January 2018’s Ambassador of the Month: Kirstie Newton

We’re overjoyed to welcome Kirstie Newton, Editor of Cornwall Today, as our January Ambassador of the Month. Kirstie has been discovering and sharing Cornwall’s best kept secrets and stories for over a decade so we couldn’t wait to hear all of her favourite venues, experiences and insider knowledge…

1.Name / name of business / whereabouts in Cornwall are you based?

Kirstie Newton – I’m editor of Cornwall Today magazine, which is part of the Trinity Mirror group of titles and a sister publication to the West Briton, Cornish Guardian, The Cornishman and www.cornwalllive.com. We’re based in Truro, on Malpas Road, in a building overlooking the Truro river. It’s a beautiful location – only recently, we spotted a kingfisher from the office window.

2. What have you done to promote Cornwall’s heritage and culture?

Every month, my job is to gather as much information as possible about all the wonderful things that are happening in Cornwall, from touring theatre productions to a new set of church bells, houses with captivating histories to the most stunning landscapes. There’s never any shortage of stories to tell – or fascinating people to tell them.

3. What has been your most useful Cornwall 365 experience or tool?

I loved Find & Seek, the guide book launched in 2017 with a focus on the hospitality sector. The design was just superb, and I particularly liked the tracing paper overlay that accompanied each Cornish region, so visitors could write their contributions on top of the maps. What also amazed me was that the book signposted places I didn’t know – no matter how long I spend in Cornwall, delving into its darkest recesses, there are still secrets to be uncovered.

4. Best experience you’ve experienced (in Cornwall)

You can’t beat a north coast sunset, especially the gorgeous pink and orange ones you get after a really clear day – they make me feel so lucky to live in Cornwall. I especially love these in spring or autumn, when it’s not so busy and you don’t have to stay up so late! My favourite beach for this is Porthtowan.

Kirstie enjoying a sunset at Porthtowan

5. The family taken care of. The business is taken care of. What is your perfect day & evening in Cornwall?

Is the housework taken care of, too? Oh good! The last time I took a whole day off to do something just for me, I went down to Marazion to sing Cornish Christmas carols with Kana Kernow and Hilary Coleman. The following weekend, I joined Hilary again in the evening to sing the Redruth Wassail in various hostelries around that town. Put those together on the same day, and that would be a lot of fun.

6. You have free tickets to the performance of your choice. Who would you take with you (living or dead)?

My other half, Wailim. We’ve been together for 20 years – where did the time go? – and he’s the reason I’m in Cornwall. He grew up in Truro, and we’re now raising our daughter here – she’s seven and very proud of her Cornish roots. As for the performance, I’d be hoping for a decent foreign film at The Poly in Falmouth, or maybe a good pogo to Steeleye Span at the Hall For Cornwall.

7. Most unusual performance space you have been to?

I absolutely love the open-air promenade performances that are so popular among Cornish theatre companies – Wildworks’ Souterrain, at Dolcoath Mine near Camborne, was pretty spectacular. I also adored Scary Little Girls’ town walks, which involved following a route through Truro/St Austell and being accosted by performers along the way – it took me a while to trust innocent passers-by after that! It’s a great way to get to know your surroundings while having fun – the new Kneehigh app, Walk With Me, is very similar. I’ve also been to see Miracle Theatre perform a couple of times at Indian Queens Pit, which was an unexpected historic gem – like a miniature version of the famous Methodist pit at Gwennap.

8. Best live music venue in Cornwall

The Eden Sessions are pretty amazing. I’ve been to see many things there, although the Pet Shop Boys (my teenage favourites) and Live8 stick out in my mind. I’m holding out hope that Radiohead will play there – and that I’ll be lucky enough to get tickets. At the other end of the scale, Truro Cathedral has a fabulous acoustic.

9. Your favourite walk?

I’m very fond of the north coast – who isn’t? Chapel Porth is a great starting point, with Porthtowan in one direction and Wheal Coates/St Agnes in the other. There are also some lovely gentle walks near Truro – to Idless, for example, or from St Clements to Tresilian along the river.

10. Best place in Cornwall to get food?

Bedruthan Sunday Lunch

The Bedruthan at Mawgan Porth does the most amazing Sunday lunches. If there are four of you, everything comes on one humongous platter and you take what you want. It’s eye-popping and gut-busting. I must book one soon, preferably to coincide with one of their vintage fairs.

11. Name one, really different excursion

I haven’t been to the waterfall at St Nectan’s Glen, between Tintagel and Boscastle, for a while. It’s somewhere I’d like to take my mum, as it’s so unbelievably scenic and other-worldly. However, it needs some stamina as there are so many steps.

12. What’s your 2nd best kept secret about Cornwall?

The Rame Peninsula. By force of geography, you don’t happen upon it by accident – you have to be going there to get there, if you know what I mean. I lived in Plymouth for 15 years, and it was a hop, skip and a jump over to Cremyll and Mount Edgcumbe on the pedestrian ferry. I haven’t been there for ages, and I miss it.

13. If not Cornwall, where?

As a teenager, I fell in love with France – the language, the cuisine, the culture, la chanson. I even studied French (and Spanish) at university, although I’m a little rusty now. As a family, we’ve visited Brittany many times – it’s like Cornwall, only French, so the perfect combination! Failing that, I hail from near Grimsby, and a part of my heart will always remain there.

14. Anything you’d like to add?

Look out for the January edition of Cornwall Today, on sale now; and the February edition, due out on January 22. www.cornwalllive.com

Creative Kernow, based at Krowji, is the umbrella organisation for the following nine projects. Together we support the production, promotion and distribution of work by creative practitioners in Cornwall because we believe in creativity's transformative power and want more people to benefit from it.
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