Trevillett Mill and Cottages, self catering holiday accommodation exclusively located in Rocky Valley, Tintagel, North Cornwall

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Rare catbird spotted in Cornwall

Hundreds of twitchers have flocked to Treeve Moor near Land's End in Cornwall to catch a glimpse of a rare bird from America.  The grey catbird, which is about 20cm (7.8in) long and grey in colour, is so named because of its distinctive "meowing" sound.

It is only the second time it has been seen here - the first sighting in Britain was in Anglesey in 2001, according to the British Birds Rarities Committee.

Mark Grantham, chairman of the Cornwall Bird Watching and Preservation Society, said he thought the bird, which was first seen on Monday, had been brought across the Atlantic on low pressure systems following the recent US storms.  He said: "Birds heading south get carried out to sea on weather systems and then can follow the Gulf Stream before making landfall at the first opportunity."

News of the grey catbird spread on Twitter, and birdwatchers started arriving, with a local farmer opening a field for parking, taking charity donations in return.

Mr Grantham added: "Cornwall is used to seeing its fair share of rare birds, but American birds certainly provide extra excitement.  "To see [the grey catbird] flitting along a Cornish hedge is always going to be extra special."

Health benefits of the sea recognised

Many of us associate the sea with feeling happy, relaxed and switching off from life's stress.  But there's growing belief that being near, on, in, or under water has a far more powerful impact on our mental, and physical health than we might realise.

The "Blue Mind" ethos, which is the subject of growing European research, is being championed by Californian biologist and researcher Wallace J Nichols, who believes "the idea that water is medicine will be quite mainstream" within 10 years.

What is Blue Mind?
Although some humans have always instinctively embraced the ideas central to Blue Mind, the movement has in recent years been documented and championed by Californian biologist and researcher Wallace J Nichols who published a book on the subject in 2014.  Nichols believes we should all channel the putative blue in our heads, using water to detox our digital enslavement... even taking a shower, or glimpsing a photograph of a river will do the job.

There are believed to be only a handful of recognised health services embracing the healing power of water in the UK - although Dr Nichols says this actually puts Britain ahead of the US - but the scientist thinks that in 10 years the idea that water is medicine will be quite mainstream.  Just as in the early 1990s the notion that eating fresh whole foods, exercising and reducing stress was considered 'Californian' but is now standard advice backed by science.

2018 saw the fifth annual "100 Days of Blue Mind Challenge", as part of which people shared their water-based experiences every day for 100 days on social media.

Lizzi Larbalestier, a UK Blue Mind ambassador, has built her career around the concept that water is medicine, and is passionate about the benefits.  She is a Blue Health practitioner, having run professional coaching for nearly ten years, based in the Cornish seaside resort of Perranporth.  Her clients include many city-based people who are very successful but have lost their connection with nature and they need a bit of heart space and slowing down.

Ms Larbalestier refers to the "scientific evidence" found by the European Centre for Environment and Human Health research on the benefits of the Blue Mind ethos and believes that clean, healthy water is a fundamental and free health resource to us that is underutilised and undervalued.

If you ever needed an extra excuse to get into Cornish waters, this is it!

New footbridge for Tintagel Castle

The Cornish world-famous medieval site, Tintagel Castle, is set to close for months as a spectacular new footbridge is to be built.

The bridge is a £4 million project launched by English Heritage, which will link the mainland to Tintagel island where Kind Arthur was allegedly born. 

Although the site will remain fully open all summer 2018, it will close in October for the bridge to be built and reopen for summer 2019.

The spectacular modern steel and oak construction has been designed to last for the next 120 years and according to the English Heritage, the footbridge has been designed to recreate the historic route into the castle, which was connected to the island by a bridge until at least the 16th century.

Some detractors think that this is further ‘disneyfication’ of Cornwall, however, not only will the bridge help make the castle more accessible to visitors, but it will also provide an enticing new experience which is sure to bring more visitors to this spectacular stretch of the north Cornwall coast.

Pebble pocketers beware!

A holidaymaker who took pebbles from a Cornish beach was forced to travel hundreds of miles to return the souvenirs to avoid a hefty fine.

The man was traced to his home after taking a carrier bag full of stones from a beach at Crackington Haven near Bude.  He was told that he faced a fine of up to £1,000 so he decided to return to Cornwall’s Atlantic coast and put the round grey stones back where he found them.

The problem of pebble plundering at Crackington Haven hit the headlines in the late nineties when the issue was blamed on television garden re-design programmes and magazine articles.

It has become such a problem again that St Gennys parish council felt it had no choice other than to take action and warn people that taking pebbles was prohibited under the 1949 Coastal Protection Act.

Crackington Haven has the most beautiful rounded grey stones that in the wintertime create a beautifully eerie steel grey look to the beach and in summer are a lovely contrast to the sunny blue skies.  It’s no wonder that people innocently want to take a little momento home with them.  

