100 Reasons to visit Cornwall #9: Music, Art and Peaceful Walks
Music featured big in Falmouth this weekend; it played host to The International Shanty Festival. Out on the water, the J-class series began and competitions took place in Falmouth Bay all over the weekend, but back on land there were landlubbers aplenty and the shanty reigned: forget the stereotype of the blind drunk salty seadogs with their ‘ho ho ho and a bottle of rum’ and ‘what shall we do with the drunken sailor?’, there was none of that shenanigans here. Well, perhaps there was a touch of that, but in the main, the Shanty Festival was, and is, every year, a fabulous festive occasion that sets the whole town buzzing.
A walk through Falmouth’s streets this weekend would have left even the hardened among you feeling upbeat and inspired. Town was full of the feel good vibes generated by the melodies and music of all the groups who descend on Falmouth every year for this fabulous music fest.
Walking into town on Friday evening, we heard the harmonies long before we reached the action. The sounds drifted up the terraces away from the quayside and we knew we’d be in for a treat. This year was the biggest yet and next year is set to be even bigger as the Festival grows in popularity and notoriety. It is THE place to be. A rolling timetable of different Folk and Shanty groups from all over the UK and the continent can be enjoyed in many of the pubs and clubs and marques set up in the town, some a-capella, some with various instruments, some traditional, some self-styled and contemporary. It is brilliant. And addictive. Using our guide, we set ourselves an itinerary of must see groups that took us from one end of town to the other, stopping in various venues to catch a couple of songs or stay a while longer. The atmosphere was great, the music hugely eclectic and superb. Probably best not to take my word for it, come next June and experience it for yourselves. http://http//www.falmouthseashanty.co.uk
Artists Among Us
We hosted some great guests this weekend. They had travelled down for the Shanty Festival, as many do, and one of their number was a member of the fabulous Wellington Wailers who hail from Shoreham – by – Sea in Sussex.
This was the Wailers second year of invitation to the festival and given their popularity this time around, I’m sure they’ll be back. There’s talk of them coming for longer next time just so they can enjoy, not just the fabulous shantying, but the rest of what beautiful Cornwall has to offer. Chatting with them, I discovered that another of them, Dave Evans is an artist. Maritime art is his speciality, so coming to Falmouth has inspired him further. I’ve asked that he share some of his work with us by emailing some pictures. When he does, I will, in turn, share more with you.
The Wellington Wailers in The Shipwrights, Falmouth. You may see them at next year’s Falmouth Shanty Festival
Enjoying the Tranquility
Recovering from Shanty antics on Sunday afternoon, we enjoyed a wonderful wander creek side at Malpas near Truro. Along the riverside route to Malpas, families were enjoying the sunshine, picnicking in the park and playing on the fabulous adventure climbing frames; a lazy game of cricket was also taking place: the familiar sight of players decked out in their whites, spectators relaxing in deck chairs, dozing or watching the quiet action and the sound of leather against willow, all these scenes created a sense of peace and harmony. We passed these sights however, escaping civilisation and finding ourselves somewhere altogether more tranquil.
The footpath that leads off from the dead end road in Malpas takes you across a stream and left through a meadow towards the pretty village of St Clement. Alternatively, you can turn right and follow the rather misleadingly named Denas Road, creek side towards the same village. Thus you can complete a very pleasing, relatively easy two mile walk in around an hour. We’ve enjoyed this walk a few times now, so for a change, we chose the left hand route so we could enjoy the views back towards Malpas on our return.
We passed through a kissing gate and ascended the meadow, full of grasses and flowers and topped by some ancient trees. Turning back at the tip, we took a moment to appreciate the wonderful views of the woods and creeks below us, before passing through another kissing gate and across the ridge of the hill through a field and another kissing gate. From here, we descended a further field toward St Clement. The stone and thatched cottages of this hamlet are charming and its quiet setting makes the place quite perfect.
At the end of the lane, where the road ends at the water, we took the path along the wooded creek edge, stopping occasionally to savour the peace and the beauty of where we were.