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    CHICCHANTAL   22,883
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Sentimental journey

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Sunday, December 16, 2012


Today I take the train to Cornwall. No, scrub that, I actually take the train to Plymouth. I won't write about the first bit of the journey because it's boring. For me. Anyway the train buzzes along till it gets to Exeter (the county town of Devon) and just beyond Exeter slows down and stops for a bit.

Mixed reviews for this situation. On the one hand, we are sitting looking at the sea and it's gorgeous. On the other hand, how much delay are we getting exactly? Those of us getting a connecting service in Plymouth, the Penzance train that goes the length of Cornwall, know that the timing is pretty tight for catching this one.



But then again, there's that view. This photo doesn't do justice to it. I thought my camera was packed in the middle of my luggage then belatedly found it in a pocket, so you get this one, taken through the window of the train. A large part of the journey between Exeter and Plymouth goes right along the coastline. I mean literally RIGHT along the coastline. At one point there's the track, a low wall, a public footpath and a sheer drop of about 10 metres with the sea underneath it. And this is where we sit and wait while the driver explains about a problem I don't catch with the line. People on the path wave to us. The sea has red sand in it so it looks pinky, and when we start to move again, we go past a tiny cafe called the Red Rock. I want to get out and explore, and the journey's only half done.

You can read about this bit of railway here:
www.visitsouthdevon.co.u
k/information-and-map/trai
n-travel


Just look at the sea splashing up there! Which I'm guessing is the problem with the track today - I've just had a look at the tide tables and sure enough we had a spring tide yesterday and I'd guess the sea's been over the tracks and left some debris. Spring tides, for all the landlocked Americans, occur once a fortnight in line with the moon's cycles. Instead of an ordinary high tide you get a much higher tide. If it coincides with strong wind (and there's a stiff breeze today) you get Trouble.

The train proceeds with caution. It is capable of going at 125 mph, but not on this track. The track is actually one of Brunel's fantastic feats of engineering, built in a place that everyone said was impossible. And that's the issue. It's the only track into and out of Cornwall and it could use upgrading but if it were to get updated it would be out of action for months and months. So, beyond Exeter the trains crawl but we get to admire the scenery.

I'm trying here not to go too far off on my own personal hobbyhorses. One hobbyhorse I cannot avoid however is my 'Cornwall is God's own country' hobbyhorse. There is nowhere like it. Nowhere. It's fantastic. A wonderful place. Being relatively inaccessible (one railway line in and out, one motorway in and out, six hours' train travel from London to Penzance at the end of the line.) means it is also less developed than most of England. This is good if you want somewhere picturesque for a holiday, bad if you need a job. Unemployment is high down here.

Where was I? We get to Plymouth. Plymouth is where Sir Francis Drake was allegedly playing bowls when he was told the Spanish Armada had been sighted on the horizon and finished his game before going off to polish off the Armada. This was 1588. Brits are proud of his sangfroid. He was in fact a pirate who got away with a lot because he was good mates with Liz I, but history is written by the victors and we won the war against the Spanish so you don't get taught the pirate bit at school. Plymouth was bombed flat during WWII and is utterly hideous now, a complete concrete jungle.


The driver gives us a message, the gist of which is 'If you want the connecting train for Cornwall, we're holding it for about two minutes at Plymouth station so head for platform 4 as if you were greased lightening.' This we do. I'm the first person off the train and the third person on the connecting train in spite of the fact that I'm wearing a backpack weighing between 40 and 50 pounds. It has already occurred to me that this is about the weight I have lost this year (I lost some before joining SP). So I used to carry it about all the time. Now, although I am much fitter, I am buckling under the weight.

How on earth did I manage to do anything at all?

Beyond Plymouth is some fabulous scenery again, and the river Tamar.


Once you cross the Tamar, you are in Cornwall.



I think this is the Tamar but I must confess that we cross about four river estuaries in 10 minutes so it's confusing! In summer, there are masses of boats on the water which is bright blue and glittery.

Today it's raining. I don't care.

For those of you who are still awake, an hour or so later, I hop out the train at St Erth, and on to the branch line that goes to St Ives. You thought the bits you've seen so far were scenic? Well they are on a good day, it was cloudy today. But this last little branch line, a ten minute journey, has scenery that belongs in a mirage.



Get to St Ives, nip down the steps at the side of the station car park, take more photos of the sun setting

walk along to my B&B. Dump back pack. It's practically dark but I want to wander round and have a look.


More about St Ives tomorrow. I'll leave you with the Christmas lights.



Late addition: this one's for Lexie. Brunel's bridge over the Tamar (I think anyway), taken over my shoulder after we'd crossed it:

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TEEBEE44 2/5/2013 10:21PM

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NLYR20 1/12/2013 2:26PM

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SERASARA 1/9/2013 8:27PM

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KAYYAK1 1/1/2013 12:31PM

  Wish I were with you on this journey.

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WHITEANGEL4 12/31/2012 12:00AM

    Love my time with you on your journey....so real and enjoyable

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PINKIE78 12/28/2012 1:01PM

    Really enjoyed this. Thanks!!

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WOWGIRL51 12/26/2012 2:47PM

    I consider myself very lucky to live in Cornwall (despite the unemployment problems; being the poor cousin when it comes to government spending; problems with second homes disrupting the local economy etc.). My daughter lives in St. Ives and it is, indeed very beautiful; it is home to many artists as the light there is something special.

