Sea

Minke Whale off Cornwall

Wild about wildlife

31Aug

Anyone who visits Cornwall comes to see the sea, but the amazing animals that populate this beautiful coastline can be a little bit more elusive. Here are some hints to get close to the beautiful ocean wildlife whilst visiting Cornwall.

Atlantic Grey Seals play on rocks

Atlantic Grey Seals play on rocks

Some marine mammals are quite easy to see – grey seals are abundant around the coast and there are great spots to view them from land and sea. They tend to roam around good feeding grounds and haul out at their favourite sunning spots. St Ives Bay has good sources of fish for the seals, and some inaccessible coves that they can retreat to.

Chy an Carrack’s best vantage point is the master en suite, the highest window, from where you can often see seals bobbing around the rocks of Porthminster Point, just below the house.  Keep an eye out for seals around Porthminster Beach, the Harbour and Carbis Bay Beach and on coastal walks.  If you head to Godrevy Point at the other end of the bay there is a haul out cove just around from the lighthouse, peek down the sheer drop from the cliffs above and you are bound to see a few sunning themselves below (more than 100 have been spotted at one time). Even newborn fluffy white seal pups appear during the autumn breeding season. The Cornish Seal Sanctuary, near Helston, rescues many seal pups in autumn and winter and at their rescue centre you can see the work they do and get close to the seals.

Dolphins in the Atlantic Ocean

Dolphins in the Atlantic Ocean

Why not get out onto the sea?  You can take a boat trip to “Seal Island” from St Ives Harbour. Try taking a SUP or kayak out from one of the beaches and if you are lucky you might get close and personal – we had a seal pop up and say hello whilst bodyboarding at Carbis Bay beach last week. They are more likely to be around early in the morning or in the evening when the beaches are less busy.

Dolphins appear regularly but are more elusive than the seals. Chy an Carrack has a great panoramic views of the bay so keep your eyes peeled and get the binoculars out for a closer look if a pod of dolphins does appear, again morning or evening are good times to look. They are also regularly spotted at Porthmeor and Sennen beaches, and known to enjoy a bit of surfing.

The biggest marine life to spot are basking sharks and whales. Basking sharks are gentle giant filter feeders that appear in spring and summer when the plankton blooms – they are easiest seen from headlands like the Lizard or Land’s End. You have to be very lucky to see whales from land, but if you do you certainly don’t forget it – the author having spotted a pod of four enormous whales one winter from Godrevy Point.

Perhaps the best chance to get to see the elusive marine wildlife is to go on a dedicated wildlife cruise, when you might get to see seals, dolphins, the bizarre sunfish, sharks and even whales.

Ocean Sunfish surfaces

Ocean Sunfish surfaces

The south coast is a good cruising location and specialists such as AK Wildlife Cruises run year round excursions from Falmouth and through the year spot a wide variety of these amazing creatures, as well as a wide range of beautiful seabirds. Read more about the thrill of an ocean safari in this great article by Charlie Elder here.

Ocean sunfish and minke whale pictures (taken off the Cornwall coastline) courtesy of Charlie Elder, journalist, photographer and author – check out his beautiful photos and books here.

Awards flying in for St Ives

17Jul

Awards are just flying in for St Ives this year!

Tate St Ives has won the Art Fund Museum of the Year 2018 award, following its £20m extension to the iconic building that sits above Porthmeor Beach.  Its a fantastic re-imagining of the striking seaside gallery, providing much more space for both a permanent collection and contemporary exhibitions.  The current Patrick Heron retrospective is vibrant, colourful and full of the joys of summer.  Read more about the museum award here.  The building extension also received both a 2018 RIBA South West and National Award in recognition of the outstanding architecture.

Porthmeor Beach, St Ives and Carbis Bay, St Ives have been awarded the coveted Blue Flag again this year.  The Blue Flag is the international standard for the best beaches in the world only achieved with the highest water quality, safety, cleanliness and environmental standards.  Porthminster Beach, Porthmeor Beach and Carbis Bay also all received the Keep Britain Tidy Seaside Award.

