Sunday, 24 April 2011

Polperro and Looe.

It’s been another great day for sight seeing where we started by catching the Western Greyhound bus 572 into Looe township. This only took 10 minutes but there was no way we would have wanted to walk it as we found that there were no footpaths for most of the way. With the fine weather the crowds were starting to arrive by the coach load and the beach was filling fast. With it being low tide there was nothing happening down on the quay as the fishing boats couldn’t get in or out.

Looe estuary bridge.Looe estuary bridge.

Heavy sea protection around the cliff's at Looe.Heavy sea protection around the cliff's at Looe.

After a couple of hours we caught the Western Greyhound 573 bus to Polperro about 10 miles away. Because of the roads and being a country service the buses are only small 33 seaters. As the bus wound it’s way around the hills above Looe the driver went to go down one road and found his way blocked by some moron who had parked on the opposite of the road to everybody else effectively blocking the way. The driver then had to reverse the best part of half a mile before he found an intersection where he could take an alternate route. Even then he had to take two bites at getting around the intersection.

These elaborate arches and towers were built just to get the road through to Hannafore on the west side of the harbour.These elaborate arches and towers were built just to get the road through to Hannafore on the west side of the harbour.

Englands beaches have never been cleaner. Crystal clear water.England’s beaches have never been cleaner. Crystal clear water.

We eventually reached Polperro in one piece. Unfortunately the horse drawn buggies that used to take people down to the village from the main car park are no longer there. They have been replaced with trams that are converted electric milk floats. In a cost saving exercise the Cornwall County Council have banned the use of National Bus Passes on these vehicles which has caused an uproar and there is a petition circulating to get this changed. We know that it’s only a £1.80 return fare but elderly people who live in the village are being dis-advantaged. The tram operators and local business people are concerned that it could also affect tourism.

Speaks for it's self.Speaks for it's self.

They called it smugglers cove and you can see why.

They called it smugglers cove and you can see why.

Polperro Harbour.Polperro Harbour.

We walked down to the village and harbour before spending the next couple of hours exploring all the back alleys that make up this old smugglers cove. It was amazing to find that the majority of the cottages had Holiday Home Lets signs in the windows, so does the village become a ghost town during the autumn and winter?

Polperro trams. Converted milk floats. The horse drawn trams have been withdrawn.Polperro trams. Converted milk floats. The horse drawn trams have been withdrawn.

The biggest things going on around the village is a new flood relief scheme which at times of heavy rain diverts part of the river Pol through a tunnel out into the neighbouring bay where it pours straight into the sea quite safely. The other is a new sewage treatment plant which is being built at the foot of the cliff’s just outside the harbour entrance. Everything for this project has had to be bought in by boat including the huge crane sitting on a temporary wharf to lift everything into place. A firm of abseilers had to be bought in to drill holes and insert steel rods into the cliff face to stabilise it and make it safe before work could begin. Not a job for the faint hearted as there was probably a good 60 foot drop down onto rocks below.

Polperro harbour at low tide.

Polperro harbour at low tide.

On our return to catch the bus home we found quite a queue who told us that they had been left behind by the last bus as he was full. When the bus finally arrived the queue had grown even further so it was going to be interesting to see what happened. We got on the bus OK but we watched with interest as the bus filled up and finished up with 3 people left. We understood that these buses are not allowed to have standing passengers, probably health and safety again. We did notice that all the seats had safety belts with a sign to wear them. Perhaps something to do with the fact that the bus travels over steep narrow roads and long drops off the side of the road. However the driver ascertained that some of the passengers were not going far so he allowed the last 3 people on saying that as long as everybody was seated by the time he reached Looe that would be OK. Back in Looe we had a 20 minute wait to catch another bus back to the camp which also finished up full to the brim.

Polperro's water wheel.

Polperro's water wheel.

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