The Cornwall tour was arranged by Sean Langton, who began the tour with his home tower of St Columb Major on Friday night. As a passenger in the poodle-mobile I missed this; however we were compensated with Peters five things you never knew about Dorset & the Poodles marvellous music collection as we negotiated the A35 in the liquid sunshine. We arrived at the Columba Centre, just shy of midnight to find everyone, in true UL style, locked into the Ring o Bells, from whence we extracted the church hall keys & settled down to a night on the Cornish wrestling mats.
Sunday dawned all too early, & began with bacon butties & tea. The first tower of the day was St Petroc in Padstow, were we arrived in good time & had a cuppa (having been turned away from the pub) by the seafront before ringing. Though some of the ropes fell very close to the walls, the bells were otherwise very nice. We had time to grab some fudge before heading onto St Eval, the only building that remained after the village was requisitioned by the RAF & flattened in 1938.
Next stop was the beach; an unquestionably good idea given the driving rain & wind. Nonetheless the intrepid UL headed straight for the slippery Bedruthan Steps on the beautiful North Cornish coast line. A little nook-&-cranny exploring was engaged in before returning to the National Trust tea rooms for the biggest Cornish pasty & cream tea available.
After lunch we headed towards St Mawgan-in-Pydar, where we rang at SS Mawgan & Nicholas, an 8 bell tower. We spent some time waiting to be let into St Carantoc, (unsurprisingly in Crantock) which looked suspiciously like a murder scene due to the combination of confetti and rain. Ringing here was spiced up a little by the inventive use of a piece of 6×4 as a stay giving Imogen a surprise flying lesson. This was followed by St Keyne in Truro (8 bells) where our start was delayed by the earlier, very smartly dressed band. One of the bells was cracked creating some rather odd sounding ringing.
On our return to the church hall that evening, parties were sent to the Chinese (and by us less adventurous freshers to Westlakes Chippy- the virtues of which shall certainly not be exalted). We moved onto the Ring OBells, then back to the Columba Centre where beer was consumed and, as people drifted towards to bed, drinking games began.
Somehow we were up in time to ring at St Wenna, before returning to St Columb Major for service ringing. Having packed up we headed towards Newquay where we breakfasted by the beach before moving onto a nearby pub, where Freshs news broke. When we said goodbye to the other cars, Clara was still in a state of shock, necessitating a stop at the Jamaica Inn on the way back to London. At risk of making this piece sound like a tourism brochure for the West Country, despite the weather Cornwall was beautiful, and the tour was fantastically organised. I cant wait for the next!
By Katy Pritchard