Holidays to Cornwall during stormy seasons

Coming on holiday but a storm is forecast?

Storm Eunice and Storm Franklin passed through Cornwall on February 18th to 21st 2022 and before that, Storm Evert hit Cornwall hard in July 2021 causing so many happy campers to dismantle tents and return home in raging winds! We had a surge of phone calls at Orange Roofs asking if we had availability at any of our holiday homes in St Ives but sadly we were fully booked. 

Self-catering accommodation in Cornwall normally doesn’t get affected too badly when storms hit our coastlines but exposed areas, beachside and harbourside holiday cottages in St Ives and on the south and west coast of Cornwall have experienced either humongous waves or tidal surges where seawater feels perilously close. 

At Orange Roofs, we listen attentively to forecasts and take heed of warnings not only for our own personal safety and homes but also for the holiday cottages we manage for the owners. We naturally have a huge consideration for guests coming on holiday just as a storm hits or if guests are already staying with us. We wanted to share with you what our action plan is and how we try to think ahead to safeguard your welfare and holiday happiness.

Wind direction

Flying furniture

In exceptionally high winds, outdoor furniture can be flying missiles so our team head to all properties and secure the furniture down or bring indoors (if possible) to ensure they don’t fly away and cause any harm!

Windows

When there are stormy gales, it’s really important not to give any opportunity for windows to be wrenched open and the roofs to be ripped off so we ensure that these are all securely fastened shut. Another casualty of stormy winds and seas in St Ives is the windows get covered in sea salt and so become slightly ‘crusty’. We know guests book to stay at our holiday cottages in St Ives with a sea view because it’s something very special and so, to be looking out through frosty glass is less than ideal. We arm window cleaners with orders to get these windows cleaned as soon as it is safe to do so!

Roofs

Depending on the direction of the wind, and because we know our holiday properties so well, we know which ones may experience some water ingress if there is torrential rain accompanying the gale winds (joy!). It would have been raised in past storms and trades men would have consulted the owners to say it is sadly an inevitable result of a particularly rare day when the wind blows in from a certain direction together with hideous rain. We will let guests know to expect anything that we know about from past experience so it doesn’t come as a nasty shock.

Trees

Most of our holiday homes don’t have large trees in gardens as they are so close to the sea and in St Ives town. If a storm is forecast, we will do a sight-check of any trees in gardens and if we feel they are in any way looking ‘fragile’ we contact guests to discuss alternative plans.

Bins

Wheelie bins, given the fact they have wheels and the strength of the storms we experience down here, they can be found one street away unless neatly stored away! Our team makes sure this happens so guests still have access to the bin outside their holiday property.

Disrupted travel

It’s a sad fact that when a storm rips through the UK or a certain region, there are some sort of road and/ or rail disruptions due to high winds and fallen trees. This leads to delays and most likely frayed nerves! We appreciate this and most definitely sympathise. Where possible, when planning a journey during a storm, we will always try to accommodate earlier check-ins or at the very least the potential to use the parking space while you wait for your holiday property to be ready for you so we ask guests to request if this is possible at the time and we can do our very best to make it happen. If we are aware of any road closures before, we let our guests know in order to plan an alternative route.

 

Tidal patterns

If one of our self catering cottages in St Ives is close to the sea and we know there is going to be a spring tide during the storm meaning sea levels rise and the likelihood of waves being within striking distance of the holiday property, we will let guests know to avoid unnecessary worry that the sea may come in the holiday home! It never has yet… The slipway very near to The Sloop Inn, St Ives on the harbour front can quite often see the sea rise up and cross the road to slosh against the cafes and shops. These businesses all have sea defenses in place and thankfully none of Orange Roofs’ properties suffer this same fate. We suggest a good pair of wellies for those wanting to walk along St Ives harbour front during a storm and a spring tide! And oodles of care!

Temperature

Living in a temperate part of the UK, we are used to warmer climes than say Exeter and further North! That said, we feel chilly if temperatures fall lower than 12 degrees and the sun is not showing its face so we completely empathise with our guests and ensure that the holiday cottages we manage are kept toasty warm; that means everything is in working order. Boilers can be temperamental in stormy weather so we check that all the pressures are correct and the radiators are warm and working before we release the key safe code. Our Orange Roofs App tells guests how to override heating programs and boost the heating as we never want anyone to feel chilly. If, for some reason, the boiler stops doing what it ought to, we are quick to respond and get a local hero in to get it all up and running. If a part needs replacing, we have portable heaters that are dropped to the holiday cottage quickly in order to keep everyone warm. 

Power outages

Having just experienced Storm Eunice and been without power and water (the joys of having a borehole!) for almost 2 days, we know how it feels to be inconvenienced by a storm and to time travel backwards from the 21st Century to the early 19th Century in a blink of an eye! No electricity means no light and no hot water and no heating. Awful. To make matters worse, the internet goes down and the mobile phone reception scrapes in feebly with 2 bars on 3G. Where it is near impossible for us to execute a miracle and get the power back on, our team at Orange Roofs springs into action to try and get answers from Western Distribution so we can keep our guests updated. If there is a wood-burning stove in the property, we’ll make sure there are enough logs. Candles will have been put in properties in readiness for the storm’s arrival so guests aren’t left totally in the dark. Most properties have board games so a game of scrabble by firelight with a sandwich and a glass of wine may be the scenario if the holiday cottage is hit by a power outage during a guest stay. 

Twenty Four Seven care

Orange Roofs has an emergency phone line that is manned 24/7/365 and so if the worst happens and guests need to ask for help, we are at the end of the phone ready to do our best to make things a little better.

When to decide enough is enough

Nobody wants to go home from a holiday to Cornwall or their dream St Ives holiday but, and we know we have to be realistic here, if a storm hits St Ives and there is loss of power, no heating or hot water and Western Distribution say the fix is more than 24 hours, guests may decide they don’t want the uncertainty and discomfort and prefer to go home. We understand. If this is what a guest decides, they are able to travel home (hopefully safely) and receive a refund for the days they have not stayed at the holiday property. There is a caveat here, if a storm is forecast and it’s day six of a week long holiday and a guest decides to travel home one night earlier to miss the storm, there is no refund. 

The upside

The great thing about the South West of Cornwall is when a storm hits, it doesn’t linger for very long and passes over within hours. Storm Eustice hit St Ives in the early hours of Friday 18th February and had passed over by the afternoon. Thankfully all our holiday cottages in St Ives and West Cornwall kept power supply and all guests were toasty warm and dry inside while it raged outside. The beauty about being on holiday in Cornwall when a storm hits means the most dramatic and moody scenes play out in front of you where the sea becomes so animated and skies striking. It makes for an incredible holiday snap! 

So, if you have a holiday booked and a storm is forecast, rest assured we are thinking ahead to how we can do our best to keep the holiday dream alive. All we ask is that you take heed of warnings and take the utmost care when getting yourselves to our beautiful county.