Grockles, Fish & Chips and the Corona Virus

Updated: Mar 6, 2020

Grockle’s (a west country term for holiday makers, for those that don’t know) are pretty much the lifeblood of the Exmoor Coast, bringing much needed and appreciated revenue to the area. Many of us older locals have been guilty over the years of maligning them but in reality in an area with very little ‘industry’ they are essential. And who of us aren’t just a little bit proud to show off this beautiful area to those who live in a more urban or inner city environment.

On one of the drier days this month, when was that I hear you cry, the good lady and I decided to be Grockles for an afternoon - heading down the coast to Lynton & Lynmouth the roads where noticeably quiet. After pulling in to the carpark at the Western end of Lynmouth we headed in to the the main street ambling from shop to shop browsing what was on offer - all the while aware that even though it was still pre-season per se the lack of ‘bums on seats’ was very noticeable.

Lunch time beckoned so we opted for the usual holiday maker staple of fish and chips from Lynmouth's Traditional Fish and Chips shop on the Harbour. A warm welcome was extend by the proprietor and we ordered two portions of cod and chips. The food was cooked fresh from scratch and delivered to our table steaming hot and very tasty it proved to be.

Cod and Chips from Lynmouth's Traditional Fish and Chips shop on the Harbour.

Suitably fortified we headed to the attraction that any visit to the town would be incomplete without - The Lynton and Lynmouth Cliff Railway. This wonderfully preserved Funicular connects the twin towns of Lynton and Lynmouth and boasts to be and is the highest and the steepest totally water powered railway in the world! and only one of three still in existence. We paid the very reasonable fee of £4 a head for a return journey at the booking office and proceeded to board the train. The journey to the top only takes a few minutes and affords some breath taking views of Lynmouth, the bay and Foreland point in the distance.

The Lynton and Lymouth Cliff Railway.

View from the top station.

Once at the ‘top station’ a short walk saw us in Lynton high street, where there is a good selection of quality eateries, art galleries and shops. One particular shop owner we spoke to voiced they’re worries about the advent of the corona virus (which seems to holding the top spot on every news channel) and how it may affect the livelihoods of local businesses as visitors may simply just stay at home, it was likened to the devastating effects that the foot and mouth crisis had on the towns fortunes a few years ago when the government advised holiday makers to avoid visiting rural areas - as the shop owner was also part of the farming community the effect was two fold.

Charlie Fridays Cream tea.

Charlie Fridays coffee shop.

Our next port of call was Charlie Fridays coffee shop, this award winning cafe is must go to venue when you are in the town. The coffee and food are of an excellent standard with a service to match. We opted for one of they’re fabulous cream teas (minus the tea as we are coffee drinkers) which consisted of a very large homemade scone with a very generous portion of clotted cream and strawberry jam. They also offer breakfasts and lunches which are always delicious. Omnivores, vegans, vegetarians and those who have gluten intolerance are very well catered for with many homemade dishes on the menu.

On leaving the cafe the rain brought an abrupt end to our afternoon out so we made our return train journey back down to Lynton - we left with a certain trepidation as to what the coming season would hold in store for the towns fortunes but hoping that trade and circumstance would be kind to them.

In summary we had a great time, ate some great food and would highly recommend anyone to pay a visit.

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