One day we’d love to see a heat map showing the global movements of our photographer, Harry Engels, a man who works hard and plays...well you get the idea. His most recent jaunt was in the company of Stefan from Pannier CC and Danny out of Always Riding, one of our excellent retail partners. The trio escaped London and headed west, almost as far as you can go without needing a boat, for a four day, 200km ‘all you can eat’ cycling tour of Cornwall.
It turns out that it's a county with a good claim to being one of England's best-stocked larders. Combine that with coastal roads and single track lanes, camping out in God's green country and the occasional visit to a local pub and you’ve got all the ingredients for a fantastic trip (pun intended). Here's what their first day looked like
Words: Stefan Amato | Pictures: Harry Engels
The “DO one thing well” mantra echoed around the modest walls of Jelberts in Newlyn: one tub of vanilla ice cream; one pot of clotted cream; and one counter. The only option was how to combine the ice and clotted cream. A pot was easier than a cone for us because we could stow them in our handlebar bags whilst we rode around to eat them on the harbour front. As we sat over the harbour wall with our delicious ice creams, made by the Glover family’s dairy farm, it was easy to imagine the harbour-side bustle earlier in the day as the boats came with their morning’s catch into one of the UK’s largest fishing ports. Even then, in the calm after the storm, flocks of seagulls squawked frantically and forklifts busied themselves dumping used ice into the harbour waters.
With our fresh mackerel from Stevensons strapped to Harry’s rack, we pedalled west along the coast. Mousehole was the first port of call – one of the many quaint Cornish villages whose harbour wall shelters a fleet of small fishing boats that bobbed around in the afternoon sunshine, having heading out in the morning. Riding up and along the quiet coastal roads out of Mousehole, Harry and I were quickly reacquainted with the ‘Cornish Mile’ – a steeper and longer version of a traditional mile – as the roads track the relentless coastline and rolling hills. Riding out of Lamorna Cove was the steepest section we rode that day; we noticed how steep it was when Harry’s Garmin auto-paused. Even after our short ride, we were ready for our seafood dinner.
After meeting Danny in St Just’s central square, we went to pitch our tents at the Secret Garden campsite in Bosavern before riding in search of a beach to cook on - cooking equipment strapped to our racks. However, after following the South West Coast Path for a while, we soon realised how inaccessible the beaches on that part of coastline were; we resorted to finding a spot on the cliff tops before the light went…
The three of us cracked straight on lighting a small fire, with the kindling and firewood we had collected over the course of the day, and preparing our food. We gutted and washed the two large mackerels before seasoning them with lemon, the ‘Pepper’ Cornish Sea Salt, and lots of parsley. Once we had our small fire at the right temperature, we grilled the fish for a couple of minutes to start before foil parcelled them up with more seasoning and putting them on the ember bed. In the meantime, Danny opened a variety of St Austell Brewery beers and we handed them around as we listened to the fish parcel bubbling away and sea crashing over the rocks below. After ten minutes or so, a sneaky peek under the foil let us know it was OK to get our sporks out and get stuck in – the delicious moist flesh scraped easily off the bones as the sun went down over the Celtic Sea horizon. Our remote Cornish cliff tops location, meant the mackerel tasted even better.