Cornwall Trip… Day One – The North Inn


If you look at my blog articles for 2011 you will notice that roughly the same time last year my pal Nobby  and I made a trip down to Cornwall to have a few days camping and fishing. Well, on the basis we couldn’t remember what the beer or cider tasted like at the North Inn in Pendeen where we camped last time, it only seemed right and proper to go back and refresh our memories! This time we were to be joined by Mo , a pal of Nobby’s, who is just getting into his lure fishing.

The weather was reminiscent of last year as well when we arrived… low cloud and persistent drizzle in the air. Nevertheless, tents were pitched…


… food was troughed…


…. and then a couple of ales were sampled to remind us of what the local brew tasted like…


All done with an eye to where we were going to fish the next day. It was tempting to fish the same spots we had found to be successful last year but we were keen to establish some new marks and hatched a plan for the next morning over a couple of these ales.

A word on camping at the North Inn…. it’s basically a field at the back of the pub, no frills at all just rock up, pitch your tent and pay your dues of £5 per night at the bar. Facilities are simple with a couple of showers and a toilet block open in the pub 24 hours a day. Handily for us fishermen there is also an outside sink as well to wash down your kit after a session. All of the facilities are perfectly clean and serviceable. The real bonus is you have a proper local pub, serving very reasonable food and a decent pint on your doorstep. It’s definitely  got a certain charm about it and the landlord John is a smashing chap of true Cornish tradition! All this and it’s in a great geographical position to explore the coastline and fishing potential of the far west of Cornwall. All was set fair and we headed to our pits at a sensible hour ready for the first days fishing ahead of us… at 1:30 in the morning Mo turned up in his caravan!

We were ready to fish!

Until next time…

This should really be kept a secret but….


I did say in a post a few months back that I’d add the occasional camp site review… so here we are the end of the summer with my first one!

The week previous to my fishing jaunt down to Cornwall  the weather was more favourable and Rebs, Billy, the dogs and myself had a few days camping in Pembrokeshire. There wasn’t any fishing involved this time but for those of you who enjoy your camping this no frills site we stayed at is well worth writing about… though I do say so reluctantly as it’s really one of those sites you’d rather keep to yourself. If you are looking for a camp site with home comforts and all the mod cons then read no further. If on the other hand you want to be on a peaceful, chilled out  site that has only a handful of secluded pitches, stuck in the middle of nowhere,  where you can have camp fires, walk to the coast through rolling  fields, and, if you’re lucky, watch the sun go down over the sea then this is the place for you. It’s also very reasonably priced, at £8 per night per adult and £4 per night for children (4-14 years old), under 4’s are free. There are no additional charges for cars, dogs, etc. Norman, the owner of the site , is incredibly laid back and seems like he doesn’t have a care in the world… and why would he when he lives in such chilled out beautiful surroundings?


The campsite is called Arymwny (click here to visit their website) and from Southampton it was around a 4.5 hour drive to get there. It is located on the Pembrokeshire coast somewhere between the villages of Trefin and Abercastle which themselves are between the small cathedral city of St David’s and the port of Fishguard. It’s approximately a 25 minute drive to both St David’s and Fishguard from the site if you really need to go! The campsite is not signposted so unless you have done your research before leaving home you may struggle to locate it as it is well off the beaten track. A decent OS map or a look on Google Maps should do the trick though. My best attempt at directions would be to say come off the A487 at the sign which says ‘Trefin 1’ and which also has a brown sign for the ‘Weaving Centre’. Follow this road for about a mile and then you should see a road that shoots off on your right with a tiny sign for Abercastle nestled in the undergrowth, follow the road around the corner and then just as it bends the other way you should see a farm track directly ahead of you – take this track for about three quarters of a mile and it will get you to Arymwny! Here’s the site located on Google Maps from the A487 with point ‘A’ being where you exit the main road and on to the farm track to Arymwny which is circled (click on the image to enlarge it)…


The Pitches

There are around 15 good sized and fairly secluded pitches in total on the site spread between two areas. The lower area is below the main house and has a gentle slope to it but nothing severe enough to affect your tent pitching and probably has the slightly better views. The upper area I would say is flatter but if anything has bigger pitches. All are separated by natural flora and fauna banks which give a definite air of privacy from your camping neighbours. There are no allocated pitches – you just rock up and choose your spot.

