Atop the cliffs of the Roseland Peninsula, I sit on the ledge with the wind in my hair and  the Celtic Sea below me. Had I taken a few hefty steps back in time to let’s say the mid 1800s, I would have peered and spied upon smugglers at work. And wondered if I might claim a share of their loot of French brandy. That is the kind of contraband these smugglers – who doubled up as fishermen –  stored in the cellars of their farmhouses in the village of Portloe.

The scene was serious here on the Roseland Peninsula so much so that Customs had to maintain a strict watch here. I like the ring of the name Portloe which seems to have been a variation of the Cornish word, Port Logh, meaning ‘cove pool’. When you climb down the steep cliffs and reach the valleys, you see the protected cove that gave it its name and you will see how it is one of the most charming villages in Cornwall. Once a busy pilchard fishing village, it has now been reduced to a quiet one where just about three boats work the seas, returning with a haul of crabs and lobster.

We sat in the old Lugger Inn for a while before we set out on the coastal walk to Portholland. The bummer is that we did not complete the walk because we were a bit late for it, so we quit after halfway up (even this took the better part of an hour with some steep stretches thrown in). Someday we shall do the entire stretch and more.

But the walk just gives and gives.

If you are singing aloud thinking there is no one to hear your hollering, apart from the husband who signed up for it when he married you, look out for the old lady sitting quietly around the bend on a bench hidden from plain sight by overgrown foliage.

Besides the occasional old lady, we saw a man fishing from his perch upon one of the cliffs that meet the shore at some point, and possibly his partner resting on the rocks above him. It made for a peaceful picture.

You can well imagine then that Portloe remains one of my favourite hideouts in Cornwall. I visit it often in my mind’s eye when I crave for the sight of those blue waters, the feel of the wind in my hair and some solitude. For there, you can wander lonely as a cloud.

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The protected cove in the village
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The thoughtful man in the cove
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If you are not staying at the Lugger Inn, do drop by for a coffee or even a lovely high tea with Champagne. But that view makes anything taste like Champagne. Even cappuccino.
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In his elements. Going down steep edges of cliffs.
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The beautiful stone cottages of Portloe. Give me a room in one of them and I will never want for anything again.

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Flowery meadows
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Those blue and yellow-paned cottages can be rented for holidays

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Views on the coastal walk
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I would go for such an epitaph. Would you?
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The mermaid keeps a watch upon the shore

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Where to Stay: 

Lugger Inn (www.luggerhotel.co.uk). A room at this 17th century inn will cost you upwards of £147 per night. But it has gorgeous views and a restaurant where you can tuck into the local produce.

Cove Cottage. You can book this beautiful cottage with the blue panes by the harbour through Cornwalls Cottages (www.cornwallscottages.co.uk). Prices start at roughly £110 per night for the three-bedroom cottage. But they are booked chock-a-block, so consider booking in advance. The early bird here catches the proverbial worm and what a worm this is.

What to do:

Circular walk from Pendower Beach to Veryan. The story goes that you will pass a spot in Narehead where lived a fisherman, not quite happy in his marriage. Once a week he used to lower his boat into the waters to visit his wife in Veryan and take her a booty of fish.

Walk the coastal path to the cove at Portholland.

Circular walk from Narehead to Portloe. On the path you will spot a Cold War nuclear bunker and a reef called The Whelps because many a ship met its untimely end there.

Published by

Arundhati Basu

The great affair in my life is to travel. I count myself immensely fortunate that my partner shares this passion. We are a team that likes to spend time planning and plotting out places to go. Destination check, flights check, accommodation check, cheesy grins check. Off we go.

85 thoughts on “Portloe

  1. I love looking back on the history of a place, and imagining how it would have looked. The smugglers was such a fun idea to think about. Portloe looks very beautiful.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It adds perspective, doesn’t it? I cannot help romanticising it a bit but I am sure smuggling must have been a tough prospect for the fishermen. Thank you for the lovely words 🙂


    1. I did not get a chance, Angela! I mean I think she surprised me more because she would have heard me hollering out for some time. Cringe. That apart, yes, the coast is a gem for those who love coastal walks 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Another lovely place! You and Adi go to the places with the most beautiful scenery. Liked the story that there were smuggler/fisherman in the area who smuggled French brandy in. Fish and brandy? Why not. By the way, you and Adi make a very handsome couple!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww thanks! That warms the cockles of my heart. It is strange to think of fishermen wanting to turn smugglers but maybe it means that smuggling gave them the extra dough to support their families. Such stories thrill me because they whisk me into Daphne du Maurier’s world 🙂 In Cornish country, you are spoilt for choice xx

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great blog ! This is the part of Cornwall I have not visited . Reading the blog and seeing the beautiful photos ,inspires me to do so and stay in one of those cottaged & go for the coastal walks 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for reading and commenting, Tuktuki di. You would love the walks I know. They just do things for the soul. Will wait to hear about your experience when you go there 🙂


  4. You look so gorgeous in the first picture!! The views are beautiful but you surely outshine them 🙂 And I love your picture with hubby, what a sweet couple!! I bet he loves your singing. Does he love food as much as you do?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Cheila. That is so lovely of you 🙂 He often records it quietly and plays it to me later to show me what he has gone through and then laughs like a maniac. He is a big foodie and more adventurous with meat (rare and all) than I am for sure. I like my dishes well cooked 😉 xx

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Boy, you ancestors have been places, eh? From Bruges to Bengal is a journey alright. He must have hated the Hoogly! Yes Bengali sweets are delicious. Every time I visit Calcutta, my father drives me nuts if I do not try the ones he buys for me and he loves buying them.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It took them several generations from Flanders to Paris, to Chandernagor, to Calcutta, and other places.
        Your father is most certainly so happy to see you that he would do anything to please you. A few years ago, both our daughters were away, one in Africa the other in New York, and we did miss them. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Intriguing journey. The stories that lie in those few lines of yours. Someday would love to hear more about this journey. My father has always indulged me, I shall declare that proudly. My husband often shakes his head in amazement. I can imagine that it must be difficult for you with your daughters so far away. Actually I cannot imagine, my parents could. I do miss them too.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. No, my daughters are here with us. They came back from their overseas… adventures. But today you can talk to and see your parents easily, Skype, Google +. Time difference allowing.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Well we did. One of my ancestors landed in Chandernagor around 1794. He died there in 1814. Never went back. I can only imagine his mother writing a letter to him, 2-3 months to arrive, 2-3 months to go back to France… a couple of exchanges a year… But then people wrote often, maybe once a week, a month without waiting for the answer… I still have a portrait of him. I wish one letter had been spared.


    1. Hello there! Thank you for dropping by and the lovely comment 🙂 It is that kind of a place that it demands you to just get there, and well, the rest of the coastline villages just reinforce the feeling.

      Liked by 1 person

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