British Heatwave

Last year in England the weather was dismal and wet. Everyone is still talking about it. We had a very wet summer and a cold winter followed by the start of a nice spring, but then it turned very cold again.

In June everything changed. The sun came out and the temperatures rose. It was a beautiful summer, with long warm days and lots of sunshine. We even had a “heatwave” (temperatures over 80 degrees F!) for three weeks in July. I love summer in England, when we get some sun and warm weather. It doesn’t get too hot and the days are pleasant. But when the thermometer goes above 80, it is a little too hot here. It gets muggy, the house feels hot and we have to do our walks in shaded woods because it is too hot hiking out in open fields.

Beach at Church Cove, Cornwall
Beach at Church Cove, Cornwall

It was just luck that we had a week in Cornwall booked for the second week of the heatwave. We rented a cottage on The Lizard with our friends Wendy and Richard, experienced Cornwall travelers. The Lizard is that bottom point at the end of Cornwall, not the one with Land’s End, but the one that ends with Lizard Point.

We were in Cornwall once, over 25 years ago, and only as a day trip from where we were staying in Devon. All I remembered was those narrow streets in St Ives.

On this trip we both fell in love with Cornwall! Miles of beautiful coastline, charming villages along the coast and the rivers, great footpaths for walking, interesting historic and prehistoric sites, fabulous restaurants.

The heatwave in England continued the week we were in Cornwall, so we got to spend several days at the beach. It felt like a Hawaii vacation – sandy beaches, endless ocean, beautiful flowering bushes and trees – with one exception, that ocean water is cold! We went swimming anyway, but the first five minutes in the water were torture.

We booked a last minute apartment in Carbis Bay, near St Ives, so that we could spend a second week and to avoid the worst of the heatwave. In the Cotswolds temperatures were in the low 80s, but in Cornwall the cooling ocean breezes gave us pleasant temperatures in the 70s.

Cornwall, north coast
Cornwall, north coast

Doesn’t this look like Hawaii? This was taken on our picnic lunch on the coast trail west of St Ives, after a pleasant two hour walk, not realizing we had four hours ahead of a very difficult and rocky coast trail.

I have a lot more to say about this summer and our Cornwall trip, and will eventually. I have been posting photos from our travels on the Slow Europe Facebook page.

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Pauline Kenny

Pauline Kenny and Steve Cohen are US expats living in Dorset. We moved to the UK in 2010. Read about our move. If you would like to talk about travel, please join us on the Slow Europe Travel Forums.

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