Thursday, April 23, 2015

Time-Out Thursday: Campervaning in Cornwall

Heidi is a happy camper.
Harlequin author Heidi Rice refills the well deep in the heart of Poldark country (with the help of her Mum and a campervan)

I am not a natural camper, and up until two weekends ago I was not a big fan of Cornwall either. Or rather, I was a big fan of it in fiction - the dark brooding romance and dramatic scenery of Jamaica Inn and Frenchman's Creek and of course the currently ubiquitous Poldark, I adore. The reality not so much, after one horrendous camping holiday five years ago when we got rained on for six days straight (in a tent!) besieged by wasps and caught in a six-hour traffic jam on the way home. So Cornwall had become a no-go for me.

Ready to roll...
Then my Mum mentioned that she had booked to take her Murvi campervan on a Murvi rally to Cornwall for a long weekend, and couldn't find anyone else to go with her and help with the driving (it's four hours from her place in Wiltshire). Despite the fact I love my Mum, I didn't exactly jump at the chance to accompany her... Because, well, Cornwall (see above), and I also had the small matter of a book that I was struggling to finish and was already a week past it's deadline... But she's 78 and although she drove all the way to Italy a few years ago with a friend, I adore her to pieces so if she needed someone to go with her, I wasn't about to let her go alone.

South West Coastal Path heaven
And at least we were talking a campervan and not a tent, I thought. And at least my Mum's always great company, good for a natter and a giggle, I thought. And it was only four days, I thought. And maybe I'd pick up the Poldark vibe, I thought. How bad can it be, I thought? (But I did buy three Loretta Chase books to binge read after 'discovering' Lord of Scoundrels - as a fail safe just in case I started to go mad).

So off I popped on the train to Tisbury one Wednesday afternoon to stay the night at my Mum's cottage and head off for Cornwall the next morning. The forecast for the weekend was predictably unsettled, but I had my trusty Apple iBook and I figured if nothing else being holed up in a muddy field in a freezing cold camper van might force me to finish the damn book....

As it turned out, I couldn't have been more right, but for entirely different reasons.

The only free Wifi in the village... Shame!
The campsite, on the unspoilt South Coast of Cornwall near St Mawes was quite simply idyllic, with gorgeous views of the sea and a path through the fields which led onto the South West Coastal Path that winds it's way alone the cliffs and inlets of the Roseland Peninsula (isn't that a gloriously evocative name). Ten minutes walk along the path to the East was the picturesque small harbor town of Portscatho - where the cosy Plume of Feathers pub had free Wifi, so of course I had to keep popping back there (to check my emails! the pints of Cornish ale were purely coincidental). While a two-mile walk in the other direction took us to the long sandy beach at Towan which came complete with it's very own Tea Van serving amazing chocolate brownies (just to be on the safe side we checked how amazing they were, twice). Mum had equipped the campervan with a microwave, cooked a hearty Beef stew to heat up and packed enough wine to float a kayak, so our evening meals were sorted!

Paella anyone?
While it rained hard during one night, Mum and I were tucked up safe in the campervan and the sun came out blazing the next day for our eight-mile cycle ride to St Anthony's Head and back. The Murvi group were a jolly lot and although we didn't spend much time with them because we were happier wandering off on our own adventures, we had one enjoyable Paella evening when a couple of guys from the local Hidden Hut beach cafe did a campfire cookout as we quaffed wine and watched the sunset.

Apart from that one storm, the weather was glorious, hot and sunny for two days and crisp and clear on the others with NO RAIN. Result. And I did finish the book, while seated in the campervan one misty morning. Gazing out over the cliffs to the sea and imagining Ross Poldark galloping past, the atmosphere proved to be mighty inspirational as it happens... Who knew?

Nekkid Poldark spotting...
So that's my Time-Out Thursday recommendation. Next time you're struggling to finish a book or just need to refill your creative well, binge watch Poldark, grab your nearest campervan and head out to Treloan Farm caravan site on the Roseland Peninsula...You never know, you might spot himself emerging from the waves. Although I'd have to say the sea was freezing while we were there, so he might want to consider wearing a wetsuit instead of doing it butt nekkid this time of year or Demelza might have something to say about it.

Heidi is currently working on a proposal for her next longer book (or rather, frantically trying to come up with a workable idea that doesn't involve shirtless Cornish gentry from the 18th century!) and celebrating becoming a RITA finalist for her Cosmo Red Hot Read 10 Rules to Sex Up a Blind Date (has she mentioned that already?). She loves to hear from readers (or Poldark spotters) on her blog, her website, her Facebook page or Twitter (@HeidiRomRice)


  1. Now that I am in Poldark mode, I am plotting and planning to get to Cornwall again. My last two visits to Cornwall were a direct result of Poldark-reading or Poldark-watching. I love it so much there.

  2. Aha so you were already a convert. Would highly recommend the Roseland Peninsula it's a bit quieter than the North Coast .

  3. Poldark and Loretta Chase. A winning combination IMHO. Glad you had a fab time. Xx