The two big plus points about each pitch though are the stone fire pit and the stand pipe with cold running drinking water plus bucket – really useful and as I say found on every pitch. There is good quality seasoned firewood aplenty that Norman has available to campers at £9 for a huge trug of logs or £6 for a smaller one. As a guide we took a large trug off his hands and it lasted three days which included evening and  breakfast time fires.

Here are a few pictures from our pitch:

View of the healthy sized pitch pre-pitching…


The useful tap and bucket found on each pitch!


Our fire pit…


The bell tent and camp setup on the pitch…


On-site facilities

As I’ve said earlier on if you’re expecting modern camping comforts then this is probably  not the site for you but that said it doesn’t mean you are completely roughing it – in fact one of the showering options is verging on the luxurious in camping terms! There are two showers, one a port-a-loo type offering which was always spotlessly clean with hot water and then there is a downstairs bathroom in the main house that Norman makes available to campers – this even has a bath in it and has plenty of room for manoeuvre! That’s the luxurious bit! There are also two other port-a-loo toilets on site which were quite possibly the cleanest port-a-loo’s I have ever come across!

There is a fridge/freezer available for ice packs, etc. and Norman will even charge phones and any other electronic gadgets you can’t bear to be without! There are recycling facilities for your rubbish which you are encouraged to use and a trampoline for the kids but that’s it. All the basics covered without making you feel you’re on a designated camping site… actually, it’s like you’re camping in someone’s garden in a strange sort of way but without feeling awkward about doing so!!

Things to do

One of the lovely things about this campsite is you don’t really need to do anything as it’s so relaxing just looking out to sea and watching the landscape in the peace and quiet. However, if you want to stretch your legs you can walk from the campsite, across a couple of fields and you’re on the stunning coastal path at Abercastle or you could maybe walk to the Ship Inn in Trefin for a pint – strangely we didn’t do this! The coastal path is highly recommended with towering cliffs and accessible sandy coves all local to the campsite. We did walks west to Abereiddy and roughly east to Abermawr along some of the finest coast line in the UK in my opinion spotting seals and their pups along the way. In the evenings we did little more than sit around the campfire with our BBQ dinner and a glass in hand though! The night skies were so clear it meant there was  some amazing star gazing on offer… with no light pollution to speak of the stars were mesmerising – awesome.

There are other places to visit along the coast such as Porthgain or Whitesands and if you fancy it a trip to Ramsey Island which can be booked in St David’s. The cathedral in St David’s itself is impressive and well worth a visit.

Norman has a selection of leaflets and flyers of other things to do in the local area should you need them.

My summary

This part of Pembrokeshire definitely has the feel of a much less commercialised Cornwall and, dare I say it, as if you are stepping back in time… not in a backward way but just in a much slower pace of life way! If you make the effort to travel there you will not be disappointed – it really is a terrific camping spot which ticks all the boxes of what you might want for a simple, chilled out camping trip whether for just a few days or for a longer stay. The location is idyllic, Norman is extremely helpful without intruding on your stay and it really makes you feel like you are getting away from it all. Admittedly, we were lucky with the weather but if you can pick the time right I am confident you will have a cracking time and not be disappointed. Will I be back? You bet… and next time with kayak and fishing rods!!

A few more photos

One of the sandy and rocky coves on the way to Abereiddy


The ‘blue’ lagoon at Abereiddy


Our dogs running on the beach near Abereiddy…


Ramsey Island in the distance from the lifeboat station at St Justinian’s


Sun setting at Arymwmy


Base camp


Rebs and Billy on the coastal path to Abermawr


Lucky kayakers…the black dot on the water to the right is a grey seal


Seals and pups on way to Abermawr


Hope you enjoyed the review?!

Until next time…

Cornwall Trip – days 3, 4 & 5


Day 3

Sunday morning we woke up to relatively clear skies though the wind was still strong and there were clouds on the horizon threatening the coast. We had a quick fry up then decided we’d take a look at a couple of spots on the Lizard peninsula which we had an inkling might be good for bass. We checked out the first spot near Porthleven and it looked ‘bassy’ but we’d need the westerly wind to drop off to give us a chance of fishing it. We then headed around the peninsula to the shelter of the eastern side looking at Porthoustock and Porthallow but neither looked like the type of ground that would throw up bass. We had a chat with a couple of local kayakers who’d just come in at Porthallow and they had had little success on the water that morning.

