At our charity fundraising night at Sandplace in the Looe Valley, we raised £454.50 for Help for Heroes – the British charity providing direct, practical support to wounded, injured and sick service personnel, veterans, and their families. 1940’s crooner Andy Marshall entertained local residents during a Gourmet Bangers and Mash meal at a community based fundraising event ‘Crooning for Christmas’.
Throwing the doors open in aid of Help for Heroes, we decided to support this worthy cause for the second year running. Our hotel, Polraen Country House Hotel at Sandplace, is an ideal venue to host a community party, and we were supported by fellow Sandplace residents including Adam Grundy and Caroline Foster, (seen here with 1940s Crooner Andy Marshall, dressed as a Land Army Girl).
Planned some time ago to foster community spirit, the event brought out the best of British in the face of adversity as it couldn’t have taken place at a better time to help lift the spirits of local residents. The previous two weeks had been a frustrating time for everyone in the Looe Valley. An unprecedented combination of scheduled roadworks and a landslide in Looe following recent heavy rains had isolated communities severing bus routes and creating traffic chaos on the back lanes as we were forced to cope with ‘rat run’ detours. We’re pleased the scheduled roadworks on the A387 are now complete and the road is now fully open between Widegates and Sandplace. Not only was this event for a really worthy cause, it helped us to send out a strong message that businesses in the Looe Valley are open for business as usual, including Sunday roast lunch.We’re particularly relieved the public transport is back on track. The Looe Valley train is running and the 573 bus has resumed a service from Looe, detouring via Widegates and Morval to reach Sandplace, Duloe, St Keyne and Liskeard.
We owe a lot of thanks to Andy Marshall, 1940’s crooner, a brilliant talent with an amazing voice, who generously travelled up from St Columb Major near Newquay to Croon for Christmas at Polraen. Thanks Andy!
For the last two Sundays, 11th and 18th November, the Looe Valley has reverberated to the sound of steam hissing, engine pistons clacking and whistles blowing as a steam engine (Great Western Society’s 104-year-old Steam Railmotor 93) has plied the journey from Liskeard to Looe and back. Walking our dog May, up past Sandplace Station, Tregarland Bridge and Plashford on Sunday morning before the rush of Sunday lunch at Polraen, the smell of sulphur from the burning coal filled my nostrils as the steam hovered above the track as the little engine disappeared down the single track toward Looe leaving a plume of white as its signature.
Fortunately, both Sundays were blessed with lovely sunny weather. The Looe Valley was a picture, dressed in its autumn glory with its tree lined banks saluting the passing of the little train . This little video captures a day in the life of the little train from all angles and from most stations along the route. Enjoy….
Once again, our Sandplace community here in the Looe Valley in Cornwall felt it was time to foster some local community spirit. So we’re throwing the doors open at Polraen Country House on Friday December 7th for a Looe Valley community fundraising night in aid of Help for Heroes. Having raised over £440 for the Help for Heroes charity last year at a similar event, this year we fancied some live entertainment so we’ll be ‘Crooning for Christmas’ with all proceeds from the evening going to ‘Help for Heroes’once again.
Why Crooning for Christmas? Well on a recent visit down to Truro for the Cornwall Food & Drink Festival, I discovered a very talented guy called Andy Marshall singing some Frank Sinatra favourites and it occurred to me that he was just the ticket for an event at Polraen Country House. Talking of tickets, at just £12 per head, the night includes a Gourmet Bangers ‘n Mash meal, with live entertainment from 1940’s Crooner Andy Marshall and a prize draw for Sunday Lunch for 2 at Polraen. Raffle tickets will also be available on the night. Tickets must be purchased in advance from Polraen (first come first served with only 40 available so please book soonest on 01503 263956).
And now to give credit where credit is due. The effort involved in organising this has been shared among a few Looe Valley residents including this brilliant poster by Adam Grundy. We don’t necessarily want it to be a ‘one off’, so along with Derek, Terry and Caroline, we’ve agreed that if it’s well supported by friends and neighbours, Martin and I are quite happy for our facilities at Polraen to be available for other such good community based causes. Sometimes just for fun and to socialise, perhaps on other occasions to discuss topics that affect our community and the Looe Valley.