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AMANDEES76 12/21/2012 3:43PM

    Thanks for taking us on this journey and showing us views that we may never see in person. You are taking us on your journey and sharing all the great views that allow us to peek into your world.

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BANDMOM2012 12/21/2012 9:43AM

    Love the pictures!

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WILSON1926 12/21/2012 6:55AM

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DURANGOREDDOG 12/21/2012 3:49AM

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HYATTI1 12/21/2012 1:21AM

    It's beautiful over there...and I bet looking out on the moores...would be just great.

Joanna

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MARIJO150 12/20/2012 11:30PM

    I loved the pictures and the commentary. Thanks for sharing a little of your side of the planet. Merry Christmas to you from Montana, USA.

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JERICHO1991 12/20/2012 10:08PM

    Beautiful.

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CAM2438 12/20/2012 10:05PM

    So glad you took us on this trip!!!!

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TDWANDD2MYK9 12/20/2012 2:50PM

    Il Love Cornwall too! Fab blog!! emoticon

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BAPSANN 12/20/2012 9:03AM

  Beautiful

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WALLINMW 12/20/2012 9:02AM

  Beautiful blog!

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WILSONWR 12/20/2012 9:00AM

    Another great pictoral!

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LIFETIMER54 12/20/2012 8:34AM

  Absolutely spectacular.... emoticon

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DANAPRIME 12/19/2012 7:41PM

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REGSHAR 12/19/2012 6:52PM

    THOSE OF US NOT ABLE TO TRAVEL REALLY ENJOY YOUR TRAVELS.
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GARDENQE2 12/19/2012 3:34PM

    Thank you for the beautiful pictures!
I'm a land-locked American, and tides have always fascinated me. In 1998, my husband and I took a trip to Nova Scotia timed to see the Spring Tide on the Bay of Funday. It is as spectacular as "they" say!
Keep hiking!

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COCOONGIRL 12/19/2012 8:37AM

    Love it!

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TPETRIE 12/19/2012 5:53AM

  Beautiful pics. I love your blogs.

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FATHINSN 12/19/2012 12:20AM

    Beautiful views on the train trip! Wish we have something like that :D

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POWER2XCEL 12/18/2012 9:43PM

  Sounds fun.

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SUSIEMT 12/18/2012 9:42PM

    Thank You!

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HEALTHYWANNABE 12/18/2012 8:24PM

    Thank you for sharing. This landlocked Canadian appreciated the brief tour.

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AJB121299 12/18/2012 6:13PM

    nice blog and great photos

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PEGGYRAE1 12/18/2012 5:12PM

  I love Cornwall!

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FARFROMASAINT 12/18/2012 2:25PM

    emoticon

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ASHPATCH11 12/18/2012 12:45PM

    great work! love the pics

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PUNKYSMOMMY 12/18/2012 12:10PM

    sounds fun

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PYNETREE 12/18/2012 9:50AM

    emoticon Thanks for letting us tag along!

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PENOWOK 12/18/2012 9:24AM

    Sounds like you foudn the good and the bad on this trip...I always love your photos and your story...especially about the pack being equivalent to weight lost...glad it's only a pack and you don't have to lug that every day!!!

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AMIV07 12/18/2012 8:35AM

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RAWCOOKIE 12/18/2012 8:27AM

    You are right, that is Brunel's Royal Albert Bridge for the railway and it spans the River Tamar. Cornwall starts on the eastern bank of the Tamar. Next to it is the Tamar Bridge which is a toll bridge for traffic, and you can walk across it too.

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KOOKYKATHIE 12/18/2012 7:28AM

    Such a wonderful adventure. emoticon

I sure enjoy traveling with you!

That was a good example comparing your backpack to about the same as the weight you lost. Aren't you glad you weren't carrying the pack and your 50 lbs. of weight? So much easier 50 lbs. lighter emoticon

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IMAGINE46 12/18/2012 7:05AM

  Fantastic!

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TDEMAIO2 12/18/2012 5:06AM

    Thank you for taking us on Holiday with you : ) your travels are just beautiful emoticon

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SENIMMO 12/18/2012 4:10AM

    Thanks for a wonderful distraction!

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BLUEJEAN99 12/18/2012 1:58AM

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JADASMOM2 12/18/2012 1:43AM

  Wonderful story. Makes me want to join you. I love your pictures.
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ROCKYCPA 12/18/2012 1:33AM

    Always interesting and enjoyable - thanks for sharing!

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ILIKETOZUMBA 12/18/2012 12:03AM

    Beautiful! I'm so jealous that you can just hop a train and go somewhere that gorgeous so easily. There's plenty of scenic locations here in the US, obviously, but we don't have quite the easy convenient railway system that you have.

I'll have to make sure I stop in Cornwall whenever I visit the UK! I love less-developed areas. :) Do they at least benefit from the tourism industry? I hope so.

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PCASEY7 12/17/2012 11:54PM

    Loved the travelog and pictures...looks like a beautiful spot!

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JIBBIE49 12/17/2012 11:12PM

    Great to see your blog featured in the Spark Mail Again.

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LYNCHD05 12/17/2012 9:35PM

    I love travelling with you.

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FUSCHIA6 12/17/2012 9:22PM

    As I was going to St. Ives, I met a man with 7 wives.....
Enjoy your holiday!

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