Cotehele is a medieval/tudor house dating from around 1300. Built by the Edgecumbe family, the house is one of the least altered tudor dwellings in the UK and is decorated with tapestries, suits of armour and oak furniture. There are extensive gardens, old medieval dovecotes and a stewpond.
Now visitors come for cream teas; to admire the river views and see ‘Shamrock’ but today it is empty. Its early morning and too early for tourists. Arwen and I tie up at high tide having motored down from Calstock. Birdsong fills the air. ‘Shamrock’ is clean, newly painted and restored. She must have been some sight to see sailing up the river.
The occasional splash of a jumping trout breaks the still silence of the morning air. Another unsuspecting water skimming nymph has just met its maker. The grass is dewy underfoot and every time I board Arwen, a large muddy sandal print is left on her white decks and thwarts. Oops!
Its peaceful and serene. The old Cornish stone warehouses stand silent; the limekilns disused. But once, a long time ago, the cobbled stone quay would have been bustling; filled with casks and crates; sacks and metal work; piles of stone ore. Cargo would have been loaded and unloaded using the old crane derrick.
Later old paddle steamers came here to see the famous blossoming orchards and small boats departed carrying farm produce back down river to Devonport market. The Tamar must have been a magical place where boatmen yelled greetings and rural folk met weekly to gossip and bemoan the changing produce prices.
Now swans glide by effortlessly, regal, with barely a wake behind. They remain scrupulously white unlike Arwen which seems to have developed a rather dirty tide mark along her hull. Now that will take some scrubbing off I suspect!