We’re open to ideas. Oh and if you can’t come, please donate a raffle prize from the larder or wine rack or donate via our Help for Heroes Charity page. Hope to see you.
This weekend only – Kids Go Free (3,4 and 5 August) with a room rate of only £99 prpn! Hurry before it’s gone…..
Up to £140 off the cost of a family summer holiday in Cornwall with good availability throughout August . Such savings can be had now on family rooms in Looe in Cornwall in August.
No of nights
For example, at Polraen Country House near Looe we would rather have our last family room booked for a minimum stay of 3 or 4 nights so we are happy to give generous discounts and special offers for late availability rather than slashing prices for just a one night stop over – as long as you book direct and preferably by phone on 01503 263956.
Our discounted room rates are available only on our Family Room to Sleep 3 (+ travel cot) as our largest family room has been fully booked out by repeat visitors who tend to book early. Having stayed with us before, they know what they want and are assured of the quality, cleanliness, hospitality and facilities they can rely on at Polraen Country House. After all, it’s thanks to their independent reviews that we have received a tripadvisor certificate of excellence fo the second year and the coveted AA Gold Star Award as well as Breakfast and Dinner Awards. And there are so many Things to Do in this lovely part of Cornwall. See What’s On.
You’ll need to book direct by phone on 01503 263956 to get these cheap rates as they’re not available via third party agents who charge quite a lot of commission! We’d prefer you – our guests – to benefit from finding a great deal rather than paying for the overheads of a third party booking system.
So the bad weather has delivered a great benefit to you! The bad weather and the Olympics are working in your favour if you’re looking for a last minute deal as the combination has affected the usual booking pattern and we’d rather have the room let than empty. So if you are looking for late availability in August on a family room in Looe, look no further – just give us a call on 01503 263956.
One month earlier in 2013 taking place:- 1st and 2nd June – A fantastic weekend to visit Looe if you’re planning a last minute weekend break.
Expect to be entertained at Looe’s annual homage to its maritime heritage and Cornish roots, with just about everything to do with the sea on the agenda including the funniest silliest wackiest Raft Race ever. Taking place on Sunday afternoon, and guaranteed to make you laugh, come rain or shine, you’ll see rafts made out of empty bottles, barrels – anything, including the kitchen sink. Many taking to the waters of the Looe River on their home made vessels will be bombarded with water bombs and abandon ship or possibly sink before the half way mark. All proceeds from the race go to the RNLI.
Grazing on the Quay
Enjoy all manner of food from the sea – another great feature of the weekend, both Sat and Sun, is the daily tasting from 11 am each day, with the ever popular ‘grazing on the quay’ providing succulent taster dishes from some of Looe’s finest restaurants and food suppliers including crab from Nippers Shellfish and paella from Simply Fish. Sample the best of local food and drink in stalls set up along the harbour side of the historic fishing port of Looe.
As you stroll along the quay with the aroma of a fish bbq courtesy of Pengelly’s wafting on the breeze, music by local groups and artists will lift your spirits, even if the rain tries to dampen them. If you enjoy music, check out the Looe Music Festival in September.
Looe Marine Conservation Group
We’ll be there with a show and tell stall to introduce you to a few creatures from the rocky sea shore around Looe – crabs, limpets, starfish, anemones. Crabbing from the Looe quayside is always fun with the kids and there’s a neat little leaflet about crabbing in Looe which you can get free of charge from the Looe Tourist Office and from retail shops in Looe which sell the crabbing kits.
Life Boat Station
Take a tour around the lifeboat station, experience their simulator and talk to the crews. The raft race prize giving and closing ceremony is 5pm at the lifeboat station on Sunday.
For further information on the Raft Race in Looe: contact: 07747488488 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org OR Dave Peat 07747488488
A great weekend for foodies to take a shortbreak in Looe and we have two rooms available at Polraen Country House at short notice!
This year sees the very first Looe Festival of Food and Drink open it’s gastronomic doors to Looe and South East Cornwall. Whether it rains or shines, you’ll be able to sample delicious Cornish food and drink, talk to local food producers and learn how to cook something new and delicious with cooking demonstrations from top chefs from our best restaurants. Everything will be under cover in a custom designed marquee on the Millpool car park beside the Looe River. The festival is free to enter and there’ll be plenty of tasters.
