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Nov 2017

petroc Unknown (personal name of) saint + stōw Old English place.

Population - 2,993.

Cornwall Coat of Arms

Park up at Padstow library so you can take in the inviting drop down to what's come to be known as Padstein like you didn't know already.

Have always had a bit of a soft spot for old  Jock although it's thought he preferred to holiday in Lisbon.

That's a joke, of course. Rick  Stein, of main course fame, and Padstow is home to no less than 9 establishments[1] that are run by the evil, epicurean  empire builder.

At least they would be if they were. He spends most of his time in Wales, the New South one, and his ex-wife Jill looks to be the brains behind the brand. Still not convinced those TV close-ups of an onion being chopped ridiculously fast are actually his hands and his recently awarded CBE might as well stand for 'Cooks But Elsewhere'.

[1] One of them is a gift shop, obviously, but just who is buying those starfish trivets?

You too might accidently find yourselves at what's still a working harbour where they unload the ingredients for at least 5 of Stein's fishy-themed eateries, probably.

Not that his name is plastered absolutely everywhere here, he's modestly dropped his moniker for 4 of those although that doesn't include his titular patisserie.

It's early November and they're closed for the season, it would seem, which is a shame because we couldn't half go a fish cake.

Neither has he a complete monopoly on everything edible here with some stiff competition on the pasty provider front.

Due to Stein's presence and rising rents, probably, they're hidden behind the harbour in a kind of gluten ghetto that's also handy for a Barclays™ when you fancy, but don't have the immediate funds for, a couple to take home for tea.

  Metropole Hotel (Station Road)

Advising trippers are largely positive although some suggest a little dated.

Padstow - Metropole Hotel

Down below is the Seafood Restaurant, which is Stein's original and once only offering, and dinner there looks to double what you might expect to pay for a room upstairs.

To get a sense of where you are, head north from the harbour towards the World War I memorial at St Saviours Point.

Nice to see an old friend, the South West Coast Path, and to the right is the River Camel, technically an estuary, with quite a rise in the tide and an awful lot of sand going some way to explaining Padstow's popularity.

  South West Coast Path

If you're walking England's longest National Trail anticlockwise from Minehead, you're about 170 miles in with just the 460-or-so to go to Dorset.

If you're coming from Dorset then well done but it's still about 170 miles to Minehead. Either way, you'll be needing the 'Black Tor' ferry between Rock and Padstow, which has slightly different destinations depending on the tide, and actually qualifies as part of the path.

Across the water is the village of Rock or, 'Kensington-on-Cornwall' if you'd rather.

It's so called since posh people come here to plodge in the summer and  Gordon Ramsay™, another fancy fryer of the fish, recently paid £4M+ to live here.

At least he will do when the objections to his demolition and rebuilding are resolved but what to do in the meantime? He only went and bought another one to live in while he's waiting for them to finish the wrangling and then the wiring.

  Sharp's Brewery (Rock)

Purveyors of the fairly well known Doom Bar bitter that can be found on many pub's pumps nationwide. The name comes from the dangerous sandbank that's just about on and real ale drinking types were hopping mad at the brewer's acquisition in 2011 by the multinational  Molson Coors™.

Near Padstow - The Doom Bar

They still brew it here, it's just the bottling that's done in Burton upon Trent and this one much prefers their Atlantic Exceptional Pale Ale, anyways.

Heading back through the fields above Padstow accidentally brings you to Prideaux Place, a late 16th-century country mansion that's aptly named since it's still the family home of the landed Prideaux family.

Tours are of the paid and guided variety for a handful of rooms in the house and a well-tended garden, they say.

There's far better value to be had over the road where the deer are free although not in that kind of way. One of the oldest parks in the country with a herd in it, they claim, and what was first thought to be a mysterious  white hart.

Not so, these being fallow, that's just a pale buck with the little one a fawn and they breed them deliberately light just to show that they can, you see.

Funnily enough, the  White Hart Inn in Bodmin is somewhere you can pick up a pint of that Doom Bar, probably.

Meanwhile, back in Padstow, the typically narrow backstreets aren't too busy today but that's not the case on the 1st of May when a pair of 'Obby 'Osses[1] parade down these lanes.

It's a pagan, fertility ritual, they say, and some groping of young maidens may be involved. If you think that's not to be actively encouraged then just wait until Boxing Day where the iffy activity revolves around blacked-up faces!

[1] Or hobby horses if you happen to speak English and it all sounds a little bit too  Wicker Man. "No sir, it does NOT refresh me!" ©  Eh-Wah Woo-Wah.

Unlike this pair of pasty, pasty-filled faces who have settled on the  Chough Bakery for sustenance. Us and an intrepid little turnstone, actually, who ain't afraid of no crummy, red-beaked rook.

Their 'Cornish Pasty World Champions 2016!' is a bold claim and while it can't be claimed to have tried all of the others, these weren't half bad. There's talk of chicken, bacon, leek and blue cheese inside but if it ain't no traditional or just plain old cheese, well, can the word blasphemy be used?

The B3276 up and out of Padstow is about as scenic as they come and 7-or-so miles down is the small village of Mawgan Porth. It's popular with surfers because of the fine beach and there's what's thought to be called a parade of shops to accommodate rainy day mooching.

It's not an essential stop but you'll pull in because of an idiot in an Audi who's been tailgating for the last few miles as you drive south into the low, November sun.

Relax man! Enjoy the scenery, have a pasty of something and there's really no need to stare like that! Directions you want is it? Newquay Airport? Hmmm, let's see... it's about another two miles. Idiot.