Taking inspiration from our 2019 calendar they received in the post, Clare and Gareth and their dog, Skye, travelled far and wide across the south and west to recreate Classic's calendar throughout the year. Enjoy their amazing journey and see how they captured each place, month by month.
"The idea for this challenge was hatched the day the Classic Cottages calendar arrived towards the end of 2018. We wondered: if we applied ourselves, we could visit the scene of each month’s photograph during that month (with a couple of bonus trips to experience the locations on the front and back covers). Once there, we would attempt to replicate the photo featured on the calendar, though not with an unrealistically high degree of accuracy. Importantly, we had to view this challenge as inspiration for enjoyable days out rather than a tribulation. And, without exception, we can safely say it achieved its aim: it has given us fond memories of fourteen thoroughly enjoyable trips. We would recommend it to anyone, even though we are not planning on repeating it in 2020 as things stand.
January - Porthcurno
A gorgeously sunny winter day, we blew away the New Year cobwebs by setting off early for the long journey west and arrived at Porthcurno beach to capture the rugged Logan Rock across the bay. Once we had a set of approximate images to use, we embarked on a 4½ mile walk, heading west along the cliffs and returned via the vegetable growing fields that characterise much of West Cornwall. We finished the day by stopping at Mousehole to experience their notorious Christmas light show. Top image Clare and Gareth 2/1/19, bottom Classic Calendar 2019.
February - Erme Estury
Perhaps foolishly, we journeyed to South Devon the day after wintry conditions had cut off our village. We made the decision when the snow had sufficiently melted but failed to account for the ice that remained on the shaded parts of minor roads. No matter; we made it. Timed to coincide exactly with low tide, we parked at Mothecombe on the western side of the estuary, and one of us had the courage to wade across the tidal river via the recommended route in order to be in position on the east side. Forgetting the main camera, shots taken on the phone would have to suffice to vaguely recapture the version on the calendar. Having completed the whole of the South West Coast Path a few years prior to this trip, it could be argued that this small jaunt across the river was our only gap from that endeavour, so at least the calendar challenge gave us a chance to fill in the missing piece. Top image Clare and Gareth 2/2/19, bottom Classic Calendar 2019.
March - Brentor
As Brentor is a short 20-minute drive from home, we marked the lighter evenings by squeezing in this visit after work. The dusky conditions made for an eerier shot of the prominent church than the one in the Classic Cottages calendar. After a short stroll we stopped off for a pub meal on the way home. Top image Clare and Gareth 22/3/19, bottom Classic Calendar 2019.
April - Lantic Bay
It was an unseasonably cold day so the beach was virtually empty. We roughly replicated the image on our way down and allowed Skye to enjoy a prolonged game of ball on the beach, her favourite pastime. Post game we drove to Polruan afterwards, from where we took the ferry over to Fowey for the obligatory mooch. Top image Clare and Gareth 7/4/19, bottom Classic Calendar 2019.
May - Enys Gardens
As this trip didn’t require anything strenuous, we treated the old boys to a day out at Enys Gardens during their bluebell festival. The carpet of wildflowers stole the show, so we photographed them, of course, before locating the blooming wisteria featured in the calendar. The volume of foliage is now much greater but we got our photo, with the old boys sauntering off in the background. Mylor was our destination of choice for lunch and a game on the beach at Par Sands for Skye on the way back rounded off the day perfectly. Top image Clare and Gareth 11/5/19, bottom Classic Calendar 2019.
The Back Cover - Crantock
Our first bonus trip out, to capture the poppies at West Pentire, as featured on the back cover of the 2019 Classic Cottages calendar. Being present when the wild flowers were at their best restricted us to this time of year but at least we had the option of venturing out in the evening after work, which is what we did. We got some great shots of Skye in amongst the poppies and marigolds before moving on to Holywell Bay for a doggy beach excursion and pub meal. Top image Clare and Gareth 20/6/19, bottom Classic Calendar 2019.
June - Combe Martin
The three of us visited this part of the world during our Classic Cottages holiday on Exmoor. The moors, on this day and for most of the week, were under a shroud of mist, but the clouds were high enough on the coast for us to be able to replicate the image of the rugged rocks. Caught the bus to Watermouth Harbour for fine elevenses at the Boat Cafe before walking back to Combe Martin on the coast path via the Sexton’s Burrows headland. Top image Clare and Gareth 24/6/19, bottom Classic Calendar 2019.
