This past weekend we had a few days away with a dear friend visiting from Oxfordshire. Not a city break, but a trip to the beach. And not just any beach, but Cranfield beach.
We stayed in a seaside cottage which features heavily in my childhood memories. The visitors book is littered with entries by myself and my sister, my parents, my grandparents… so it’s a real pleasure to be back.
No trip to Cranfield is complete without a stop off for food on the way. And there’s only one place to do that: the legendary Friar Tuck’s.
The Friar Tuck’s superchip is THE best way to eat potatoes. This is absolutely the most delicious thing in the whole world. Better than cheese.
And while we were there we took a wee trip to the marina and picked up some delicious Genoa icecream on the way. I couldn’t resist a wee photo of the gorgeous table outside!
There’s something relaxing about being by the sea, don’t you think? And this is unbeaten for me – the winking of the lighthouse in the evening, the sunrise through the clouds, the view of the Mourne Mountains from the back of the house, the sight of Ireland in the distance across the mouth of Carlingford Lough.
We did manage to tear ourselves away though, on the promise of an even better view! As a wee girl, I used to strop and stomp my way up the hills in Kilbroney Park, Rostrevor to the Spotty Rock. I remember Saturday mornings clambering over the wobbly wooden bridge in the playpark with Babymac while mum & dad read the paper over coffee at the white plastic tables in the cafe…
We arrived in drizzle, which is pretty much how I remember it from the 90s anyway. But the cafe is wonderful. A vast array of traybakes, soups, pies, paninis, hot drinks (in sizes ‘wee’ or ‘big’) and chips. Over lunch we discovered that C.S. Lewis used to holiday in the village and that this area is said to be the inspiration for Narnia.
To celebrate the connection, a Narnia trail has been established in the forest part, and it’s fab!
And then the nostalgia trip – though we cheated a little to fit this in before sunset, and drove to the upper forest car park*. To the Cloughmore Stone. The climb was as steep and stunning as I remember, maybe more, over the tributary which flows out into Carlingford Lough, the body of water which separates the North and South of Ireland in this part of our island.
Mountains, forest, spotty rocks, beach walks, and the sound of the sea. It makes the heart sing!
*Don’t tell Dad.