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Tuesday, 28th June. The first full day of my holiday, and the weather forecast for Cornwall, especially for the afternoon, was awful. But I’d known this for days, so was well-prepared not to do much.

It was high tide at 5.45 a.m.

I zoomed in to the cranes – of the mechanical kind – way across the water, to the north.

And went back to bed. By the time I was ready to have the breakfast awaiting me in the fridge, the tide was well on its way out.

Feeling I shouldn’t stay in all day, and with the weather forecast only for possible showers in the morning, I decided to do a little exploration locally, and just to take a walk into Hayle town, along a tiny part of the South West Coast Path (SWCP). As I set off, the play area of The Old Quay House was to my left. (My room is furthest away, behind the smaller tree.) The weather was definitely not such as would encourage other residents to sit out.

The SWCP route took me along The Causeway, beside the estuary. This was very busy, and I remain puzzled as to why so many would take it, as it leads through Hayle town, when the A30 bypass was so near. They can’t all have been wanting to end their journeys in Hayle can they? Fortunately there was a footpath all the way along, even if it did mean crossing the road a couple of times. Plenty of wildflowers along the way, including these orchids.

I was amused at the footprints left by the Shelduck.

‘Heyl’ means ‘estuary’ in Cornish.

I learned later in the week that Hayle has a very interesting history, and I must find out more, perhaps by visiting its Heritage Centre, if – hopefully when – I return to the area. This Wikipedia entry confirms!

The SWCP leaves the main road leftwards, briefly to take a path by Carnsew Pool, said to be of ornithological interest. (This map shows much of my walk.)

However, the path was very tricky at some points, due to erosion, especially for someone whose balance is less sure than it used to be, and who had not bothered to take her walking pole with her.

I resolved to stick to the road on on the way back – the sighting of one solitary Little egret not being sufficient enticement to risk the path again.

The SWCP returned to The Causeway, which itself went right then immediately left under the mainline railway viaduct.

South Quay

Along the quayside, there followed a sequence of indications of Hayle’s past innovative and industrial importance.

I now had the choice of following the SWCP, along North Quay, or turning right along the main road. I decided on the former, but now know I made the wrong choice. Following the road would have taken me to some more mudflats and the possibility of seeing some more waders and other birds.

Between South Quay and North Quay was East Quay.

Cornwall voted Leave in 2016.

In deciding to follow the SWCP, I had basically decided sadly to walk alongside what turned out to be a huge building site, the controversial North Quay Development. (Incidentally, looking at various estate agents’ windows during the week, I was horrified at property prices in the area. No wonder local people have such a housing problem.) I walked along it for about 15 minutes, but it was clear that there was to be nothing of interest for a while more,

so I turned round, given also that time was passing.

View as I turned round

When I got back to East Quay, I noticed a footpath to Hayle Station. Reckoning that this would be much quieter than the main road, that the station would not be far from the viaduct, and that there must be somewhere to get coffee near the station, I took it.

Other than this panel, I saw no evidence of this project wittingly.

There was coffee. In a place which also sold second-hand clothing and tourist trinkets. A bit noisy as behind me there were two pairs of women, each putting the world to rights (in ways which I would have disputed) rather loudly. But there was coffee.

I retraced my steps back to The Old Quay House, entirely along The Causeway this time. Not too many photographs – the rain promised for the afternoon (it was indeed by now just midday) was starting.

The Old Quay House left, the white gable my room

Back in my room, I looked out across the estuary. The building works are scarcely visible in this zoomed photo through the teeming rain.

I ventured out again in the rain, first to a nearby wine shop – I had forgotten to buy a bottle at M and S the day before – and then to The Old Quay House’s dining room for a seafood kebab and a lemon cheesecake.

The afternoon was spent tucked up in my room, watching Rafa and Serena (her last Wimbledon appearance?), while simultaneously knitting, or listening to Steve Richards’s latest ‘Rock&Roll Politics’ podcast. (I found that triple-tasking was beyond me.)

I did just peek out of the doors around 3 p.m., to see Great black-back Gulls and Herring Gulls looking pretty miserable.

By the next high tide, around 6 p.m., the weather was beginning to clear up.

Black-headed gull
Herring gull, as the tide starts to go out again (it seemed relentless!)
The gang of Canada geese
Little egret
And to my delight a family of Canada geese. The babies must be pretty young. They soon start to resemble their parents…

At 8 p.m. all was calm, presaging a much better day tomorrow – and that was very important to me. I had grand plans for it …