Thursday, January 15, 2015

I Heart Doc Martin

Apparently a lot of other people do, too.  When we were in Cornwall visiting our daughter Zoe we HAD to make a pilgrimage to Port Isaac -- Port Wenn in the series. When I asked our guide, County and Parish Councillor Andy Penny for figures on tourists, he couldn't give me precise information. He did tell me that there were 800 people in the village and, last August, the public toilets in the middle of the town were flushed an average of 1000 times a day. Unknown factors: who used their own toilets --  or toilets in local restaurants or hostelries -- and whether some visitors needed the facilities more than once!  The influx of tourists based on the popularity of the TV show "Doc Martin" was, however, probably responsible for the necessity of creating another parking area outside of the historic district.
This shot, taken from the west side of the harbor looks across to Fern Cottage, the building used for Doc Martin's surgery in the show. It's the smaller of the two gray buildings between the white ones.

Here's a close-up -- thanks to my telephoto lens. We didn't walk to it -- it's on a steep hill and my legs were about to give out by the time we got to the other side of the harbor. Wish I had!

The school house where Louisa (supposedly) teaches is on the cliffs on the west side of the harbor. It served as the village school until 1976. Now it's a hotel and restaurant and is used in exterior school shots in "Doc Martin."
They weren't filming while we were there -- they only film every other year -- so the closest we came to seeing one of the actors was this van!
Now that we're back home, we love the program even more having been to the filming location. And I have great respect for the actors, particularly Martin Clunes, when I see them striding rapidly up and down the hills!

After an initial look around, we climbed the steep street back to the top of town to Fresh from the Sea, an absolutely delightful little family-owned, family-run eatery.

The late September day was overcast, but the weather pleasant enough to sit outside. Tracy Greenhalgh and her mom Enid run the tiny restaurant and fish market while Tracy's husband Calum catches the merchandise! While we were eating, Calum came in with the day's catch and visited with me as he put bands on the lobster claws.

You can see why that's a good idea!

Calum catches lobsters and crabs -- and the Greenhalgh ladies turn them in to attractive and tasty entrees like this crab salad served in its own shell.

Later, overlooking the harbor, Andy pointed out Calum's boat -- it's the small one on the far right.

Andy showed us a number of other sites in the village -- there are lots of interesting little nooks and corners you don't see on TV. He also told us the local boys, his son included, love to hide around corners and stick their hands out during filming. I think they get points if the camera-people don't catch them at it!
Councillor Penny is talking to Zoe and both are standing in front of one of the oldest structures in Port Isaac.
I don't have an exact date for the building but there's a good chance it dates back to the 1700s. One of the places Andy showed us was Squeeze-ee-belly Alley, said to be the narrowest public thoroughfare in England.
The harbor is a working harbor, complete with crab and lobster traps
but is also a prime attraction for tourists and artists.
There are a number of shops and galleries in the town but Port Isaac Pottery on the far side of the harbor was one of our very favorites. The designs were unique and beautifully done.
As is so typical in England, we'd spent hours in Port Isaac under a gray sky. Of course, when we walked to the car park, the clouds lifted. This is the view from the coastal path looking toward Tintagel.Ah, well, I guarantee this won't be our last visit and maybe we'll catch the sun the next time.

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