Port Isaac, Cornwall

Nicola and I outside one of the Doc Martin locations

Nicola and I outside one of the Doc Martin locations

Port Isaac on the Atlantic coast of north Cornwall is an impossibly picturesque fishing village which serves as location for the popular TV series “Doc Martin”.

Lee

Lee

Lee and Nicola

Lee and Nicola

Outlaw's Fish Kitchen

Outlaw’s Fish Kitchen

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Port Isaac

Port Isaac

Doc Martin is either a Godsend or a curse, depending on who you talk to. Many locals are tired of the cameras and the gawking daytrippers who congest the narrow, higgledy-piggledy lanes, though come October the place is deserted thanks to mass evacuation by the emmets (that’s local speak for tourists) and posh second-homers.

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Every Thursday evening from May to September the St. Breward Brass Band play on The Platt followed by a floral dance through the village.

Every Thursday evening from May to September the St. Breward Brass Band play on The Platt followed by a floral dance through the village.

Cheers!

Cheers!

Doc Martin's "house", Port Isaac

Doc Martin’s “house”, Port Isaac

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There’s great walking on the surrounding cliffs and surfing on nearby beaches. For dinner head to Nathan Outlawn’s Fish Kitchen, perfectly located opposite the harbour in an enchanting fisherman’s cottage. Lee, Nicola and I enjoyed a fantastic variety of tasting plates there, while causing mayhem. A great time was had by all!

Port Isaac's seawall

Port Isaac’s seawall

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Steam train at Bodmin Station, some 40 minute's drive frpm Port Isaac.

Steam train at Bodmin Station, some 40 minute’s drive frpm Port Isaac.

Walking the gorgeous Zachary. Still going strong at 15. Zach that is ;)

Walking the gorgeous Zachary. Still going strong at 15. Zach that is ;)

Exe Estuary Trail

P1150948Gentle summer walks don’t come more scenic than the Exe Estuary Trail, from Exeter to Cockwood, with the option of several places to stop for a drink along the way.

From home it’s a 20 minute walk to the beginning of the historic Exeter Ship canal (1560s) where the trail begins, hugging the glittering waterside throughout its length. I enjoy a reviving cup of tea at the quirky, quaint Topsham Lock Cottage, which opens as a café between 28 June and 25 August, Mondays and Tuesdays excepted.

At Turf Locks the canal joins the wild, sprawling estuary and The Turf, one of the few pubs in the country not accessible by road, sits imposingly on the water’s edge, busy with summer trade. From here you can take a ferry across to the maritime village of Topsham.

At Cockwood (pronounced Cock’ood) by the locals!) I dive into the picturesque Anchor Inn on the harbour front and sink a well deserved pint of Otter ale after my ten mile walk. The Anchor Inn is over 450 years old and was originally opened as a Seamen’s Mission. It was a haven for smugglers and is said to be haunted by a friendly ghost and his dog. The interior is certainly dark and a little gloomy.

From Starcross I take the hourly ferry across to Exmouth and wander to the opening of the Exe Estuary, where conditions are perfect for kite and wind surfing, before hopping on a train back to Exeter.

Buoy 3430, a Class II gas buoy, built in 1922, situated on  a narrow spit of land between the River Exe and Exeter Ship Canal at the entrance to Exeter's Riverside Valley Park.

Buoy 3430, a Class II gas buoy, built in 1922, situated on a narrow spit of land between the River Exe and Exeter Ship Canal at the entrance to Exeter’s Riverside Valley Park.

Double Locks Pub, Exeter

Double Locks Pub, Exeter

Exe Estuary Trail, with Topsham Lock Cottage in the background

Exe Estuary Trail, with Topsham Lock Cottage in the background

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Topsham Lock Cottage

Topsham Lock Cottage

Ahhhh! Nice cuppa tea at Topsham Lock Cottage Café

Ahhhh! Nice cuppa tea at Topsham Lock Cottage Café

Hissing swans!

Hissing swans!

Turf Hotel

Turf Hotel

The remains of Brunel's Atmospheric Railway pumping house at Starcross

The remains of Brunel’s Atmospheric Railway pumping house at Starcross

Cockwood Harbour

Cockwood Harbour

The Anchor Inn at Cockwood

The Anchor Inn at Cockwood

Ferry jetty, Starcross

Ferry jetty, Starcross

Starcross to Exmouth Ferry

Starcross to Exmouth Ferry

Sea wall at Exmouth

Sea wall at Exmouth

Kite and wind surfing, Exmouth

Kite and wind surfing, Exmouth

Dawlish Warren National Nature Reserve

P1150798Avoid the tacky resort of Dawlish Warren, and head for the Local Nature Reserve, a spectacular and peaceful area of dunes, grasslands and mudflats.

Thousands of birds come to feed or to spend the winter here and over 600 types of flowering plants have been identified. The surrounding area is plagued by camping and caravan sites but very few people seem to venture on to the dunes and beaches away from the resort; I spied just a few nature lovers (and a nudist sunbather).

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P1150791Reserve

Welcome back Dawlish!

Langstone Rock, Devon.

Langstone Rock, Devon.

The sea wall of the coast-hugging railway line at Dawlish was breached during February of this year following ferocious storms, leaving tracks dangling in mid-air. A 300-strong Network Rail team rebuilt the track at a cost of £35 million and only a section of the sea wall still remains closed due to construction works.

I walk along the sea wall from Dawlish to Dawlish Warren, adjacent to the historic Great Western railway line, venturing on to the beach to admire Langstone Rock, a headland of Permian red sandstone. At the end of Langstone Rock is a large, granite breakwater or groyne where seagulls and cormorants perch.