The parish council says that removing the pebbles can lead to erosion and flooding and that taking away the pebbles, the haven would be damaged during every storm.   

Educating visitors was the way forward to encourage “pebble pocketers” not to take stones away.

Record summer temperatures announced

2018 was the joint hottest summer on record for the UK as a whole, and the hottest ever for England, the Met Office has announced.

It said highs for summer 2018 were tied with those of 1976, 2003 and 2006 for being the highest since records began in 1910.  England's average temperatures narrowly beat those seen in 1976, they added.

The heatwave saw soaring temperatures across much of the UK throughout June and July.  Dry, sweltering conditions for weeks on end gave way to a more average August, said the Met Office.

To the nearest 0.1C, all four years - 2018 as well as 1976, 2003 and 2006 - had an average temperature of 15.8C (60.4F).  That is 1.5C above the long-term average, the Met Office said. The margins between the years are so small it's impossible to separate them, they added.

In England, the mean temperature was 17.2C (63F). The 1976 record had been 17C.  No records were set for other parts of the UK.

The hottest day of 2018 so far was Thursday, 26 July, when temperatures reached 35.3C in Faversham, Kent.  But it still did not top the UK's highest-ever recorded temperature of 38.5C (101F), also in Faversham, in August 2003.

Having record average temperatures is consistent with the general picture of the climate warming in the UK and globally, the Met Office said. "It's generally accepted that the risk of heatwaves is increasing due to global warming.
"The temperature has risen, since industrial times, by one degree overall, so we're starting from a degree higher. So the peaks in these heatwaves are going to be a little bit higher as well."

The immediate cause of this year's extended warm weather was the meandering jet stream taking a more northerly track over the UK, creating an area of high pressure over Britain which did not shift for weeks.
But many scientists are also asking about the role of climate change in "loading the dice" and making a heatwave more likely, when an event like the wandering jet stream occurs.

An early analysis by researchers from the World Weather Attribution group found that human activities including the burning of fossil fuels made this year's European heatwave twice as likely to occur.

Met Office researchers say that while there are many natural factors at play in our weather, it is also likely that warming will make our future summers hotter.

The scorching summer could now give way to an autumn of above-average temperatures, the Met Office said.  They said the three-month outlook, which covers August, September and October, shows "an increased chance of high-pressure patterns close to the UK".

Meteorologists say above-average temperatures are more likely because sea surface temperatures are at "near-record" levels.

St Nectan's Glen

At the sacred site of Saint Nectan’s Glen, the Trevillett river has carved its way through Late Devonian slate, created a magnificent 60 foot waterfall and punched a hole through the original kieve (basin). The water cascades down a beautiful valley and onto the sea, just a couple of miles away.

The sixth-century Saint Nectan is believed to have sited his hermitage above the waterfall. According to legend, Saint Nectan rang a silver bell in times of stormy weather to warn shipping of the perils of the rocks at the mouth of the Rocky Valley.

Saint Nectan’s Kieve is to some a sacred place, and numerous ribbons, crystals, photographs, inscriptions, prayers and other devotions now adorn the foliage and rock walls near the waterfall. Some visitors add small piles of flat stones obtained from the stream, known locally as faery stacks.

A building reputed to be the site of Saint Nectan’s cell is situated at the top of the waterfall; the date of the building is uncertain. It is understood that the ruins of a Christian chapel provide the lower part of the walls of a cottage erected in the 1860s, and extended around 1900.

Many myths and legends, from King Arthur and his knights to ghostly sightings, surround this place: but one undeniable fact is that it is a place of outstanding natural beauty.

The walk to the waterfall & Hermitage is through an ancient woodland with ivy clad trees.  It follows the banks of the Trevillett river as it sparkles and gurgles busily on it’s journey downstream to Trevillett Mill in Rocky Valley where it meets sea.

It’s a place where animals and birds play amid a mysticism of faeries and piskies, serenaded by the wonderful sound of bird song. The area has been appointed a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) due to rare specimens of plants.

At the hermitage there is a café in which you can enjoy a well deserved cream tea and a meditation room for a time of self reflection.

If you wander down to the Waterfall you will experience one of Cornwall’s hidden treasures, one of natures beauties unspoilt by man.

The crystal clear water in this deep rock basin overflows and falls 60 feet  through a spectacular hole eroded through the rock. The river then continues over another waterfall, which takes it to the valley’s lower level.

Mosses, ferns and grasses adorn the fall, fringing every rock with a native drapery of the most exquisite beauty. Here is one of the wildest, most unspoilt, and most beautiful places in the UK, poetic, and coloured by legend. These waters are reputed to be healing, and watched over by the spirits of past guardians and friends of the Glen.

Saint Nectan’s Kieve is to some a sacred place, and numerous ribbons, crystals, photographs, inscriptions, prayers and other devotions now adorn the foliage and rock walls near the waterfall in memory of loved ones who have passed away, some for wishes.

