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Cornish Camping and Clotted Cream


John and Johnny on cliff-edge

‘Hush!’ I forcefully intoned in a loud whisper. It was the second morning of our vacation and things were NOT going well. That is to say, they HAD been going well—great, in fact, with a splendid day at the beach the day before, a woodland walk, fish & chips, and a most delicious homemade scone with Cornish clotted cream—divine. And despite my fears to the contrary, the previous morning had gone so amazingly well, with the kids sleeping till almost 7 and then quietly colouring while they waited for us to get up. But not so THIS morning. The cool mist that had descended during the night kept the brightness of the sun to a minimum and people were happily tucked away in their beds. But not so with our children. And instead of colouring harmoniously together in the still morning, they were squabbling… and whining… and generally creating a bit of a hub-bub. Both John and I were losing our cool and I was thinking about how awful camping could be with kids. After over half an hour of this, John said, ‘That’s it. We’re leaving.’

‘Where are we going?!’ I asked incredulously.

‘I don’t know’, he responded vaguely, yet confidently, ‘but we’re going.’ We quickly got the kids in the van though I felt like I was in a bit of a daze as I quickly tried to think of what we might need on this Spontaneous Breakfast Adventure… I mean, the kids hadn’t even eaten yet and Johnny was still in his pjs!

We drove just outside the little town of Lizard and saw a road for Kynance Cove. We had no idea what ‘Kynance Cove’ was, but it was the only road that seemed to lead in a westerly direction toward the coast. So we took a chance.

And it was amazing… everything about our breakfast! But I’m getting ahead of myself.

We set ourselves up in a big grassy parking lot at the end of that road. John started cooking up potatoes and eggs on the cooker he’d shoved in the van, and I got the kids their cereal, positioning them around a wee, makeshift table. A few dog-walkers were out and about at the early hour and I imagined we looked like a little cluster of travellers—I sure FELT like a traveller.

After eating up all our ‘vituals’, we felt much better. It was still early, about half 8, so I thought we should just meander down the path that said it led to the cliffs. I led the way with Nia strapped to my back. Quite suddenly, there was such a glorious scene spread out beyond me. The cliffs bounded steeply down, galloping toward a blue-green sea; great, rough rocks shot out of their aquatic foundations, reaching toward the paleness of an early morning sky; and further along the rocky cliffs lay a cove of white sand, seemingly hidden from the world and awesome in a way that takes one’s breath away with the hearfelt conviction ringing out, ‘There IS a God!’

We carefully traversed the path along the cliff, keeping careful watch over the kids (not a place to trip!) and made our way down, down, down until we reached the flat, sea-washed sands of the cove. The beach was like a labyrinth with its great rocks and cliffs stowing caves in their bosoms—here and there they wended their way into the rock, sometimes coming back out into the sunlight, sometimes burrowing deep and ending in a narrow crevice or vast cavern.

We stayed there for the whole of the morning. When we first arrived, no one else was there and we relished the feeling of being the only ones on this secret ‘Swiss Family Robinson’ sort of island. John and the three older kids stripped to their underwear and braved the chilling water; I ventured to turn up the bottom of my jeans and paddle about the shore:).

It was an amazing morning (even after other people began to arrive!)–such a gift from God that we almost missed out on.

Going camping in Cornwall for just three nights seems a bit crazy when it’s 7 hours away… especially with all the work involved to prepare. But our trip was FULL of goodness. It was like God crammed so much of it into those two full days we were there and we ended up coming away feeling blessed. And even that stressful morning was to push us into doing something we wouldn’t have otherwise done. And the fruit of that was exceptional good—good like a homemade scone slathered in jam and clotted cream!

4 Responses to “Cornish Camping and Clotted Cream”

  1. Andy
    July 24th, 2011 16:32


    What a wonderful insight into your trip to Cornwall ! We loved reading it and also watched Johnny’s birth video. What a special family ! We love you already !


  2. Rachel
    July 24th, 2011 16:41

    Awww… thanks Andy:). It was such a fun time together. Love you all too!

  3. Jessica
    July 24th, 2011 16:43

    loved hearing about your adventure… and i think it’s great that you took what could have been a grouchy sort of morning and made it into a glorious one with your creativity and spontaneity. love you. oh, and the pictures are fabulous!

  4. Beth Goff
    August 18th, 2011 22:28

    I love this little adventure story….shows how things can really turn around for good when you put a little creativity to work. Rachel, you and John are both good at doing that….and that is such a blessing, especially when you have 4 little kids. Great pictures too.

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