A charming corner of Dawlish

A charming corner of Dawlish

Looking across to rail tunnels linking Dawlish to Teignmouth

Looking across to rail tunnels linking Dawlish to Teignmouth

Section of sea wall still closed to the public after the February storms

Section of sea wall still closed to the public after the February storms

Imposing Victorian railway architecture

Imposing Victorian railway architecture

Red sandstone cliffs of Dawlish adjacent to the railway line

Red sandstone cliffs of Dawlish adjacent to the railway line

Great Western railway line at Dawlish

Great Western railway line at Dawlish

Langstone Rock, Dawlish

Langstone Rock, Dawlish

Breakwater at Langstone Rock

Breakwater at Langstone Rock

Langstone rock from the breakwater

Langstone rock from the breakwater

Mythical Dartmoor

Dartmeet,  a popular tourist spot in the centre of Dartmoor, Devon.

Dartmeet, a popular tourist spot in the centre of Dartmoor, Devon.

Dartmoor is a vast expanse of moorland in South Devon known for its myths and legends. Watch out for pixies, a headless horseman and a mysterious pack of “spectral hounds”, among other fabled creatures.

You are far more likely though to see sheep, cattle and the famous semi-feral Dartmoor ponies, which graze all year round in this beautiful wilderness. My brother Martyn and I drive to the isolated and remote Warren House Inn for lunch, possibly Dartmoor’s best known pub. Originally built to serve the busy, but now defunct, local tin mining community, the Inn now survives on passing trade and tourism. The fire in the hearth, they say, has been burning continuously since 1845, and is part of the folklore of this unpretentious, no-frills hostelry.

Highland cattle, Dartmoor

Highland cattle, Dartmoor

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The name Warren relates to the surrounding rabbit warrens which were extensive in the area, so I feel obliged to order their Warrener’s pie, a good, old-fashioned way to enjoy rabbit. The meat’s leaness can be its downfall, but this was moist and tasty, with good pastry. Why don’t we eat more rabbit I wonder? I suppose for the same reason folk are averse to eating cuy (guinea pigs) – the cute factor.

The Warren House Inn, Dartmoor

The Warren House Inn, Dartmoor

A distant view of the Warren House Inn giving an idea of its isolation

A distant view of the Warren House Inn giving an idea of its isolation

Martyn enjoys a pint of local ale in front of the fire that has been burning since 1845

Martyn enjoys a pint of local ale in front of the fire that has been burning since 1845

My rabbit pie and pint of local Otter ale.

My rabbit pie and pint of local Otter ale.

The Clapper Bridge at Postbridge, dating from the 13th Century.

The Clapper Bridge at Postbridge, dating from the 13th Century.

Iconic, semi-feral Dartmoor ponies in the rain

Iconic, semi-feral Dartmoor ponies in the rain

Ponies investigating the car for treats!

Ponies investigating the car for treats!

Dartmeet, Dartmoor

Dartmeet, Dartmoor

Brixham – The English Riviera

A pesky seagull, Brixham!

A pesky seagull, Brixham!

Beware of the pesky seagulls in Brixham. They will dive bomb your fish and chips, and poop on you. I speak from experience.

Brixham is a thriving fishing town on the English Riviera, and the Crown and Anchor pub has been there since 1623 serving the local community and tourists. That’s over 390 years. The pub claims William of Orange (later William III of England) enjoyed a drink there when he invaded in 1688.

I wash down their justly famous fresh Devon crab sandwiches with a pint of Topsail bitter from a local brewery before exploring the pretty quay and sloping cobbled streets. And keep an eye out for marauding seagulls.

The Crown and Anchor, Brixham

The Crown and Anchor, Brixham

Flossie, the Crown and Anchor's cheery barmaid.

Flossie, the Crown and Anchor’s cheery barmaid.

Cheers! Enjoying a pint of Topsail bitter at the Crow and  Anchor, Brixham

Cheers! Enjoying a pint of Topsail bitter at the Crow and Anchor, Brixham

A replica of Sir Francis Drake's Golden Hind

A replica of Sir Francis Drake’s Golden Hind

Keep calm and sail on!

Keep calm and sail on!

Brixham quay

Brixham quay

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Searching for a missing diver

Searching for a missing diver

A great lawyer in Quito!

Angelo Lettere

Angelo Lettere

There are a number of ways to become an Ecuadorian resident and the process is fairly straightforward, though the Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores y Movilidad Humana Ecuadorian (Ministry of Foreign Relations) has a nasty habit of changing the goalposts every so often!

To navigate the visa process I hired a wonderful immigration lawyer, Angelo Lettere, whom I now consider a friend. Angelo’s office is very conveniently located just opposite the “Dirección General de Extranjería” on Avenida 6 de Diciembre, where immigrant visas are issued. He’s fluent in German (his native language), English and Spanish, and has Italian and Russsian knowledge too. As an Ecuadorian resident of many years he has a profound understanding of the country and its quirks!

Angelo is not only efficient and conscientious (he replies to emails with alacrity) but has a great sense of humour too. He really takes the stress and hard work out of the business of acquiring a residency visa, which was a huge relief for me. I can’t recommend him highly enough!

Here’s some blurb about his company:

SELEGTRAL is based in Quito, capital of the Republic of Ecuador (South America). We provide integral and thorough solutions for our national and international clients in the areas of migration law (visas), corporate law (company set-ups), Intellectual Property, real estate purchase and other fields. Member of the Quito Bar Association.

Contact details:

Selegtral
Av. 6 de Diciembre N26-32, Edif. Becerra, Piso 4, Of. 402
y San Ignacio
Quito
Ecuador

Phone+593-9-98767052

alettere@hotmail.com

Angelo’s website