At Polraen Country House, we have a double and a king available over this weekend (£87 – £96 per night with extra nights available). So you can enjoy our quiet location with free parking and free WiFi at Polraen Country House in the Looe Valley, waking up to our full range of breakfast choices using local produce relaxing in the conservatory overlooking our award winning garden. Then you can head into town to literally ‘graze’ on tempting tasters from land and sea in the marquee tents at the Festival throughout the day (Sat & Sun). We’re just 5 minutes from Looe and the sea with convenient bus and train links on the Looe Valley line so if you fancy sampling some of the local beer and cider, you don’t need to worry about taking the car. You can add extra nights for a longer break with optional evening dinner Mon-Fri.
So don’t wait, don’t hesitate, don’t bother to look up the weather forecast, just BOOK NOW now before it’s gone
The annual Polperro Festival takes place Sat 16-24 June promising an action packed week of entertainment while the new Looe Food Festivalprovides a weekend (June 23 and 24) to tempt your tastebuds with produce from land and sea. (Scroll down to see the outline programme of events).
Accommodation with free bus links
If you want to visit the Polperro Festival and need somewhere to stay, accommodation in the small fishing village of Polperro may be in short supply or at a premium and parking (minimum £4 charge) can be an issue. So avoid the crowds and the seagull noise! and enjoy our quiet location leaving your car behind in our free car park at Polraen Country House in the Looe Valley. Go green and catch the bus! We benefit from an hourly bus service No 573 which runs to Polperro from 07.42 until 17.49 while later bus services run from Looe. The last evening return from Polperro to Polraen leaves Polperro at 18.20 but much later services run between Polperro and Looe allowing you to enjoy the full range of evening entertainnment in Polperro’s pubs with the last service back to Looe at 23.20 from where you can catch a taxi.
Here you can download the No. 573 bus timetable
Bring your bus pass if you are a senior citizen, and you can enjoy the scenic ride to Looe and Polperro for free as concession passes are recognised by Western Greyhound buses in Cornwall.
At Polraen Country House, we currently have availability throughout the week of the festival from £87 per room per night including breakfast with optional dinner available. Call us direct for the best deals or book online via our website which will be up to 15% cheaper than online booking agents. But book soon as the end of the Polperro Festival coincides with the Looe Food Festival, taking place over the weekend of 23 and 24 June. And there’s no prettier journey into Looe than on the scenic Looe Valley Line where you can board the train at Sandplace for the 5 minute journey into Looe skirting the banks of the river while you watch the birds and wildlife from your carriage window. Here you can download the train timetable
So it really is a great time to visit, when you can enjoy two festivals in the same week! The Looe Food Festival will take place in a large marquee in the Millpool Car Park in Looe, where you can tempt your taste buds with an array of Cornish seafood and local produce from sea and land. There’ll be a host of leading Cornish food and drink suppliers, chef demos, brewery bar….and more over a fantastic weekend with FREE ENTRY TO THE FESTIVAL MARQUEE!
Friday 15th June – Day 0 – Festival Eve/ Arts Foundation evening
Saturday 16th June – Day 1 – Opening Day, Procession & Mayor Unveiling (Procession at 2pm)
Sunday 17th June – Day 2 – Music & Family Fun Dog Show
Monday 18th June – Day 3 – Arts Foundation Craft Fayre
Tuesday 19th June – Day 4 – Village Fete
Wednesday 20th June- Day 5 – Schools Day, Comedy Night
Thursday 21st June – Day 6 – All things Cornish, Comedy Night
Friday 22nd June – Day 7 – Foody Friday
Saturday 23rd June – Day 8 – Polperro Festival Carnival (procession at 2pm)
Sunday 24th June – Day 9 – Gig on the Green Finale
Yesterday (Sunday 20 May) an 8-10ft basking shark spent an hour serenely swimming around Looe Harbour in South East Cornwall at around 4pm witnessed by onlookers from East and West Looe quaysides and along the Banjo Pier. Dave Haines took some brilliant pictures from outside the RNLI Lifeboat Station which yoiu can see on our Facebook page.
