IT’S THE LAST DAY OF OUR COMPETITION:
Would your owner like a hand-drawn portrait of you? Illustrator Hannah Evelyn Rowlands is selling portraits of us handsome hounds to raise dosh for my alma mater, Battersea Dogs (and Cats) Home – and Hannah is offering one Phileas reader a free picture. So, booze hounds, comment on this post, telling us your favourite boozer in the UK, by the end of October 2012, and I’ll select a winner based on which pub sounds the most top dog.
To find out more about Hannah’s project, which has already raised more than £2000 for Battersea dogs, log on to http://drawingfordogs.bigcartel.com. All Hannah needs to create your fine image is a photograph to work from (so I’ll be sending a snap of Brad Pitt-Bull then!)
Anyway, back to the main business of the day. So this time Jane is being the travel journalist and we are off to Cornwall, on the 10.14am train from London Paddington to Par, so Jane can report on The Lewinnick Lodge in Newquay for a national paper. I relax in our first class seats, take full advantage of the complimentary biscuits and copy of The Times and dream of the beaches on which I’ll soon be racing. I haven’t even packed my quill and ink in my Gladstone bag, so excited am I at the prospect of a holiday for a holiday’s sake, rather than having to keep my wits about me at all times and make important observations for the fido fraternity.
But, Jane announces as we glide past the pretty beaches and sailing boats of Dawlish, I am not on a holiday holiday. I am on a working holiday. At the same time as she reviews the Lewinnick Lodge for the newspaper, I shall be reviewing it for Phileas Dogg. I protest that I am without my fedora with the newshound tag perched in the brim but she is unabashed. She is working and I too am working, says she.
I am feeling a bit Below Par about it all but, when we change trains for Newquay and the cool Cornish air hits my lungs I perk up. Cornwallshire – one of my favourite counties. It would, indeed, be criminal if I didn’t share it with Phileas readers.
Arriving in Newquay and getting to the Lewinnick is easy enough – a two-minute walk from the train station to A2B Taxis, which doesn’t make a London-style fuss about accepting dogs, and then a five minute, £6 taxi ride.
But, when we pull up outside the Lewinnick, even though we’re just ten minutes from the town centre, it doesn’t feel as if we’re in Newquay at all – it feels as if we’re on a remote Cornish headland with no houses, just scenery and VIEWS for miles around.
The Lewinnick has always been a Newquay favourite for local hounds enjoying post-walk lunches for years but, this summer, 2012, the owners opened ten boutique style bedrooms so non-local canines can take advantage of the spot as well.
When Jane and I – the two esteemed travel writers – enter our room we gasp, collectively. This room could have been in the bargain bucket at *easyKennelsRus* and it would still be the most amazing hotel berth in the world, because of the VIEW. Four huge windows look over the cliffs below and then east, along more cliffs, towards Fistral Beach. There’s even a pair of binoculars on the windowsill so we can focus in on the salty young sea pups, out en bateaux in the ocean. I sit on the bed and all I can see and hear outside is the crashing waves – it’s like being on a pirate ship in the middle of the ocean. Dra-mat-ic!
As it is, the room hasn’t been designed by *easyKennelsRUs* – it’s been designed by a top London chap and very tasteful it is too, in a subtle way, so as not to detract from the VIEW. Tweed chairs – the type a proper English dog like me prefers; Dualit appliances and one of those a la mode bathrooms that is open to the bedroom. There’s even a dog bed for me and some special Cornish dog biscuits. Grrr-huzzah! But have I mentioned the VIEWS?
For humans, looking at views is pleasure enough in itself but us dogs want to get out, into the view. If we see a view we want to be there, bang in the middle of it. So I take the lead and Jane and I are off, marching straight out of the hotel’s front door and on to the Pentire headland, 100 yards away.
‘You can’t go wrong,’ a local tells us. ‘Just keep the sea on your right.’
But, confuse-bonios, the sea is on the left as well – the magnificent, wide Crantock Beach, which we attempt to struggle down the gorse covered cliff to, but the tide’s coming in at quite a crack and Jane becomes nervous. Not me – gorse, schmorse! Still, we give up the gorse and head down to The Gannel, which is an estuary, where that crashing sea meets the river. The Gannel is a sandy beach and then a river and then the sea – all in one day. That is melting my brain – even Isaac Newbone or Albark Einstein would struggle with it. In fact, I’m concentrating so hard to try and work it out that I start to see spots – double spots!
The other amaze walk is along Fistral Beach, which is turn left out of the door of the Lewinnick and then down a coastal path for about a quarter of an hour. Fistral Beach has the biggest waves in Europe, some as high as the tallest tree in my local park, which even a squirrel couldn’t reach the top of.
I’m generally a brave fellow but we stay at the top of the beach, by the cliffs, away from the waves. Still, I manage a bit of barking at the humans in strange second skins with big white sticks under their arms – CHASE! – and a bit more barking at the multicoloured birds that humans are controlling with string for leads.
Phileas Phact Box: Newquay
- Lewinnick Lodge, Pentire Headland, Newquay, Cornwall TR7 1QD Tel: 01637 878117; www.hospitalitycornwall.com
- Crantock Beach, The Gannel and Fistral Beach are dog-friendly all year round. There are two café/bars at Fistral Beach – Bodhi’s, at the south end and Fistral Beach Bar, at the north end – both very welcoming to canines.