Tate St Ives Exterior

Tate St Ives reopening is a triumph

17Oct
Rebecca Warren exhibition in new Tate extension

Rebecca Warren exhibition in new Tate extension

Its an extension that has taken 12 years, and what has emerged from this long and detailed process, is an iconic gallery that now commands and celebrates its coastal setting.  It leads you through the story of the British, Cornish and international artists that congregated in and around St Ives during and after the second world war and highlights the astounding impact this tiny artistic corner had on the development of abstraction across the western world.

Works by Barbara Hepworth and Ben Nicholson sit beside their international contemporaries and friends Naum Gabo and Piet Mondrian.  Colourful, perceptive and uplifting pieces by Alfred Wallis, Bryan Wynter, Peter Lanyon, Patrick Heron, John Wells, Wilhemina Barns-Graham, William Scott and Sandra Blow all have their part in this intriguing story and are central to the new permanent exhibition.

Chy an Carrack perched above the beach – viewed through a Hepworth sculpture

The flow of the building has been reversed and the climax of this journey is the fantastic new 500m2 industrial exhibition space that links these abstraction pioneers to contemporary artists.  The debut exhibition features organic, reaching sculptures by Rebecca Warren.  A selection of intriguing recent works their hand-worked, sometimes humorous, spindly forms are a contrast to the smooth, polished, sensual sculptures of Hepworth.

Insights for all ages are available through educational talks and events and activities, boosted by the new studio spaces and installations of interactive explorations of abstract art.  Although spoilt for choice by the surrounding cafes of St Ives, the Tate Café sitting on the roof overlooking the stunning vista of Porthmeor Beach is also worth a visit.

Tate St Ives is just a delightful walk through the town from Chy an Carrack, and a weekend spent absorbing the artistic heritage of the town, the spectacular coastal scenery and sampling some delicious Cornish seafood can’t be far from the perfect winter weekend break!

Alfred Wallis – The Blue Ship circa 1934 – courtesy Tate

Check our online calendar for availability and special offers for luxury self-catering winter breaks in St Ives.

Tate St Ives
Rebecca Warren – All that Heaven Allows – until 7 Jan 2018
Virginia Woolf – 10 Feb – 29 Apr 2018
Patrick Heron – 19 May – 9 Sept 2018

Barbara Hepworth Museum & Sculpture Garden

 

St Ives Food and Drink Festival - credit Lizzie Churchill

St Ives Food and Drink Festival Will Tempt Your Tastebuds

03May

Its fast becoming one of Cornwall’s culinary highlights – the St Ives Food and Drink Festival – and this year looks to be a winner!  Set on the glorious sands of Porthminster Beach on 13 & 14 May 2017, we can guarantee you will catch the mouthwatering aromas from Chy an Carrack’s front door!

Fresh Lobster - credit Matt Jessop Visit Cornwall

Fresh Lobster – pic Matt Jessop Visit Cornwall

Featuring demonstrations from the best Cornwall based chefs including well known names Nathan Outlaw, Jack Stein, Ben Prior and Mitch Tonks, celebrity chefs such as Frances Quinn (Bake Off winner) and Jane Devonshire (Masterchef winner) plus guest chefs from the area’s top restaurants including the Porthminster Beach Café, the Alba, and Rick Stein Restaurants there will be skills and brilliant food abounding.

Some of the regions best food and drink producers will be at The Market to display the fantastic array of produce and beverages this county has to offer – be ready to take home a good haul!

To get a flavour of the festival why not check out this tasty Cornish lobster recipe from the Porthminster Beach Café cookbook – Cornish Lobster with Vanilla Mayonnaise & Citrus Salad.

Plus there are street food stalls, kids activities, music, a food trail through the town and much more.  Not to be missed!

Find out more here.  Check our online calendar for availability and prices for the weekend.