July - Alum Bay
Logistically, this was our biggest challenge but day trips to Yarmouth, Isle of Wight, from the Hampshire home of family members was nothing new. In fact we’ve always chosen to travel using public transport in the past and today was no different: two trains from Eastleigh to Lymington and the ferry over to Yarmouth. From there, we took another bus to the Needles Visitor Attraction at Alum Bay. The steps to the beach were closed and Skye was banned from the chair-lift, so one of us made the trip down and took the boat excursion to the Needles, and from that boat I took the picture looking back to the cliffs of coloured sands. The three of us then walked to the Needles Old Battery, Tennyson Point, Freshwater Bay, inland to the Red Lion pub at Freshwater village before the gentle walk back to Yarmouth on the flat riverside path. A truly glorious summer day out. Top image Clare and Gareth 18/7/19, bottom Classic Calendar 2019.
August - Polperro
This gave us the excuse to walk along the newly re-opened coast path between Talland Bay and Polperro as part of a three-mile circular walk. Sundays in August are not an ideal time to negotiate popular narrow paths but one mustn’t grumble. We got our image, despite the British weather being typically British, and foliage having a field day. Top image Clare and Gareth 18/8/19, bottom Classic Calendar 2019.
September - Man O’ War Cove
An opportunity for a long weekend mini-break at Durdle Door; we never thought we would enjoy the bustle of a busy caravan park but we had a cracking time. We embarked on a long eight-mile circular walk, stumbling upon a new favourite pub at Chaldon Herring and taking in the hammer head of Durdle Door and Man O’War Cove at the end of the walk. Given its proximity to our static caravan though, I think the image we used to replicate the calendar photo was taken on a return visit later in the evening when this hugely popular tourist attraction was a little quieter. Top image Clare and Gareth 21/9/19, bottom Classic Calendar 2019.
The Front Cover - Studland
The second bonus trip out, we nipped over to Studland after checking out of our Dorset mini-break to re-create the front cover of the 2019 calendar. It was a difficult one to recapture, struggling to decide where along the 4-mile stretch of beach was the best spot, and failing to secure a clear image of the Needles in the background as was the case in the original. But Skye enjoyed the beach, as ever, and we visited the start (or end) point of the South West Coast Path for the first time since we set off 6½ years before. Top image Clare and Gareth 23/9/19, bottom Classic Calendar 2019.
October - Lydford Gorge
Another handy location that isn’t too far from home, we visited Lydford Gorge on a drizzly autumn afternoon in the knowledge that we were bound to be sheltered by the canopy of trees. We didn’t set off from the car park with a firm plan but ended up walking the entire three-mile circular, since we discovered that the calendar photograph is taken from the Devil’s Cauldron, at the other end of the gorge from our start point. Not we’re complaining; it was a thoroughly satisfying afternoon jaunt. Top image Clare and Gareth 13/10/19, bottom Classic Calendar 2019.
November - Newquay Harbour
Easily the most difficult challenge, in terms of re-taking the original image, which was taken after dark and perfectly captures an ignited firework. Since we had an unwritten stipulation that Skye had to be present on all of our trips, we ruled out attending the organised firework event. So, thinking outside of the box, we took some sparklers and replicated the picture with a lit sparkler in the foreground as a bit of a cheat. Far from perfect, but we had fun on the harbour beach trying to locate the right spot, and once found, we discovered a great pub nearby (the Red Lion) where we had a fine Sunday roast. Top image Clare and Gareth 3/11/19, bottom Classic Calendar 2019.
December - Lyme Regis
A convenient halfway stop-off on our return home from a Hampshire visit, we gave Skye a game on the beach before strolling along The Cobb to find the right spot (and wait for a point in time when the shot didn’t contain other people enjoying the scene). We were struck by how the calendar original looked like it was an image looking out to the end of the breakwater, but in fact it looks back from the close to the far end, its snaking meander fooling the eye. Predictably, we celebrated the completion of the calendar challenge with a pub lunch!" Top image Clare and Gareth 9/12/19, bottom Classic Calendar 2019.
If this has inspired you to take on the 2020 Classic Calendar the map above shows the locations. Let us know how you get on!