What amazes me is the way it gets written up in the paper:
BBC News: “A basking shark has been spotted in a town harbour in Cornwall in what is believed to be the first such sighting for about 20 years. The shark, estimated to be between 8ft and 10ft (2.4m and 3m) long, spent an hour at Looe after being seen at about 16:00 BST on Sunday. The creature was watched by dozens of people on the town’s quayside and Banjo Pier. It then swam out of the River Looe, local lifeboat staff said.
The Sun: “A MONSTER shark swam into a British harbour for the first time in 20 years — and came within 8ft of onlookers. The 10ft basking shark glided into Looe harbour in Cornwall after mistakenly swimming up the mouth of the River Looe.
What a sight to behold and I missed it by a day as I’d spent all the afternoon before assisting the Cornwall Wildlife Trust with our Looe Crazy about Crabbing event! which will be on the next blog when I’ve got the photos sorted. As a volunteer in our Local Marine Conservation Group, we help out with some great events to share knowledge and spread the word about the importance of marine conservation. Basking sharks are amazing creatures. It was over 20 years ago that one was sighted in Looe Harbour in this way. Just a pity that I was there a day early and the shark turned up a day late!
The Olympic Torch is being carried through Cornwall today and will be coming through Liskeard at 18.35 after passing through Bodmin. It will then go to Saltash, across the Tamar and into Plymouth – the final destination for today Saturday 19 May – the first leg of its round the UK journey.
Here are two PDF downloads to gain quick access to what’s going on in Liskeard (lots of fun and games of a sporty nature taking place all day from 10 am in the morning in the build up to the arrival of the Olympic Torch.
There will inevitably be some delays on the A38 which will be closed eastbound to allow the torch to cross the Tamar Bridges circa round about 6.30 pm.
And a couple of hours later here are the photos I took:
Last week I learned what Cornish tin mines have in common with Machu Pichu, the Taj Mahal, the Great Wall of China and Stonehenge. They’re all World Heritage Sites! And having just completed a ‘World Heritage Champion’ training day, I found the learning quite fascinating- inspiring me to put a Cornish Mining Heritage page on the Polraen website featuring a great widget (interactive tool) that introduces visitors to the sites, the attractions, audio trails and history – all part of the ‘Discover the Extraordinary’ project.
Learning about the history of Cornwall’s mining industry helps you to appreciate the full legacy of what has been left not only here in Cornwall but also the extent of the impact that Cornish mining had around the world. It’s a fascinating story which started 270 million years ago when the granite that creates the backbone of the county cooled and tin and copper ore amongst others was created. From circa 1700 to 1914, the mining industry helped shape the heritage, culture and traditions of the Cornish people as well as the landscape. The population boomed as demand for mineral ores grew for industrial and military use.
Cornwall was the Silicon Valley of its day, fuelling the industrial revolution, exporting mining technology around the world along with Cornish miners who then were at the forefront of diamond mining in South Africa, silver mining in Mexico, and the gold rushes in America and Australia. High pressure steam in Cornish mining was the engineering foundation for Stevenson’s invention of the first steam locomotive leading to the mass movement of goods and people. The first tin plated can was made in 1810 revolutionising food storage and preservation. Meanwhile, social impact was reflected in choral singing, temperance religions and Methodism, the brass and silver bands which became synonymous with mining communities. The tin barons, the wealthy investors, filled the gardens of their Cornish country estates with camelias and rhodedendrons brought back from the Empire leaving the legacy of exotic flora and fauna which you can find in Cornwall’s gardens today.
We often get folks from across the UK and from abroad searching their family history, researching their Cornish surname, visiting graveyards to seek out the resting place of past generations. And now, I can help encourage visitors to get a real sense of the ‘hidden Cornwall’ that many don’t get to discover, by visiting some of the 18 attractions, many of them wet weather places, most free to enter.
What a fascinating day it was and I’ve already had a very interesting talk over a pint in the bar with a guy from Walsall, who spent 3 years in South Africa in the diamond mines after studying at Camborne School of Mining. Just goes to show, you’re never too old to learn…….. So take a look at the Polraen Cornish Mining Heritage page to plan an interesting day out discovering the extraordinary and hidden Cornwall.