I brooded my way around Poldark’s Cornwall

How I learned to stop worrying and love flouncing around on clifftops like Aidan Turner

117394

Who wouldn’t want to be Poldark? That’s the question I asked myself as my train raced towards Cornwall, where I was due to spend a weekend of activities themed around the hit BBC series. Ever since Aidan Turner’s soldier-turned miner made his first appearance in 2015 it seemed he could do no wrong, with hordes of fans swooning over his every brooding glare – and now I planned to follow in his footsteps. 

Advertisement

If I could only do what he’d done and perfect a moody stare in front of picturesque Cornish scenery, then some sort of success was sure to follow, I was sure of it. I hadn’t quite worked out the specifics of how that would apply to my chosen field of entertainment journalism as opposed to tin mining, sure, but such minor trifles could be worked out later. I was on a path to glory.

“Are you looking forward to the trip?” I asked my girlfriend – let’s call her Dora – as we lounged around the carriage.

“Apparently Aidan gets his top off again in the new series,” she replied happily.

No matter – I had an intense brooding stare to work on. And only two days to perfect it…


The warm-up

As light broke the next morning, I rose early to get the best head start on my day of furrowed brow-ing. I was staying in the same resort that the cast of Poldark did while shooting the second series, and was pretty sure I had the very lodge that Aidan Turner had stayed in. What better way to follow in the path of the master?

Dragging my fellow traveller away from her exploration of cupboards that might once have been Poldark’s, we headed towards the beach so I could do a bit of a warm-up. Here was my first attempt:

117360

Brood rating – 2/5 

A solid first attempt, with good wind work – but an indistinct expression holds this one back. 

“How was that?” I asked my girlfriend.

“Do you think Aidan Turner ate in that chip shop?” she replied. “I might go and check.”

I had a lot of work to do – but I knew I was getting somewhere.


In the footsteps of greatness

Meeting up with a representative of a Poldark tours company called (appropriately enough) Poldark tours, we were soon bundled into a people carrier to head to our first prime location of the day. Situated about 10-15 miles away from our resort, Renberth boasted a small cove that had been used in the then-unbroadcast Poldark series two, and was the perfect low-key starting point for my quest to properly begin.

Eager to get started, I handed my camera over – but then disaster struck.

117363

Brood rating – 1/5

Good positioning, but closed eyes completely derail this attempt.

Unable to cope with the brightness of the sun (I’m from Wales originally), I completely failed to stick the landing and had my eyes closed when the picture was taken. Any fool knows you can’t brood with your eyes shut, so this was a total mess.


Naked ambition

After my embarrassing failure at Renberth, I was totally unprepared to take on our next scheduled stop of Porthgwanna, where Ross Poldark famously stripped off for an enticing swim back in series one.

And so I bottled it. How could I get an appropriate brood going in such an iconic location? I couldn’t even muster up a longing, introspective look on some cove that nobody had even seen yet – it was like failing in the egg-and spoon race and then heading to the Olympics.

I could tell by the way Dora loudly wondered where exactly around us Aidan Turner had been naked that she was disappointed in me. Frankly, I was disappointed in me too – and even the scenic surroundings I found myself in couldn’t raise me from my stupor. 

117364

It was very pretty, though


Mine all mine

But as we began the long, winding drive along the Cornish coast to our next stop it hit me – I could tap into that sadness and disappointment to make my next meaningful stare really work. And so as we made the trek from the parking area to Wheal Crowns, a cliffside mine between the town of St Just in Penwith and the village of Pendeen which stands in for Francis Poldark’s Wheal Grambler in the series, I made sure to delve deep into my emotional turmoil. And it had pretty great results. 

117365

Brood rating – 3/5

A strong, emotive showing in a picturesque location.


A little help from my friends

And with one triumph came another, the success of my first emotive glower giving me the confidence to realise what had been missing from my tableaus thus far – a credible Demelza to worry over my tortured, Byronic soul.

