Croyde Day 3: Cornwall

Day three started off with a pre-breakfast walk to the beach, the crowds (and waves) from the weekend had gone and the beach was really peaceful. A great start to the morning.

After a full English breakfast back at The Thatch, we set off to see Jen’s friend in Penryn, near Falmouth. Rather than going straight down the A30 dual carriageway, I decided to take a more scenic route, from Bideford to Tavistock on the A386, then the A390 to Truro. The drive to Penryn ended up taking three and a half hours, a bit longer than I had been expecting – Devon is next door to Cornwall, so it couldn’t be too far! The A386 started off twisty, with tree tunnels to give us a break from the sun, then as we got alongside Dartmoor the road opened out and we got done amazing views. Turning west onto the A390 took us into Cornwall, although none of the Cornish towns were signposted until we crossed the border. I’d only ever been to the Cornish coast, so was pleased to see that the middle of the county was really pretty, with great driving roads too.

After a long, but enjoyable drive, we got to Katy’s house in Penryn. Like our house, it is an ongoing renovation project, but with a much better view! We spent a lovely afternoon catching up, meeting Katy’s six month old son and seeing the sights of Penryn/Falmouth.

We decided to take a slightly more direct route back, straight up the A39, with a detour into Padstow for fish and chips. Rather than joining the queue for Rick Stein’s chip shop, we found a less glamorous place next to the harbour. The food probably wasn’t as good, but there wasn’t a queue and sitting next to a pretty harbour eating fish and chips was perfect.

From Padstow we continued up the A39, with a quick detour into Bude, as neither of us had been there before. Driving up the A39 we experienced the full spectrum of A roads, from fast dual carriageway, to barely enough room for two lanes of traffic, which kept the journey interesting. Nearing Bideford, I had to pull over for Jen to drive as some sun cream had run into my eye and under my contact lens, making my eyes sting. As that wouldn’t have the best way to end what had otherwise been a great day, we stopped of at The Thatch for an ice cold pint of cider.

Mileage so far: 425

Croyde Day 2: More Surfing

The main plan for day two was more surfing! After breakfast we got back into our still damp wetsuits and began the long walk down to the sea. We hit the beach just before low tide, so the waves weren’t quite as good as the previous day, but we still had fun and Jen made good progress.

We spent the afternoon wandering around town and back down to the sea. It was nice spending time walking along the edge of the sea and paddling in rock pools – Croyde beach really is a wonderful place.

After our walk we stopped at Billy Budd’s pub to catch the tennis – well done Andy Murray! We finished the day with a drink at Blue Groove, then dinner at Hobb’s Bistro, possibly the only restaurant in Croyde I hadn’t been to. It was a bit posher than I would normally go for, but the food was good.

Mileage so far: 190

Croyde Day 1: Surfing

Another weekend, another roadtrip! Croyde in North Devon is possibly my favourite place in the world, and this is the fifth year in a row I’ve been there.

The drive down started a bit later than intended, due to a lie in and needing to wait for the post office to open – I had to send some paperwork back to the lease company as the MX-5 goes back in less than 2 months.

Jen drove the first stint, until just before the roadworks on the M5, where I took over. I got really frustrated at the poor driving, you could tell that it was mainly people who drive a few miles to work every day, then once a year head down to the south west, on the road. Every couple of miles there was a car broken down on the hard shoulder (remember your pre journey checks people – oil, coolant, tyres etc) and no one seemed to be using the inside lane of the motorway, they were all bumper to bumper at 60mph on the outside lane – argh! Even with all the numpties on the M5, we made it to Braunton for lunch in four hours, and after a bit of shopping it was only five minutes round the coast to Croyde.

After checking in the first job was to get a white chocolate milkshake from Blue Groove and book our table there for dinner. On the way back Jen bought a wetsuit – then we went for a surf! The waves were small, but clean – perfect for us, as we hadn’t surfed since Costa Rica last year. I surprised myself by catching a really good wave first time out, possibly my best of the day and Jen seemed to make good progress through the afternoon. The only bad bit about surfing, was the long walk to/from the village, barefoot and carrying the boards. Being able to ride a smaller board is certainly an incentive to get better at surfing.

For dinner we went back to Blue Groove, I had beef enchilada followed by Belgian chocolate waffle and Jen had Tuscan pork stew followed by some Spanish almond and cirrus tart, all of which were very tasty. After all the walking/surfing we felt like we’d earned our dinner, but still went for a stroll to burn it off. We took a different route to the beach, checking out all the new houses being built, then sat at the foot of the dunes watching the sun dip behind the horizon. A perfect end to a great day!

Mileage so far: 190