On a cool winter morning St. Ives can still give one a lot of pleasure, especially as it is void of all the hustle and bustle one would normally associate with this popular Cornish holiday destination. We took the opportunity for short visit and stroll around this quintessential Cornish coastal town during our recent visit to Cornwall and it never fails to offer up its charm. The streets, filled with gift, arts and craft shops still have their attraction, even during the colder winter months, with plenty of opportunities to get out of the cold and into one of the many warm and cosy cafes, restaurants or bars, that dot the seafront and quiet streets at this time of the year.
We even had the rare opportunity to see Richard Ede, a traditional Cornish Withy Pot maker braving the cold on the seafront, busily hand-crafting a Withy Pot. The Withy Pot is the type of lobster pot, traditionally used by Cornish lobster and crab fishermen, carefully handcrafted from flexible willow branches. The traditional withy pot has now been largely superseded by the plastic and steel pots that can be seen in many Cornish harbours, although the traditional willow withy pot is now making somewhat of a comeback, providing the likes of Richard Ede, one of Cornwall’s last remaining willow withy pot makers with a healthy income during the winter months. Sadly, this, like many traditional Cornish crafts will be lost, unless these skills can be passed on to the younger generation, but who will take up the challenge. It was really interesting to see Richard practice his timeless craft, however, I can’t say that he was likely to have a huge amount of custom on this quiet January morning.
The beaches with their Atlantic swells still attract a large number of surfers, even during the winter months, especially those dedicated to riding the waves, whatever the weather, certainly braver than I am, to even consider entering the cold water at this time of the year.
Cornwall, truly is a wonderful part of the country to visit at any time of the year, where time just seems to stand still and nobody is in a hurry to do anything, it is a great place to get away from the daily rat race and live life at a gentle relaxing pace, even if only for a short while.