Luckily I had a redhead to hand, so persuading Dora to stop asking people to describe how Aidan Turner’s hair had looked in the breeze (pretty good, apparently), I staged my most successful picture yet – even if my hair said “14th-century pageboy” more than “18th century gentleman”.

117366

Brood rating – 4/5

A romance for the ages told in an image – almost worthy of an Eastern European Poldark rip-off series.

Yes, it was a pretty good effort – but now my tour of Poldark locations was more or less over, and I still hadn’t found the perfect brood.

117367

As I sat down to dinner that night, I mulled over my many complicated problems with a glass of wine in a cool way that was totally like how Ross Poldark would do it. Could I possibly turn things around before the end of the trip?


Not really

The next day, I tried to connect again with my inner Poldark by getting down to some hard graft and working in the mud. Well, technically it was an organic body treatment in the spa followed by a quick swim, but I imagine that’s more or less as difficult as tin mining is.

I was also starting to worry about the pedigree of the lodge I was staying in. A blue plaque Dora had taken 47 photos with the night before said that a different building had been the resting place of Aidan Turner, and while I comforted myself with the idea that he could have stayed in more than one lodge my faith was a little shaken. 

That inner turmoil, plus the fact that knew I was under limited time pressure to try and perfect my Poldark look, are the only excuses I can give for this odd, legs akimbo effort on the cliffs overlooking Portreath beach. I rushed it, and I can only apologise.

117370

Brood rating – 2/5

This just looks a bit awkward somehow.


Success! 

But I wasn’t going to give up that easy. I still had a chance to find the right spot, strike the right pose, pull my face into the perfect position and brood like crazy, finally succeeding at the quest I’d given myself to and becoming a better journalist. Or something.

And so, drawing on everything I’d learned over that weekend I struck a Poldark pose, and over a series of shots everything just clicked. The seagulls flocked around me, I could feel a secret sorrow in some way related to war or the struggles of the poor or something and I could almost hear the high-pitched string music of the title sequences. Perfection.

117371
117372
117373
117374

Brood rating: 4.8/5

Throw on a tricorn and some tin-hunting equipment and these poses would rival the main man himself.


Endings

“I did it!” I called to Dora as I ran back towards the lodge. “I’m just like Aidan Turner!”

And then I stopped dead – because there WAS a blue plaque on the back of our lodge that I’d somehow missed until now. And it told me the truth I’d been fearing all along.

117376

Instead of living in Ross Poldark’s house, I was living in the house of Heida Reed’s Elizabeth Poldark, the lost love of Ross’ younger days who ended up marrying his vaguely disappointing cousin Francis (Kyle Soller) instead and pining for her original sweetheart throughout most of the series. 

Yes, over a weekend of introspection and exploration I had achieved my goal of becoming a Poldark, but somehow I was the wrong one. I was a man in the house of Elizabeth Poldark, who longed that he could be Ross Poldark and lived with a woman who just wished she was with Aidan Turner instead.

I was FRANCIS Poldark. And I didn’t even have his awesome taste in hats to soften the blow.

117379

“It’s a shame we didn’t get to stay in the same lodge as Aidan,” Dora sighed later as she packed her things away, ready for the long train journey home.

“I guess some things aren’t meant to be.”

I agreed, at least with the second part. No matter how much I’d trained and prepared, I now knew I didn’t have it in me to be Ross Poldark. I could flounce around on a clifftop to express my feelings, sure, but that was only half the battle. I didn’t have that special quality that made him…well, him, and I never would.

But maybe that’s OK. In a world of rugged literary heroes, I think there needs to be space for their ineffectual cousins and jealous hangers-on. If everyone was charismatically barging their way around winning the day, who would be there to look on enviously, or say silly things that make the protagonists look good? No-one, that’s who.

And hey – if nothing else, the trip had given me plenty to brood over. Result.

