The sun is shining, the birds are singing and all is peaceful around the grounds of My Sleepy Hollow…more importantly the babysitter has turned up and Richard and I are free!!!
The whole of Cornwall is heaving with the descending half-term holiday makers. Frantic parents are scrambling towards the coast, desperate to finally release their small demanding humans onto the crowded beaches. Seagulls are hungrily swirling around waiting to swoop upon poor unsuspecting holiday makers as they innocently munch upon their unguarded chips and rows of plastic stands are being wheeled out onto the busy streets, crammed packed with their rainbow offerings of buckets and spades, crabbing lines, pirate flags and a multitude of various trinkets shaped like a pasty.
It probably won’t surprise you then to hear that Richard and I will not be spending our precious time heading towards the chaos of commercial Cornwall. Instead we are going to seek sanctuary exploring the more tranquil side of the south west. The hidden gems that courted us away from our bustling Northern life and into this magical, more poetic way of living. The mysteries, minerals and rich history, littered in abundance across this ancient land, as common as the forgotten standing stones and round houses that once populated her many peaks and whose remains lay still, patiently waiting for those whose with eyes curious enough to perceive them.
Sigh.. I think I forget sometimes how lucky we are. I wake up every morning and gaze over the lush Tamar valley. My mind swooping with buzzard over head as he soars over the valleys rolling hills and down towards the river Tamar, following her curves past the sail boats and out to sea. Family life can do that to you sometimes - wind you up so tightly that you easily forget to see what is being offered to you every day. But not today. Today my eyes are wide open, the car is fully charged and our electric wheels are rolling away.
Just five minutes and we are already weaving down through the valley and her rich forest covered hills, we are crossing over the New Bridge in Gunnislake and are driving into Cornwall's arch rival…Devon. I am so excited. A close friend has just been visiting with us and happened to introduce us to this amazing new app called; All Trails - this is our first adventure with it acting as our inspiration...
Oh my goodness. We have lived at My Sleepy Hollow now for four years and had no idea this stunning place even existed. Its apparently a well know secret to the locals, a haven for the enthusiastic cyclists and a lover to many a fisherman. I can honestly say its been a while since I’ve been as awe struck as I was in that moment. As I found myself walking through the woods and stumbling upon its waters. It certainly helped that the weather was doing its part to orchestrate this magnificent experience. The air was still, the sun although bright wasn’t shaming in its heat and the atmosphere was blissfully quiet and still. It felt as though a silent melody was being woven through the hillside and I standing witness to its lullaby stroking against the slumbering water. I have not felt this calm in months.
We spent the whole afternoon strolling through Burrator's riches. Hand in hand we wandered over her white sands, laughing at the occasional abandoned crayfish claw that had been carelessly discarded by the local feasting wildlife. We weaved our way in and out of the surrounding woodland, explored the remains of the old 16th century cider press farm, Longstone manor. We clambered over rocks, sat down by the golden waterside and whilst we gazed upon the silken fish darting in and about the reservoir, we talked and we talked and we smiled, sighed and talked some more. Breathing one another in and remembering why it was we fell in love with the other in the first place. Time. My goodness…This place was conjuring for us a pocket of precious of uninterrupted time.
The walk itself is actually takes about an hour and a half to complete but we chose to indulged our day bathing in it. Whilst nature danced all around us and distant voices wandered past unnoticed, we felt our cells release themselves into the earth as we finally relaxed… and then regressed!
Scampering about the woodland like small excited children, hopping over the streams, disappearing down hidden lanes. Curiously following along ancient trails, imagining we were the only people to exist in this moment, only to pop out again somewhere further along the reservoir track. I was 40 and 20, 10 and 16 all at once. And as it is with the magic of childhood and the spells that are cast along with it…we looked up and the sun was making its way from the cooling sky and somewhere a mother was calling her son home for tea.
It was time to head home.
Thankfully the lanes back to our car were consistently flat and it wasn’t long before we were greeting our faithful little red car.
However I wasn’t quite ready to go back…not yet.
(The only downside I feel I must note is that upon our re entry into civilisation and the main road, I was delighted to spot a Willy’s ice cream van patiently waiting on the roadside (yes that really is the ice creams name). I skipped (yes skipped) excitedly towards the van and all the delicious conceptions inside, only to discover it was cash only and all I had was my credit card!!! Boo. One of the kick backs for complete uninterrupted tranquility is a distinct lack of phone signal.
So worth noting for next time. Bring cash for supplies!
5 minutes drive through Burrator and we landed upon the wonderful pub, The Burrator Inn. With her little wooden huts dotted about her beer garden, jubilee flags waving merrily in the breeze and a delicious smell of roasting food wafting toward our nostrils. We knew we had found salvation for our rumbling stomachs and drying throats. A pint of Devon Rock lager for me and a shandy companion for Richard (he was driving - Hoorah for me) and the day was soon to be perfectly completed. The guys running the Inn were chatty and friendly and bounced the pub's atmosphere amiably along. So whilst we watched the sun bid farewell to the day, we feasted and sighed whilst our tummies swelled until it truly was time for the return home.
Thankfully a short journey home and we were back in the open arms of My Sleepy Hollow. With the children tucked peacefully in their beds, we sat content in our conservatory, mug of tea in hand and listened to the owls gossiping with the stars.