I recently spent a fantastic day in North Cornwall with Ride On Retreats for my first time trying Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP).
Although the plan was originally to attend for the full weekend, due to other commitments I could only make the second day…but after the experience I had on that one day I’m desperate to go back to enjoy the full weekend!
I arrived at the beautiful Retallack Resort and Spa on the Sunday morning, bright and early ready to try SUP, but was surprisingly offered a delicious (and filling) breakfast first!
We then made our way to the stunning Padstow Estuary – it was so peaceful and idyllic – I couldn’t wait to get out on the board.
We had a great instructor from Harlyn Surf School, Chris, who guided us through the steps of SUP before we even got onto the boards…which I found very reassuring, as I had been concerned we would be thrown in at the deep end (literally).
Once Chris had explained what to do, we set out to try to just kneel up – no standing at first until we felt comfortable, which again was great because we were all a little nervous about falling in.
We spent the first part of the session kneeling on the boards to build our confidence, and it was surprising how stable it felt! The instructor talked us through how to hold the paddle, and the basics of using the paddle to change direction.
After we had all mastered kneeling up, we went back to the shore so that Chris could explain the best way to go from kneeling to standing – this was the part I was both looking forward to and dreading, but within seconds of being on the water I tried it and – wow – I was up!
We took a little trip along the estuary, and I felt totally comfortable knowing that the instructor was close by in the (unlikely) event that I face-planted the water!
It was incredibly relaxing and quite therapeutic paddling along the water with such stunning views surrounding us. I couldn’t shake the thought that it would make a perfect day out with friends to hire a board and paddle, and go on a little adventure down the river.
It was fantastic and I could have very happily stayed on the board all day, but the session had to end eventually. I will definitely be going back though!
These weekends are offered throughout April, May, June, September and October as these are typically the best weather conditions for SUP – we were extremely lucky as there was no wind and, although it wasn’t a hot day, the sun was shining, and it was beautiful on the estuary.
Stand Up Paddleboarding is definitely a great workout, and it made me build up quite an appetite, as well as zap some of my energy, so I tried some Alibi – which is the UK’s leading health drink – in the hope it would work as a pick-me-up, and I definitely felt refreshed soon after drinking it!
I was surprised it was a fizzy drink, as I wouldn’t normally associate fizz with health, but it’s packed with 19 vitamins, minerals and herbs for optimum nutrition and immune support, so who is to deny that ‘superdrink’ a little fizz?!
I had the pomegranate flavour – which was delicious! There’s also citrus and blueberry flavours available though, so I will definitely be on the lookout for it next time I go shopping.
Anyway, after regaining my energy and feeling refreshed, I couldn’t wait for lunch, but first we went back to Retallack Resort and Spa and spent some time in the sauna and pool – perfect!
After relaxing and enjoying the resort facilities, we had a 10 minute taxi ride to (the sought after) Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Cornwall. I had never eaten there before so couldn’t wait to see if it lived up to the hype….and I wasn’t disappointed.
Although I’m from Cornwall and am used to gorgeous beach views, even I have to say that the view from our table in the restaurant was amazing! We sat facing the beach as we ate our lunch…and the food was just as beautiful as the view.
I was initially concerned as many places say that they cater gluten-free food when they really don’t, but I was immediately put at ease when the waitress explained what was in each meal, and took us through what I can only describe as a guided tour of the menu. It was perfect! I’ve never had such good service in a restaurant – normally you get the look of ‘oh she’s being fussy’, but at Fifteen, they couldn’t have been more helpful if they tried!
For starter, I chose Mozzarella di bufala with a roasted pear and almonds. They say you eat with your eyes, and before I even lifted my fork this tasted amazing!
For main, I had Crispy fillet of salted hake, with potatoes and basil. Yet again, an absolutely delicious dish, which I could happily eat every day.
Finally, for dessert, I had Vanilla panna cotta with plums. I’ve never had panna cotta before, and so wasn’t sure what to expect, but I’m pretty certain that no panna cotta will ever live up to that one! I savoured every bite.
It’s easy to see why Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Cornwall has such a fantastic reputation – a stunning location, delicious food and thoroughly attentive staff. Perfect!
The whole day was brilliant! I will definitely be going back so that I can enjoy the full weekend next time, and take part in the first day activities which included a session on the Flow Rider at Retallack Resort and Spa and some invigorating yoga…and another delicious 3 course meal at the resort.