I woke as the sun was rising along the horizon line of the ocean.
I grabbed an extra blanket to wrap around my shoulders, put my wellies on over my pyjamas, unlatched the front door of the 19th century stone cottage and made my way down the steep coastal path to the private beach cove.
I sat, closed my eyes and meditated for only 5 or 10 minutes.
I opened my eyes to the dance of the rising sun along the surface of the ocean and exclaimed out loud to myself ‘wow’.
I had arrived the night before after been greeted in a National Trust car park on the South Coast of Cornwall near Lansallos by the friend who had organised the trip.
She had stayed at The Watch House for the weekend with her husband and three small children. But with the kids having to go back to school on the Monday, I was lucky enough to join them for the remaining night of their three night booking.
We headed to the small stone coastguards ‘Watch House’ by foot, the only way to reach it.
First, down a long tree-lined track, across a field and then along the coastpath for fifteen minutes.
Catching my first glimpse of The Watch House felt like entering into a magical scene from the pages of a storybook. The closer we got the more I felt like rushing up to it to give it a big hug, as perhaps a 7-year-old might do upon seeing a puppy!
“The Watch House was built in 1835 after the 'Lantic Hill Affair', in which two Polruan coastguards apprehended a party of smugglers who were landing 484 gallons of brandy. After the incident coastguards were then permanently stationed in the building to cast a watchful eye over the bay”. - From the National Trust website.
The Watch House is well and truly off the grid and is the only building for an eight mile stretch, perched right on the edge of the stunning Cornish coastline.
The small stone building comprises of a living space with the original built-in bunkbeds that the coastguards would have slept in. The room heated simply by a log burner. There is a small kitchen with a gas cooker and a flush loo in an outbuilding. And the best bit – no phone signal for miles.
On my arrival, we decided to go for a walk down to Lantic Bay and were mesmerised by the stillness of crystal clear ocean water. Despite the January chill, the water was too inviting to resist. So upon making it back to the Watch House we donned our swimsuits and wetsuits and braved the 9°C January sea.
And it was exhilarating.
I had been told about the outdoor hot shower before I had arrived but didn’t quite appreciate the magnitude of it until after my freezing swim!
Stood with hot water cascading over my body with views of nothing but the vast, vast ocean felt like unprecedented bliss.
That feeling and that view I will never, ever forget.
Back in the warm, we cooked dinner, played board games and chatted by candlelight.
After my morning meditation the next day. I returned to the Watch House to be greeted with freshly made coffee.
We all sat with warm drinks under blankets, watching a theatrical display of changing light as the sun rose and time just seemed to pass by. Until the call of another chilly sea dip with the reward of a blissfully warm shower got the better of each of us.
I don’t know whether it was not having phone reception so there were no distractions, being off the grid, the bare simplicity of the humble little dwelling or the rugged breath-taking beauty of the Cornish coastline, but my stay felt transformative.
I was reminded to move slow, to breathe deep, to be grateful for the simple things, to see magic in the ordinary.
And somehow just being there made me feel part of the larger tapestry of nature and life.
I spent just 24 hours at this magical place but my time there touched me deeply, the kind of feeling where I know a part of me will always remain, sat staring out to sea as the coastguards did all those years ago.
24 Hour Getaway in the Secluded Watch House in Cornwall, England via @horizoninspired #travel
Does this quick getaway sound like pure bliss? It is.
For more information on The Watch House visit Hideaway Huts.
Image source: Richard Tamblyn & Hideaway Huts