It was all a bit frustrating really – the areas we wanted to fish were blown out and the one’s that looked to have a bit of shelter did not look like there would be fish there. We were fast running out of options and after a quick scout around the top of St Ive’s we concluded the only spot realistically we knew would give us a bit of protection from the wind and swell, and which might get us amongst the fish, was near Gurnards Head again….. and so that’s where we headed but this time with waders and cags on to try and keep ourselves dry. When we arrived if anything the swell was bigger than the previous day  with some big waves crashing against the rocks – the pictures don’t do it justice really. The good thing though was that the fish turned up again though not in the same numbers or size.

Nobby was first in with a bass on his faithful Zonk and had a couple more to his name before I managed to break my duck for the day with a small bass on the Xlayer…


The emergence of a large seal close in to where we were fishing soon meant the fish dried up though so we decided to have a look further round the bay as the tide was still pretty low. It really is a beautiful spot…



We threw a line in the surf and from some of the prominent rocks here but nothing was taking a lure so we checked the roving seal was nowhere in sight and headed back round to the spot we’d caught at earlier… and sure enough the bass were back if only small ones with most falling to the Xlayer though I also took a couple on the IMA Sasuke…


That was pretty much it for the day aside from a very small pollack and a launce sand eel caught on a set of feathers at the end of the session.

We headed back to the North Inn and over a couple of pints contemplated what we were going to do on Monday but we both agreed we should move on from the North Inn and head either down to the Lizard area or further up the north coast depending on the weather … the forecast was not great.

Day 4

This was the windiest night to date with the occasional squally shower to boot which rattled the sides of the tents making for a restless night’s sleep at best. Luckily though the strength of the wind meant the canvass was pretty dry come morning and could be packed up easily enough.

After a quick bacon butty we were on the road away from the North Inn and back down to the first spot we’d looked at yesterday on the Lizard near Porthleven. We hoped that the spot would be fishable but when we got there it was clear it was a non-starter. The seas were monstrous with heavy waves dumping on the beach.  A fellow angler turned up to have a go with a heavy lure rod and plug – we watched him have about three casts but each time it nearly blew back in his face so he soon left… as did we. There really was no option today but to get ourselves some shelter on the east coast of the Lizard peninsula.

We had a scout around and eventually found a spot at the end of the River Helford north of a small hamlet  called St Anthony’s where we found some rocky marks with gullies into fairly deep water. It was relatively sheltered but even here the wind was howling down the Helford valley.


I managed a solitary small pollack and had an unsuccessful take from a bass close in on a grass minnow soft plastic. There were thousands of fry hanging around and some huge mullet cruising around but it was slow fishing and as the squalls became more frequent and heavier we headed back to the car as we needed to sort out where we were going to camp down that night.

As it happened a quick check of the weather forecast again proved wise as the worst of the weather was due to hit that night with gale force winds and driving rain expected – not ideal for camping out! Luckily enough Nobby had good friends Paul and Carol who lived in Newquay who were extremely accommodating when the despairing phone call was made to see if we might have a night with them and a few home comforts! They were legends and we had a great night out and a couple of glasses of plonk as well to see us right… they also have probably have the most comfortable sofa in the world – anyone could fall asleep there you  know!! It was about 3:30 in the morning when I awoke on said sofa and dragged myself to my pit… the wind and rain hammering against the windows… not a night to be in the tents!

Day 5

After the stormy night the outlook for Tuesday morning did not look any better – whilst the rain was more intermittent the wind was still about a force 7 so we needed a sheltered spot again if we were going to have any chance of fishing. Paul pointed us in the right direction and after breakfast we packed up the car and made our thanks to our hosts for their kind hospitality. The car which was packed to the gunnels anyway was now beginning to smell badly from the various bits of wet kit, footwear and not least from us! It looked like a grenade had gone off and positively reeked as we left Newquay…


We headed up the north coast towards Trevose Head where there was a chance we might be able to get out of the worst of the weather. As we drove up the coast we passed the coast close enough in to see some huge swells coming in…


Even this picture does not do justice to the size of these waves and which were regularly around the 12-15 foot mark. Anywhere along this part of the coast was going to be a complete no-go fishing wise.