Poldark continues on BBC1 tonight (Sunday 11th September) at 9.00pm

Who wouldn’t want to be Poldark? That’s the question I asked myself as my train raced towards Cornwall, where I was due to spend a weekend of activities themed around the hit BBC series. Ever since Aidan Turner’s soldier-turned miner made his first appearance in 2015 it seemed he could do no wrong, with hordes of fans swooning over his every brooding glare – and now I planned to follow in his footsteps. 

If I could only do what he’d done and perfect a moody stare in front of picturesque Cornish scenery, then some sort of success was sure to follow, I was sure of it. I hadn’t quite worked out the specifics of how that would apply to my chosen field of entertainment journalism as opposed to tin mining, sure, but such minor trifles could be worked out later. I was on a path to glory.

117396

The classic Poldark brood in action

“Are you looking forward to the trip?” I asked my girlfriend – let’s call her Dora – as we lounged around the carriage.

“Apparently Aidan gets his top off again in the new series,” she replied happily.

No matter – I had an intense brooding stare to work on. And only two days to perfect it…


The warm-up

As light broke the next morning, I rose early to get the best head start on my day of furrowed brow-ing. I was staying in the same resort that the cast of Poldark did while shooting the second series, and was pretty sure I had the very lodge that Aidan Turner had stayed in. What better way to follow in the path of the master?

Dragging my fellow traveller away from her exploration of cupboards that might once have been Poldark’s, we headed towards the beach so I could do a bit of a warm-up. Here was my first attempt:

117360

Brood rating – 2/5 

A solid first attempt, with good wind work – but an indistinct expression holds this one back. 

“How was that?” I asked my girlfriend.

“Do you think Aidan Turner ate in that chip shop?” she replied. “I might go and check.”

I had a lot of work to do – but I knew I was getting somewhere.


In the footsteps of greatness

Meeting up with a representative of a Poldark tours company called (appropriately enough) Poldark Tours, we were soon bundled into a people carrier to head to our first prime location of the day. Situated about 10-15 miles away from our resort, Renberth boasted a small cove that had been used in the then-unbroadcast Poldark series two, and was the perfect low-key starting point for my quest to properly begin.

Eager to get started, I handed my camera over – but then disaster struck.

117363

Brood rating – 1/5

Good positioning, but closed eyes completely derail this attempt.

Unable to cope with the brightness of the sun (I’m from Wales originally), I completely failed to stick the landing and had my eyes closed when the picture was taken. Any fool knows you can’t brood with your eyes shut, so this was a total mess.


Naked ambition

After my embarrassing failure at Renberth, I was totally unprepared to take on our next scheduled stop of Porthgwanna, where Ross Poldark famously stripped off for an enticing swim back in series one.

And so I bottled it. How could I get an appropriate brood going in such an iconic location? I couldn’t even muster up a longing, introspective look on some cove that nobody had even seen yet – it was like failing in the egg-and spoon race and then heading to the Olympics.

I could tell by the way Dora loudly wondered where exactly around us Aidan Turner had been naked that she was disappointed in me. Frankly, I was disappointed in me too – and even the scenic surroundings I found myself in couldn’t raise me from my stupor. 

117364

It was very pretty, though


Mine all mine

But as we began the long, winding drive along the Cornish coast to our next stop it hit me – I could tap into that sadness and disappointment to make my next meaningful stare really work. And so as we made the trek from the parking area to Wheal Crowns, a cliffside mine between the town of St Just in Penwith and the village of Pendeen which stands in for Francis Poldark’s Wheal Grambler in the series, I made sure to delve deep into my emotional turmoil. And it had pretty great results. 

117365

Brood rating – 3/5

A strong, emotive showing in a picturesque location.


A little help from my friends

And with one triumph came another, the success of my first emotive glower giving me the confidence to realise what had been missing from my tableaus thus far – a credible Demelza to worry over my tortured, Byronic soul.