Offerings such as these have been part of the heritage of sacred wells since ancient times, and the continuing practice of leaving offerings will always link us to that past.

A brand new walkway allows access to a newly discovered waterfall which was previously not accessible to the public.  The waterfall is approximately 80 feet in length and joins the main stream after waterfall 1 and 2 and can only be seen from the extended walk.

Saint Nectan's Glen can be found near the hamlet of Trethevy, near Tintagel in North Cornwall.

Don’t forget your toothbrush!

Don’t forget your toothbrush!

We all tend to think carefully about the things we need to do and take on holiday with us, whether it’s sort out the holiday insurance, set your email to ‘out of office’and make a checklist of items to take – that includes cameras, chargers, toiletries and of course your toothbrush.

However, when we leave our holiday accommodation, many of us are less fastidious about our packing.  The last-minute rush to leave on time means that quite often we leave items behind.

The following is a list of the top ten most commonly left behind items at Trevillett Mill self catering holiday cottages in Cornwall over the last six years:

1. Phone chargers

2. Odd socks

3. Holiday books

4. Frozen food – mostly ice cream

5. DVDs (left in players)

6. Reading glasses

7. Buckets and spades

8. Dog leads – luckily not the dog!

9. Shampoo and shower gel 

10. Jackets

Other items that have had to be posted onwards include children’s lunch boxes, a wok, prized jacket and other clothes.

So, to avoid leaving behind that essential item next time you’re away:

  • Pack as much as you can the night before departure.
  • Make sure you know what time you’re required to leave your accommodation and allow some time for last minute packing as well as breakfast!
  • Do a final sweep of the property before you leave and check drawers, shower cubicles and electrical sockets.

Remember, you’ll be missing the items more than we want to add to our burgeoning collection.

Total lunar eclipse tomorrow - Friday 27 July 2018

Weather permitting, get ready for a beautiful celestial sight on Friday 27 July and Saturday 28 July, when a total lunar eclipse will be visible from almost all parts of the world.

From the UK, this spectacular sight will last all evening. As the moon rises at 8:50pm, the eclipse will already be in its total phase and the moon will be a deep-red colour as it climbs into the sky.

All you need is a clear view of the night sky. Your eyes are the best instrument to soak up the sight.  So, pull up a garden chair, invite some friends round, and as you watch the serene eclipse unfold, here are some fun facts to ponder.

Why does the moon turn red?
A total lunar eclipse happens when the sun, Earth and the moon perfectly line up. The most spectacular part about a total lunar eclipse is that when the moon is fully in Earth’s shadow it turns red. This has earned the phenomenon the nickname of blood moon.

The red colour happens because sunlight is deflected through Earth’s atmosphere. The process is called refraction and it bends red light from the sun like a lens into the space behind Earth – and so on to the surface of the eclipsed moon.  The precise colour of the moon depends on the atmospheric conditions in Earth’s atmosphere. The clearer the atmosphere, the brighter and lighter the red colour appears to be.  If Earth had no atmosphere then the totally eclipsed moon would be black.

How many lunar eclipses will there be this century?
According to Nasa there will be 230 lunar eclipses in the 21st century. Of these, only 85 will be total lunar eclipses. Friday’s eclipse is the longest of the century, with a duration of 1 hour 43 minutes and 35 seconds. It will be the 17th total lunar eclipse of the century. The next will occur on 21 January 2019.

How did a total lunar eclipse save Christopher Columbus?
On Columbus’s fourth voyage, his ships ran into a storm that led to him becoming stranded on Jamaica. After beaching his two remaining ships (he started out with four) in June 1503, he and his crew threw themselves on the mercy of the local inhabitants. Accounts vary but clearly by February the following year, relationships had soured between Columbus’s castaways and the indigenous people.
In order to continue to receive food and hospitality from the locals, Columbus needed to do some persuading, and he turned to his astronomical almanac for help. Spotting an upcoming total lunar eclipse, he is said to have gathered the locals on the evening of 29 February 1504 and told them his god was angry with their decision and had decided to project his wrath on to the moon.  According to the story, when the blood moon appeared, the locals panicked and gave Columbus all the provisions he could want.

What happens to the moon during a total lunar eclipse?
Unlike the rather stately twilight that normally takes place on the moon, where a day lasts for about a fortnight and is followed by an equally long night, the sun’s light and heat disappear within minutes during a total lunar eclipse.
Rather like plunging non-toughened glass from the oven into a bowl of cold water, this sudden change of temperature could cause the lunar rocks to crack and gasses to be released. These would help to supply the very thin lunar atmosphere, which is so rarefied it is called an exosphere.

There is also another mystery to be explained. When astronomers take thermal images of the totally eclipsed moon, they see hot spots that they cannot fully explain. They are often concentrated on craters.
Despite having studied them for more than 60 years, no one has come up with an adequate explanation for where the heat is coming from. Selene, it seems, likes to keep some secrets to herself.


Updated on January 27th, 2013

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