Cooking up some Sea Trout Tagliatelle with the Primus Mimer Stove Kit

On Saturday we woke to similarly wet and hazy weather and decided it would provide the perfect atmosphere for exploring the coast path as it flanks Beacon Cottage. In the murk we discovered the remains of old tin mines and the tiny picturesque cove of Chapel Porth.

Twenty minutes drive west along the south coast leads to Godrevy, a National Trust outpost on the far side of St Ives bay, where dunes and heathland back a massive expanse of sandy beach. Adding to our experience of odd Cornish weather events, unlike the St Agnes and Chapel Porth, Godrevy and Gwithian were enjoying a glorious early summer’s day.

IMG_2533The view from Godrevy across Gwithian Beach and St Ives Bay

Small but clean peeling waves broke uniformly on the mid tide, and we hired boards from the excellent Shore Surf School and had a really fun few hours, scoring plenty of fun but short rides. It had been over 15 years since I’d surfed in Cornwall and had completely forgotten the clear crystal water sparkled such intense turquoise in the sun. Post surf we had local ice cream from the Godrevy Beach Café, huddled together in my Pendleton massive beach towel.

That evening, zonked from spending the day in the sun we decided to forgo our camp stove cooking escapades and seek sustenance elsewhere, choosing the window stools of The Cornish Pizza Company, perfectly filling and nutritious after a day surfing and exploring in the sun. After a pint at the rickety wonky little Railway Inn, we wandered back to the tent in the darkness.

Half an hour down the coast from St Agnes lies the bustling little tourist metropole of St Ives, which seemed like the perfect place to spend Sunday. Our main motive for visiting was Tate St Ives and their Images Moving Out Onto Space exhibition, with work from Bridget Riley, Dan Flavin and amongst others my favourites John Divola and Bryan Winter, both of whom had their work installed in the curved gallery where a massive circular window looks out onto the mist clouded Porthmeor Beach, making it an epic but peaceful space.

08960008 Looking out over Porthmeor Beach from the window of Tate St Ives‘ curved gallery

We ate some super tasty chowder the Beach Comber Cafe and left St Ives to explore some of the villages and coastal paths further down the peninsula, finding a mystical landscape around Zennor.

08950031Keeping warm and dry with Patagonia Torrentshells in the mists of Zennor’s coastal path

Resigned to the fact our trip was coming to end, we headed to Truro Tandoori for a feast before we climbed back aboard the Night Riviera back to Paddington.


Hiking Sgurr na Stri in Skye

Our last hike in Skye was Sgurr na Stri. Dwarfed by the surrounding Cuillin, Sgurr na Stri is only 494 metres high – a Marilyn rather than a Munro. Despite this, it is widely considered to be one of Britain’s finest viewpoints, and deservedly so.

You can hike in from Sligachan or Elgol, or get a boat from Elgol. We opted for the latter because we had to catch the train from Fort William that evening. We headed out on the early morning rig with Bella Jane Boat Trips.

Cuillin Ridge TraverseOur companions on the rib who jumped off the boat onto slippery rocks at Eilean Ramhair, and were heading up to do the notoriously difficult Cuillin Ridge Traverse.

stepping stones skye
Crossing the stepping stones by Loch Coruisk

Time was tight, so on the directions of our boat captain, which consisted of , “Head straight up from the loch, hook a right at the lochan.” We navigated over the stepping stones from Loch Coruisk, and up to the peak, which is a bit of a scramble at times and the path disappears pretty quickly once you leave the loch shore.

Sgurr na Stri
Hooking a right at the lochan

There is a longer, clearer path from the loch which is more straightforward, except the final part to the summit which is rocky and requires careful route-finding whichever way you approach it. If you get the boat, whatever route you take, you’ll have to cross the stepping stones and you’re going to get wet feet if the water’s high.

sgurr na stri view
View from Sgurr na Stri, including the Cuillin Ridge, Loch Coruisk and the sea crossing

dee sgurr na sgtriMe, very excited to be at the peak!

seals from the rig
Seals and shags from the rib on the way back to Elgol

Kit List

Greenland_Trousers_81200-630_grandeFjällräven Greenland Trousers – These trousers were perfect for the boggy, wet conditions because they have a water repellent wax coating and are quick drying.  The durable G1000 fabric with double knee reinforcements made them hard wearing enough for scrambling over the rocks.  The pockets have room for a map, compass, knife and everything else we needed on the trail. There’s even a pocket for an axe!

 

WBS15_83806_NVYBPatagonia Torrentshell Jacket – This shell is super waterproof for the changeable Skye weather, but still breathable and has pit-zips for extra ventilation. It cuts out the wind, which we appreciated at the exposed peak. It packs down into its own pocket so it fitted easily into our packs when we didn’t need it. The fabric is ripstop, so again, it was good for scrambling over rocks.

 

BerglerLady-Chestnut-1Hanwag Bergler Hiking Boots – This Alpine mountain boot was great on the rocky terrain on Skye, which is the closest we have to Alpine in the UK, and often used for Alpine training. The flexible Vibram sole makes them comfortable to walk in and the leather lining and tongue prevented rubbing. Our feet stayed dry, even going through the high water on the stepping stones (well mine did, Ian’s would’ve done if he didn’t always have to go for a paddle!)

 

See also:

Getting to, and around Skye

Campsites and Pubs on Skye