Atlantic Highway, Cornwall. Open your car door after a four hour drive and the Cornish sea air is almost intoxicating, fresh, crisp and reassuringly calming, this is a place I have a lifelong bond with, drawn back to over and over again. My family originates from these dramatic, ever changing shores, generations of folk honoured to live in this ancient and mesmerising land.
Sadly, some of us have moved inland to places without daily access to the coast, but the pull never goes away, it calls your very soul, this happened to me recently so I set off from the Midlands around 10pm and arrived in pitch darkness at 2am, uninterrupted skies with no light pollution to dull the night canvas, billions of glistening stars, reflections in the gently rolling waves and a cooling light breeze carrying the sound of the sea towards you.
Sunroof wide open, I slept in the car for a few hours and woke up to sunrise in one of my all time favourite places on earth - Welcombe Mouth. It’s not a destination for the faint hearted, the 2 mile 20% road leading to the cliff’s edge is just about wide enough for a car, rough, unsurfaced and potholed it will put most people off, but those in the know, locals, surfers and explorers, will persevere, and be rewarded richly at the end of the road.
This is my starting point, my gateway to the Atlantic Highway, a road that leads me to some of the most beautiful places in the world, a curvaceous, winding road that joins Devon to Cornwall, through the wilderness of the moors, picturesque villages and coastal towns, but it’s hidden coves and hamlets that lay just off its main vein that are the real jewels.
The entire journey enhanced by the visceral soundtrack of my old air cooled Porsche, I always describe it as an analogue experience, perfect engineering and generations of refinement, minimal electronic interference and a purity that is infectious, windows down, no need for music, and just for a moment, everything else fades away, life is right there.
Heading towards the end of the land, next stop is Bude for a coffee, pastries and an hour lazing in the early morning sun in the dunes on Summerleeze Beach watching the day’s proceedings starting to take shape. Head back in to town to pick up a freshly baked local Cornish pasty and off again.
Crackington Haven, another all time favourite bit of coast, the distinct, razor sharp rock formations welcoming the ocean waves and hidden rock pools warmed by the sun. Feels ancient here, there’s nothing to give it away, this is a place to clear the head and think. Continue on to Tintagel and make the walk up to the spectacular castle, the deepest aqua blue and crystal clear cove water you’ll ever see sparkling way below as you climb up to the castle ruins. Take time to laze in one of the many al fresco ‘rooms’ with their velvet soft grass carpets and just listen to the crashing waves far below and the seagulls up above.
After a quick stop off at Port Issac for a coffee and to enjoy my still warm Cornish pasty I get ready to set off on the 4 hour journey home, sad to leave this intoxicating place once more, but in the knowledge the pull will be too strong to stay away for long.
Weapon of Choice
PORSCHE 911 CARRERA 4
The 911 Carrera 4 was the first 911 to feature an all-wheel drive system. Its electronically controlled permanent all-wheel drive normally transmitted 31 percent of the drive torque to the front axle and 69 percent to the rear axle. Distribution could be varied according to the relevant driving situation. There was a traction switch on the centre console of the C4. Its 3.6-litre engine produced 250 hp.
0-60mph 4.8 seconds
Top Speed 180+ mph
Real World mpg 32