Time to go and investigate properly the retail fish shop that we had found yesterday. Rather than face the long dragging walk back up the steep hill from Looe, we elected to drive and save our poor legs for the stretch of coastal path between Looe and Polperro.
The fish shop lived up to expectations in that it had what appeared to be spankingly fresh local fish mixed, of course, with the obligatory farmed salmon and increasingly rare long-distance imports such as cod and haddock of indeterminate age (no eyes, no gills – how can you tell?). The star turns here were glistening, bright-eyed lemon sole and John Dory. The down side was that the lemon sole seemed incredibly expensive: £17.98 per kilo. OK, they were as fresh as they come and considerably larger specimens (with proportionately less waste) than can be bought in supermarkets away from the coast but these had travelled just a few yards, in all probability. Why the doubling in price? The cost of being a gastronaut, I suppose. Lemon sole it was. Oh, and a few local Cornish new potatoes should round off the feast nicely.
We returned with our purchases and drove out to a National Trust area just west of Looe to park and walk the 3½ miles or so along the coastal path to Polperro. We’d never seen Polperro before but it has an enviable reputation as one of Cornwall’s most picturesque villages. The misty morning seemed to be clearing nicely as we made our way up, down and along the path. Unfortunately, nobody had informed Polperro that the weather was clearing and, as we approached, it seemed to become stubbornly shrouded in a coastal mist, complete with attendant dull, featureless sky. It was clearly an attractive place, nonetheless, but could have been so much more appealing in better conditions.
The mist continued to close in as we retraced our steps back to our start point and, after the final killing slog up hill back to the car, we were quite relieved to complete the 7 mile round trip.
The lemon sole and Cornish potatoes were an excellent well deserved reward.