Thankfully, we found a mark behind in the area Paul had recommended around the Trevose headland. This gave us a chance to wet a line but even here there was some big seas hitting the shore. Here’s Nobby casting beyond the breakers before scarpering back up the beach to avoid a proper soaking…



It was hard going not only with the weather but also with the three resident seals which were happy to chase the lures in at times! Eventually though I managed a take from a small bass on an OSP Rudra plug which was our only success here…



And that was pretty much it for the fishing today and for the trip. The weather wasn’t really improving and it was near on impossible fishing the marks we wanted to with no let up in the conditions on the horizon. Reluctantly, we decided it was time to cut our losses and head home a day or so earlier than planned. We did stop off in St Merryn at the Art of Fishing shop run by Ben Field  to have a chat with him and salivate over the lures and kit he has in stock. If you’re down that way it’s worth popping in, Ben is a nice chap and in addition to being an experienced lure fisherman he clearly knows the area well… be warned though it may be advisable to leave debit and credit cards well out of reach if you’re inclined to go in the shop!

A quick mid afternoon pub lunch followed and then we were back in the, by now rancid smelling, car for the trip home arriving in Southampton around 7 o’clock in the evening.

So, that was it, trip over. The weather could haven been a lot, lot kinder to us and I’m sure we would have got a lot more fishing in with just slightly better conditions but that said it was a top, top few days with plenty of laughs to compliment the fishing and as always in excellent company. Cheers to Nobby for a cracking few days and thanks again to Paul and Carol for their hospitality when most needed. It’s certainly an area I want to fish again but, as I say, hopefully in better conditions!

Until next time…

Cornwall Trip – days 1 & 2…


In the pipeline for a while had been a fishing trip down to Cornwall with my pal Nobby to explore some of the Cornish coast and hopefully bag a few Cornish bass and maybe pollack. We had contemplated taking the kayaks but the amount of kit required coupled with a less than favourable weather forecast told us it would probably be a wise decision to leave them at home… and so it proved as you’ll see further down in this article.

Here’s the day-by-day account of our expedition…

Day 1

We set off from Southampton around 11 a.m. on Friday with good weather but not so good traffic… took us nearly 2 hours just to get to Dorchester where we stopped off for a coffee and a quick chin wag with Richard Cake of Dorset Fishing Rods. Soon enough though we were on the road again and in fairness once we hit Exeter the trip down to Pendeen where we had decided to camp was pretty good. We had chosen our camping venue carefully and arrived at The North Inn in Pendeen by around 4 o’clock in the afternoon giving us plenty of time to pitch our tents and to head out and explore some of the local coast we had already earmarked as possible fishing locations.


We took a look around the Cape Cornwall area and decided to wet a line for an hour as the sun went down near Porth Nanven. We bumped into a local who was rather glum on the state of the local fishing saying there were no bass around and hardly any mackerel which was a bit of a worry. We didn’t catch either but the sunset was pretty good…


We were back at The North Inn camping ground by 8 o’clock and in the pub for our tea and a sampler of the local ales which were all rather pleasant I might add!

Day 2

We woke up Saturday morning to grey skies and a freshening westerly wind as the forecasters had predicted… whilst also realising the one or two samplers we had drunk the night before had done a ‘Proper Job’ on us! Nevertheless, we set off to recce the tip of Cornwall from Sennen Cove round to Lamorna where we eventually decided to stop off and try for a pollack in the deep water marks there using soft plastics. We fished here for a couple of hours but the weather was really deterioating now with heavy rain to join the ever freshening wind. We blanked again but here’s Nobby giving it a good go though…


After the fruitless morning we headed back to the car, had a quick brew at the local cafe and not for the first time on the trip got the OS map out to try and find a place to fish which gave us a little bit of protection from the elements. We came to the conclusion that the best bet might be on the north of the tip of Cornwall and headed to the Zennor area where we found Gurnard Point. It’s a pretty spectacular bit of coast line here…



The rain had stopped, but the wind was still blowing hard and it was good to find some terrain tucked in behind the headland which looked promising so we headed down to it. We had company though as there were several seals there sheltering from the conditions as much as we were. Nevertheless, we found ourselves suitable marks and began fishing. I was still opting to fish soft plastics with a 5g Iwashi jig head attached to a white paddle tail and as luck would have it within a few minutes I had our first fish of the trip and a bass as well which was pleasing…



It was the only fish at this spot and as the tide started to turn we decided to move round the bay to a prominent rocky outcrop where it looked like we might be able to fish into some decent water. After a 15 minute stroll round to the mark we were pleased we had moved – the water looked very ‘bassy’ and as it was low water we were able to take advantage of some decent rocks to fish some of the gullies and as the tide turned so the bass turned up. I had just changed my lure to a Megabass Xlayer as well – this time on 7g Iwashi jig head and first cast … bang! Fish on!


