16-17 August: Our 18th Wedding anniversary in Bude

Author: Mr A

Location: Bude, Cornwall, UK

Eighteen years is more than half of Catherine‘s adult life – married to me. Jeez …how can she still look so good?! But she does.

We usually stay away from beach resorts in school holidays, but Bude happened to be close to where we will spend the rest of August on a campsite a little further inland, so we thought we would experiment.

Accomodation was secured at a pub right in the middle of town. We were so looking forward to a long, long shower after a month using the one in our motorhome. Sadly the one in our motorhome produces a stronger jet of water than our pub. But the room was confy and we set off to explore the town.

Summerleaze Beach, Bude
Pizza for lunch by the beach

We walked alongside the Bude Canal. It was opened in 1823 to transport lime rich sand up into the poor surrounding soils of Devon and Cornwall, eventually reaching 35 miles through hilly country via inclined planes.

Yes. I‘ve become a bit of a canal geek/lover. Growing up in the Midlands and then living in Milton Keynes, the Grand Union Canal was about the only interesting thing for me in the area. I’ve been reading up on the history of the UK network, and we’ve been watching the delightful series “Grand Canal Journey’s”, hosted by Timothy West and Prunella Scales. We can feel a canal trip in our future! It’s about the right speed for me these days…

The combined estuary of the Rivers Neet and Strat runs parallel to the canal
Houses overlooking the combination of the River Neet and River Strat as it works its way out to sea

At the beginning (end?) of the Bude Canal a gigantic sea lock is opened at high tide and sea state permitting. It forms now a lovely focus to the town, with people strolling and riding along the parts that still remain open.

The tide is out so they lock is closed
A popular place to walk and cycle…as you can see on this busy August Sunday…
Lots of holiday rentals along the canal

We had tried to book a bit of a special dining experience for our anniversary dinner, but sadly Bude has very limited options, and the ones they do have are booked out until mid September! So it was off to the local Indian for us, a far cry from our anniversary spent last year in a fancy hotel in Slovenia. Well, we had a lovely night anyway, and were treated to a glorious sunset.

Matching sky and skirt
The last glimmers of the magnificent sky reflect in the river on our walk back to our accomodation
The Brendan Arms…our room above the smoking area….

We saw that the South West Coast Path literally went by our front door, so off we set in the morning, fortified by a big old fry up. We have stopped eating breakfast nowadays, but it was thrown in the room so we were not going to see that go to waste (it went to waist instead!)!

So much food! We felt like a nap after this, not a 10km hike!

The path took us along spectacular cliff tops (Strava link), with views north up to GCHQ Bude, which gained some notoriety when Edward Snowden blew the whistle on some of the activities going on there. Basically they were intercepting and copying large amounts of data that comes through the submarine cables landing at the beach we walked to at Widemouth Bay.

Spot the huge satellite dishes on the headland in the distance
Half way to Widemouth Bay, the coastline of north Cornwall stretching off into the distance
A beautiful pathway
Amazing colours of the heather on the headland
Sometimes signs are in miles (like this) and other times in kilometres…it’s a country in flux…!
Widemouth Bay is not too busy, with plenty of rock-pooling opportunities
An ice cream stall with dairy free options cannot be resisted before we head back
An approaching storm makes us walk faster on the return route

The path was none too crowded, it‘s not hard to find peace and quiet even at this peak season, by just walking away from shops and roads. We watched several kestrels performing amazing flying feats in a stiff breeze, then with an eye on the approaching storm clouds, turned our feet back to Bude.

Some of the many kestrels we saw hovering expertly in the increasing wind

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