, , , , , , , , ,

It was about an hour from The Lost Gardens of Heligan to the out-of-town shopping centre near where I was to stay, and I called in at the Marks and Spencer food hall there for a few provisions. Five minutes later I was settling into my room in The Old Quay House. In 2021, I had chosen a very low budget B and B place in Penzance, which was fine if I just wanted to sleep there and have breakfast. But in less good weather (and sadly Cornwall does have quite a bit of that), or when I just didn’t want to go out, it had been far from satisfactory, having no comfortable chair to sit in, very little space, a small window looking on to back yards, and no garden to sit in. So this time, I had looked for a places equally, if not more, convenient for getting around, and with amenities that had been lacking in the Penzance accommodation.

It meant paying, a lot more, but my goodness it was worth it. I had looked in the Hayle area for convenience. There did not seem to be an enormous number of hotels there, but I could not have found a better setting. Not just a vista, but an RSPB reserve, at the head of an estuary, with the tide coming and going twice a day. A private patio. A decent size room. Windows on three sides. Continental breakfast provided in the room the day before, and a fridge to keep a few provisions. A mainline railway station, St Erth, 15 minutes’ walk away, and as I discovered, some handy bus stops and routes very nearby.

I remembered to take some photos before I started spreading my belongings around.

Of course the first thing I did was to open the patio doors. The tide had just turned, and was beginning to rush out over the flat estuary.

The first bird I noticed was a solitary juvenile Herring gull.

Returning indoors, I was immediately pulled outside again by the haunting sound of …. a Curlew!

Further out, there was a Mute swan. Sadly, it became clear through the week that there was only the one.

In the distance, with a little-used branch line station, Lelant Saltings, in the background, the ‘gang’ as I came to call them, of Canada geese emerged from one of the creeks.

Through the evening I kept going out on to the patio. (It was quite chilly.)

The Curlew again.

It took me a while to identify these, but they are young Shelduck.

Black-headed gull
Zooming in on Lelant Saltings station.

The tide has a lot further to to go out yet. Apart from a couple of wide feeder creeks, the water will disappear entirely.

The gang in the distance

I was pleased to see a Little egret by one of the creeks, lit by the setting sun. I learned that this was a favourite spot.

For some days, the next day (Tuesday’s) weather forecast had been appalling, especially in the afternoon, so I had my plan B ready…