It was lovely to return, with my husband and our friends for a third stay at Ruan Dinas, a beautiful house on the estuary of the River Fal in Cornwall. We were blessed with beautiful weather for most of the time. After an amazing summer in the UK, we were disappointed to see the weather forecast saying rain for the first week of our holiday, but thankfully this was not to be, and we were able to enjoy the last of the summer sun in beautiful surroundings.
The first couple of days were spent relaxing in the garden and by the river, as we were all exhausted from hard work in the previous weeks and the long journey. We managed to get out on our kayaks and paddle boards, as there was very little breeze and the water was really calm. I finally managed to get from kneeling to standing and back down again without any assistance, which felt like a great achievement. Now I can do it, I ask myself why it took so long!
Once we had recuperated, we were ready to enjoy some days out and about. We enjoyed repeating some of the things we had done on previous trips, but also visited some places we had not seen before.
Bodmin and Wentford Railway – A Murder Mystery
As we had one day of rain, we booked to go to a murder mystery evening on the Bodmin and Wentford Railway. On arrival, we were given a glass of bucks fizz and a pasty (it is Cornwall so no event is complete without a pasty)
We were then given directed to our table seat in one of the carriages of the train. As the train moved off, the actors moved down the train and a story unfolded of a valuable diamond being transported on the train in a secure vault, with a number of suspicious characters plotting to steal the diamond.
The acting was great and as the train came into the station to change lines, we were allowed onto the platform to ask questions of all the characters. Once we were back on the train, a murder occurred and we were all invited to walk down the train to look at the murder scene. We were then asked to identify the murderer and hand in our answers. Back on the platform the true identity of the murderer was revealed.
It was an entertaining evening, with an interesting story, amusing characters and good food. It was also excellent value for money. There is something special about travelling on a steam train and the murder mystery theme added an extra dimension to it, making it a worthwhile visit.
The castle is an English Heritage site and is situated on the coast near Falmouth. From a distance you can see the Tudor Fortress, which was built by Henry V111, but in the grounds there is so much more to see. There have been many additions to the castle and its surroundings to protect it and equip it for the various stages and developments in warfare over the years.
Firstly, we visited the First World War barracks. This is set in a beautiful looking building with the Royal Artillery coat of arms above the door. It tells the history of the men who were stationed there during the war, for training before going to the front line in France and Belgium. It never ceases to shock me how many young men lost their lives and it was sad to hear and see their stories.
We then looked at the various guns and artillery spaced out amongst the walls of the castle, before going to see the developments made during the second World War, where the castle was fitted with equipment to defend against torpedoes and long-range guns from warships.
Lastly, we joined a guided tour of the Tudor Fortress. The guide was friendly and knowledgeable and brought the stories of the castle to life. It was a great tour and so much better than just looking around without the knowledge of the guide. The views from the top of the castle are well worth the climb to the top.
The visit would not be complete without visiting the café, which is situated in the barracks. It was a lovely setting and the food was excellent. Once again, we enjoyed a great day out, learned so much and had great value for money.
We weren’t sure what to expect from Bodmin Jail, but having looked online, we decided it would be worth a visit. We booked a Heritage Guided Tour, which included “The Dark Walk”, which uses technology and theatrical effects to transport you back in time, telling the history of Bodmin and introducing the characters from the past who had been sent to Bodmin Jail. It was an effective way of telling their stories and setting the scene for the visit.
The rest of the tour was with a guide who took us through the history of the jail, its changes over the years and continued the stories of the characters we had been introduced to during the Dark walk. The tour was about two hours long and was crammed with information and anecdotes. It is macabre in places, but also truly fascinating. I never knew so many of our common phrases came from such a gruesome background.
Along the way, there were a few discussions around should it be punishment or rehabilitation, are prisons too soft, should the characters have met such a grisly end? It certainly gets you thinking about things and once again we came away having learned so much.
The Camel Trail
I haven’t ridden a bike for many years and was never a very confident cyclist, but agreed that it would be nice to hire bikes and cycle along the camel trail from Wadebridge to Padstow.
I started off very wobbly, but soon got into the rhythm. One thing I do have a problem with, is that when there is an obstacle in the way, I tend to veer towards it, rather than around it. It takes an inordinate amount of concentration to avoid doing this. Needless to say, there were a lot of walkers and cyclists on the path, so I had to be careful not to lose my concentration for fear of wiping out whole groups of people. Luckily my husband rode behind me all the way ensuring he rang his bell and coached me through. We managed to reach Padtsow, without killing anyone and only once being given a stern word from my husband for stopping suddenly without warning, causing him to brake hard to avoid running into the back of me or flying over his handlebars. Once we reached Padstow, I felt a sense of relief, but realised that I had lost the feeling in my hands as I had gripped on so hard.
We had a walk around the very picturesque Padstow, and some lunch, before setting off back on the bikes. I started to relax on the way back and felt more confident. There were no incidents or accidents, but at one point, a large group of people were walking along, taking up the whole of the path. Despite my husband ringing his bell, they seemed oblivious to anyone else needing any space, resulting in me shouting “Unstable cyclist coming through!”. I’m not sure what they thought of that, but they finally moved over to let me pass.
We had visited St Ives a couple of years ago but had just come out of the pandemic restrictions. It was really busy, so we did not spend much time there as felt uncomfortable in crowds of people.
This time however we took the park and ride option from St Erth. Once you have parked, you take a 10-minute train ride into St Ives. The train runs along the coast, taking in beautiful views of the beaches on one side and some impressive houses on the opposite side.
St Ives is a gorgeous fishing village. The kind of thing you imagine when you think of Cornwall. The weather was stunning and as we walked along the harbour wall, we were amazed to see a seal swimming in behind the fishing boats, hoping to catch some leftover scraps of fish. It was captivating to see it in its natural environment and was an added bonus to an impressive day out.