Camping with a Canine in Cornwall – Revisiting my Childhood haunts


The night was cold, rain was hammering down, the wind was howling and the tent was attempting lift off into the stratosphere.  Me and Meg were wide awake, me shivering her trembling,  inside a flapping nylon encased dome waiting for the calm after the storm.  If it’s true that one can loose hair due to fright then the same can be applied to the canine species as well!  My dog must have lost half her coat that night!.

It had all started out so well, a drive down to Devon to see family before heading onward towards Cornwall to relive memories of golden summers, cosy inlets, quaint fishing ports and quiet bays. A time to revisit the places my mother had loved, remember her vitality and the good times before she became sick.  An Indian summer was predicted so I packed the tent, dog, some supplies said goodbye to a comfortable bed and my hospitable sister and headed off.

We arrived at the camping site late, checked in and set up on the cliff top overlooking the beach where I had conquered my fear of water, learnt to surf, and played on sand for so many years of my childhood.

By the morning, having had no sleep due to

a) hanging onto the tent to make sure it didn’t blow away

b)  Comforting a terrified dog (she was a wimp)

c) Being kept awake by thunder, lightening and rain

d) the cold

e)  Constantly contemplating making a run for the car but not daring to due to a) b) and worried about getting soaked on top of hypothermia.

The dog and I were agreed – we could not spend another night like that in the tent – we would look for a caravan to rent or a nice hotel room to hire and sit out the weather by a roaring fire/gas stove.

At the crack of dawn I packed up and headed into St Issac for breakfast and to start the hunt for dog friendly accommodation.  The tourist information informed me that there were no dog loving hotel owners bar one and that turned out to be full.  I decided to try the caravan parks further along the coast to see if they would hire a van out to me – 4 caravan parks later, 5 hostels and a lot of miles driven looking for these places I still had nowhere to stay for the night.  It was getting dark, the outlook was grim and a night in the car was our likely final destination.

“Have you tried that place up the road?” the caravan park owner at my last port of call asked me.  He gave me directions and I headed off.  45 minutes later (up the road obviously has different connotations in Cornwall) I parked in the dark and headed to the reception.  The lady behind the counter gave me a wide smile.  She looked a little familiar so I returned the compliment.

“How was your night” she asked in a concerned voice “Terrible storm”  “Did you sleep alright?”

Disorientated from all the driving and befuddled by tiredness it took a while for the implications of her words to sink in.

I took a closer look at her.  Yep six hours of searching for accommodation had led me right back to the place I had stayed the night before – and they hadn’t even missed me!

I recounted my story and this wonderful person took pity on me made a call and explained our plight.   There was a trailer on the park that was for sale and the owner, after hearing my tale of woe (greatly embellished by my guardian angel) agreed to rent me the van for a fiver a night for 2 weeks.    Her husband connected a gas tank up and voila a warmth, electricity, hot water, a soft bed and something warm inside our stomachs.  All for a five quid!!

The next day, after a long sleep, we fell out of the front door into blazing sunshine. The predicted Indian summer had arrived and it continued to be glorious weather for the rest of our stay.

That night Meg and I sat on the beach, beer in hand, water bowl in paw and watched the rays from the sinking sun turn the sea and rippled waved sand silver.  We were the only ones there.  It was magical- just like I remembered it to be.

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9 thoughts on “Camping with a Canine in Cornwall – Revisiting my Childhood haunts

  1. What a great post, probably because many readers can relate to it.It’s kind of perverse that the more adversity you face on a trip, the more fondness you feel when you think back years later. My lady and I rode my motorcycle to Nordkapp back in 2000. Physically tough, but we speak of it more than any other trip.

  2. This reminds me very much of our disastrous holiday in St David’s Head on the Pembroke coast in Wales. My husband spent half the night re-pegging the tent down so that it wouldn’t fly away whilst my son and I slept peacefully away. The frame tent finally gave in at about 4 o’ clock in the morning when the poles bent at the joints. Unfortunately, our car had also given up the ghost and we had to call a rescue service to come and tow us away back to Bournemouth. This is why we have a motorhome now!

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