Next cast… bang! Fish On!


… and to complete the hat-trick third cast with the Xlayer I was in again! Three casts, three fish! Soon enough Nobby was in as well using his Megabass Zonk plug…


This was pretty much the pattern for the next 30 – 45 minutes with both of us nailing bass to 3lb – me on the Xlayer and Nobby on the Zonk plug. We even managed a double hook up…


By the time we called it a day and walked back up the cliff in the now pelting rain we had bagged 17 bass in total between us plus Nobby took a solitary mackerel…


So much for the local we’d spoke to the previous evening saying there weren’t any bass or mackerel around! We’d just had a great little session and although the bass were nothing spectacular they all put up good fights in a strong current.

We drove back to the North Inn in fading light and, with the heavy rain, in fading visibility just praying the tents hadn’t washed away! They hadn’t and thankfully despite the day’s deluge the camp was in a pretty good state. A quick clean up and we were nicely settled in the ‘Inn’ for supper and a couple of pints before heading back to the tents… finally it had stopped raining…

Days 3, 4 and 5 to follow…

Until next time…

Something a bit different

Just got back from a couple of days camping in Pembrokeshire, Wales with my nine year old son, Billy. It’s somewhere I’ve never been before and whilst we were there to primarily enjoy the joys of camping we also planned to do some rock fishing and of course I wanted to check out possible kayaking launch venues in the process!.

The campsite I chose was just outside of St. David’s as you head west in a hamlet called Porth Clais. We found a cracking pitch, wonderful view and the weather was superb when we arrived…

View from Campsite

The piece of water in the picture is St. Bride’s Bay with the island of Skomer just visible in the distance. First evening we tried a little float fishing from the rocks near the Porth Clais harbour inlet – the water is crystal clear and we were getting lots of bites from the tiniest of wrasse which were just clinging to the bait rather than the hook! Here’s some more pictures of the coast line and harbour at Porth Clais…

Porth Clais Rocks

Porth Clais Harbour

Porth Clais Harbour Inlet

As the light faded we switched to lures to see if there were any bass around but it was almost too calm with nothing to get excited about. Still, it was a lovely evening and it was good practise for Billy who is just getting into his fishing. His casting has come on leaps and bounds but his patience needs some work! Here he is on the rocks…

Billy Porth Clais Rock Fishing

We spent a pleasant night under the canvass and woke up nicely refreshed – a quick bacon sandwich and cup of tea for breakfast and we were on the road. The plan was to head up the North Pembrokeshire coast and see what and where we could find. The weather was cloudy and actually quite cool for August with a fresh and increasingly strong wind.

The first stop was the fishing village of Porthgain where we took a wander to the old quarry along the coastal path to the left of the harbour as you look to the sea. There looked a couple of good rock fishing spots but the sea state had worsened and it was fairly exposed so we decided against this spot. The harbour itself would be a good spot to launch the yak from though and the local pub nearby – The Sloop Inn – would be an excellent after fishing  watering hole!

We headed up the coast calling in at beauty spots along the way such as Abermawr, Abercastle, and Strumble Head all the way up to Fishguard where we picked up some bait and a spot of lunch. We decided to head back to Abercastle where we had noted calmer water and safer looking rock marks for Billy to fish from. It was another lovely looking spot to launch a kayak from…

Abercastle Harbour

We walked to a rock mark to the left of the harbour and fished there for a couple of hours but it was slow and the only fish to show between us for our efforts was this plump little rockling I landed on a whole sandeel…

Rockling 1

Rockling 2

I was really hoping for Billy to land something but despite his best efforts the bites didn’t come and it wasn’t to be. There will be other days for him I’m sure when his luck will be in!

We headed back to the campsite shortly after that with the weather closing in all the time. Just about managed to get a barbeque in before the first spots of rain were felt – it turned out to be a wet and windy night but the Vango Hurricane 200 tent stood up to the conditions with ease – an excellent piece of kit in my opinion…

The Hurricane 200 Tent

The next morning things hadn’t let up so we begrudgingly decided to call it quits and head home. It rained pretty much all the way home so a decent decision in the end.

A smashing couple of days nonetheless and a little bit of groundwork put in on fishing spots and possible kayak launch venues – really would like to get the yak to some of these spots in the not too distant future and do some more exploring of this stretch of coast. It’s a truly beautiful part of the UK and somewhere I can thoroughly recommend.

Happy days.

Until next time……