The delightful old fishing port of Padstow is a welcome haven on the north Cornish coastline and a great weekender destination as part of a lengthier cruise
As part of our brand new WEEKENDER series, this month we bring you Padstow.
First things first: the charming old fishing harbour of Padstow is not a short-hop destination. It’s a full 50 miles along the north Cornish coast from Land’s End, and then the same distance again from the sanctuary of Falmouth. In fact, if you do find yourself in this neck of the woods then Padstow is a default port of call, especially as this stretch of coast is not over endowed with refuges, unless you are happy to take the ground.
Indeed, for the mariner the main attraction of Padstow is its perfectly sheltered, stone-piered harbour where you remain afloat rather than dry out, closely followed by many fine restaurants and pubs and the stunning scenery and beaches.
The channel leading to the harbour is marked with several buoys and on its final leg lies along the eastern bank rather than midstream. You only want to be a stone’s throw off St Saviour’s Point when entering the approach channel; stand-off too far or get pushed over by an incoming tide and you may find the edge of another huge sandbank that makes up the bulk of the estuary between Padstow and Rock.
The Camel estuary has a fair number of laid moorings, some of which are designated for visitors but this means drying out and if you want to avoid that then you have to head into the picturesque inner harbour where berthing is a convivial mix of pontoons or lying alongside one of the quays (fender boards for the latter can be borrowed from outside the harbour office).
The stern-to pontoon berths fill up quickly but the quayside moorings are well organised with ladders to aid disembarking – the rise and fall being restricted to just a couple of metres because of the gate closure – and most have access to water and shore power.
Diesel is available on the outer harbour’s south jetty and the obliging harbour staff will collect petrol for you from the filling station.
There are electricity and water outlets at various points around the harbour and full facilities ashore, including showers and laundry at the harbour office and the red brick building at the end of the north quay. There are no yard facilities at Padstow itself but over at Rock there are a couple
of marine engineering companies and at Wadebridge there is a boatyard for larger jobs or if you need a lift out.
Admiralty Charts 1168, 5608, 1156;
West Country Cruising Companion by Mark Fishwick
For the full feature see the November 2013 issue of MBM.