Luckily I had a redhead to hand, so persuading Dora to stop asking people to describe how Aidan Turner’s hair had looked in the breeze (pretty good, apparently), I staged my most successful picture yet – even if my own hair said “14th-century pageboy” more than “18th century gentleman”.

117366

Brood rating – 4/5

A romance for the ages told in an image – almost worthy of an Eastern European Poldark rip-off series.

Yes, it was a pretty good effort – but now my tour of Poldark locations was more or less over, and I still hadn’t found the perfect brood.

117367

As I sat down to dinner that night, I mulled over my many complicated problems with a glass of wine in a cool way that was totally like how Ross Poldark would do it. Could I possibly turn things around before the end of the trip?


Not really

The next day, I tried to connect again with my inner Poldark by getting down to some hard graft and working in the mud. Well, technically it was an organic body treatment in the spa followed by a quick swim, but I imagine that’s more or less as difficult as tin mining is.

I was also starting to worry about the pedigree of the lodge I was staying in. A blue plaque Dora had taken 47 photos with the night before said that a different building had been the resting place of Aidan Turner, and while I comforted myself with the idea that he could have stayed in more than one lodge my faith was a little shaken. 

That inner turmoil, plus the fact that knew I was under limited time pressure to try and perfect my Poldark look, are the only excuses I can give for this odd, legs akimbo effort on the cliffs overlooking Portreath beach. I rushed it, and I can only apologise.

117370

Brood rating – 2/5

This just looks a bit awkward somehow.


Success! 

But I wasn’t going to give up that easy. I still had a chance to find the right spot, strike the right pose, pull my face into the perfect position and brood like crazy, finally succeeding at the quest I’d given myself to and becoming a better journalist. Or something.

And so, drawing on everything I’d learned over that weekend I struck a Poldark pose, and over a series of shots everything just clicked. The seagulls flocked around me, I could feel a secret sorrow in some way related to war or the struggles of the poor or something and I could almost hear the high-pitched string music of the title sequences. Perfection.

117371
117372
117373
117374

Brood rating: 4.8/5

Throw on a tricorn and some tin-hunting equipment and these poses would rival the main man himself.


Endings

“I did it!” I called to Dora as I ran back towards the lodge. “I’m just like Aidan Turner!”

And then I stopped dead – because there WAS a blue plaque on the back of our lodge that I’d somehow missed until now. And it told me the truth I’d been fearing all along.

117376

Instead of living in Ross Poldark’s house, I was living in the house of Heida Reed’s Elizabeth Poldark, the lost love of Ross’ younger days who ended up marrying his vaguely disappointing cousin Francis (Kyle Soller) instead and pining for her original sweetheart throughout most of the series. 

Yes, over a weekend of introspection and exploration I had achieved my goal of becoming a Poldark, but somehow I was the wrong one. I was a man in the house of Elizabeth Poldark, who longed that he could be Ross Poldark and lived with a woman who just wished she was with Aidan Turner instead.

I was FRANCIS Poldark. And I didn’t even have his awesome taste in hats to soften the blow.

117379

“It’s a shame we didn’t get to stay in the same lodge as Aidan,” Dora sighed later as she packed her things away, ready for the long train journey home.

“I guess some things aren’t meant to be.”

I agreed, at least with the second part. No matter how much I’d trained and prepared, I now knew I didn’t have it in me to be Ross Poldark. I could flounce around on a clifftop to express my feelings, sure, but that was only half the battle. I didn’t have that special quality that made him…well, him, and I never would.

But maybe that’s OK. In a world of rugged literary heroes, I think there needs to be space for their ineffectual cousins and jealous hangers-on. If everyone was charismatically barging their way around winning the day, who would be there to look on enviously, or say silly things that make the protagonists look good? No-one, that’s who.

And hey – if nothing else, the trip had given me plenty to brood over. Cousin Ross would be proud.

117390
Advertisement

Poldark continues on BBC1 tonight (Sunday 11th September) at 9.00pm