Monday, 4 August 2008

Gunpowder Towans

After our lovely walk at Cowlands and Coombe, we decided to visit a different face of Cornwall. We had enjoyed the restful atmosphere of the river in the late afternoon, all calm, peace and tranquility, and were now ready for somewhere that offered wide skies, vast seas and hige, open vistas, somewhere where the wind would freshen the rain-filled air and fill us full of energy. We piled into the car and headed for just such a place: Gunpowder Towans close to the Hayle Estuary.

This area of never-ending sand dunes offered the chance for the children to race down the sandy hills charging and yelling like mad things, arms flailing in all directions as they tried not to lose their balance. Dave and I took a somewhat slower pace, needless to say.

Of course, descending from such heady heights means there is some ascending required, not quite so popular with me or Isabella (who unfairly was given a lift by Dave where I had to make my own pitifully unfit way!).

only to repeat the same thing over

and over again. Eventually we tried to make our way through the undergrowth of brambles, following a footpath that decided to disappear just at the point I remembered that such places of sand, sun (huh) and grass provide homes for adders who love to slide out to bask in the heat - and guess which noodle who should have known so much better had ventured out in flip flops? Hmmm...

The word Hayle - or heyl - means estuary and this place where the sea floods the river beds has become a protoected wildlife sanctuary. The huge, rolling seas ensure a constant supply of surfers even on days where the waters are flat calm, though this is a rarity; they sit on their boards with an unfailing patience, ever-ready for the first sign of raging surf to break - my eldest son is one such chap and I can see the other two going the same way. As we watched for a while I soaked up the beauty of the place, the scene stretching far to the left over St Ives bay where the town snuggled in against the hills, and over to the right where Godrevy Lighthouse sat almost cosily in the slate blue seas.

I came away feeling refreshed and tired in all the best ways, full of sea air, limbs aching from much-needed exertion and absolutely ravenously hungry. Off home for homemade pizzas courtesy of Mr Dave (dough-maker) and Mrs Pip (sauce-maker)with lollies in the garden as a starter (well, it is the holidays isn't it?).

The evening was spent full of excitement as an endless stream of ideas flowed through my mind. I love the way the amazing landscapes in Cornwall, all so varied and changing depending on the light, inspire me so. I am now working on the second bag of my Cornish collection to add to Trevaunance, the first. How could you not be inspired by scenes such as these? Even the leaden, rain-filled skies just add to the drama of it all - wonderful...

just wonderful.

Have a lovely Monday xx


  1. Tell you what about writing about Redruth or somewhere unevocative???

    not sure about the first comment here?

  2. Yep I think lotto 649 needs deleting. DO NOT CLICK ON IT!!

    Pip we stayed at Hayle Towans the other week and those sand dunes are something else. I was constantly worried that Minnie would find an adder. Good for the calf muscles though.

  3. The of my favourite places to walk. When I first started reading I immediately thought "adders" - I tend to avoid the dunes in summer when I have the dogs with me. Secondly - I've never heard of the towans referred to as "gunpowder towans". I learn something new every day! You captured the wide open spaces so beautifully. And please don't write about Redruth!!! I should think every time elizabethd reads one of your posts, there's a yearning for all things cornish! Have a great week. D x

  4. Ooh! Ooh! I shall be staying in Gwithian from Friday. Looks like this is going to be my neck of the woods for a week. Can't wait and thanks for the gorgeous sneaky peek of what's in store.
    Beautifully written and enticingly photographed as always :o)

  5. I feel as if I have shared some of that fresh air! The photos are wonderful ... it's funny to see the perspective ... big people and little people amid all those curvy sands, with the beauty of the blue sea just beyond.

    Thank you!

  6. Beautiful pictures, Cornwall is the best.

  7. Bet the dunes seemed liked mountains in flip flops! and lollies as a starter - like it!

  8. Hi Pipany .. if it makes you feel better it's been raining in Berkshire too ...thought I was still in Cornwall for a mo :)

    The weather is just pants isn't it. Let them dare enforce a hosepipe ban in the unlikey event that we'll get a late drought.

    Fascinating post & asn alway, beautiful photo's.

  9. There was an adder on the path when granddaughter went to the beach on Saturday. I am always fearfull for her but thinking back I spent the summers barefoot and am still here to tell the tale.

    Lovely photos as always.


  10. Oh I'm so glad you stopped by, so as I could come over here for a small Cornish break. Absolutely lovely. Can't wait till next year when I'll be setting up home in the next county.

  11. These photographs remind me of Merthyr Mawr on - or rather beside - the Ogmore estuary. Loved to go there when the children were small, up and down the dunes. Curiously enough the people who lived around this spot used to trade for Cornish tin.

    Must go to Cornwall again sometime. I still remember the last time, when I was doing some work for a tin mine - Geevor at St Just.

    So your blog brough back lots of lovely memories.

  12. What a lovely happy post, Pip - I love beaches with sand dunes so really appreciated the photos.

  13. There is nothing quite so special as coming home all contented after a day out in the fresh sea air - complete with running, or walking ( I would be walking with you) up and down sand dunes.

  14. So gorgeous as ever. Such beauitful photos. I'm feeling very wistful now! We might make it down to Dorset in September - you've made me so impatient for the sea again!

  15. Oooh oooh, I want to go there too....I always want to be in your blogs - as in, in the places you blog about. Why is it whenever we do the seaside or dunes, it never quite works out??
    Sorry, been away and frantic and haven't been around to say hello for ages....enjoy the holidays. jxxx

  16. What amazing sand dunes - their scale is really dramatic. My legs ache in sympathy.

  17. I want to be there too, the photos are simply beautiful. What a great day you had.

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