The Original Memories Page

Nothing left but those memories, featuring thoughts and some photos from:

Pete Wyatt, Lesley Fitt, Helen Garner,JMO, Richard Mineards, Rob Salter, Chris MacArthur, Daniel Silver, Rob Macintosh, Clint Hough, Valerie, Sue, Chris Relf, John from Florida, Mike, Terri Strick

E mail me with your tales and reminisences of the old place,

For latest memories, Click here

 

Pete Wyatt

Graham, My wife and I are going to Sennen for a week next month and I've
told her about Skewjack where I went for two weeks in the summer of 1977.
For some reason this evening I put Skewjack into the search engine and found
your site. I actually felt quite emotional because I found the place very
special but I think it's more your comments about wanting to keep the name
alive. I shall look at this more later but if I want to add to your memories
section shall I just send an email?
Good for you Graham, there are still some lovely things happening in the
world.
I am with my wife in Burnham On Sea now listening to Brian Wilson and the
Beach Boys and ondon and Herts are far behind us.
Pete Wyatt (now 45)


 

Lesley Fitt

Hello Gary Watson-Wood,
Your name springs up and a thousand crazy memories spring to mind.
Where are you now? They were wild and wonderful, those Skewjack years.
Have a happy BIG Birthday.
Lesley


 

Helen Garner

Hi there,
Thanks for the site - I really didn't think there would be any trace of
Skewjack left. I stayed at Skewjack in the summer of 1976 and it really
stayed with me. It was my first summer away without my parents! 16 years old
and I had a ball - weather was fab, had a great time, met Curly and Harvey
amongst others and it gave a totatlly different outlook on life. Have photos
of all the lifeguards at Sennen from that summer.
I was so intoxicated by Cornwall that I went the two subsequent summers,
camped and stayed in B&B's and have recently re discovered its allure. Off
to Gwithian for some bodyboarding this weekend - good surf predicted - and
will spend a day at Sennen at least. Every summer I go I see the dolphins
and remember those carefree days at Skewjack - where is everyone now?
I will dig out the photos and send them to you if you like. Think you are on
them too but I'm not sure it was you.
Thanks for making my day
Happy surfing
Helen



'jMo' aka

Steve Jameson

Well hello Gram, me and a few of the original 'guards were just sitting
here in our depot in Hakey Bay, when we chanced upon the Skewjack
site, was good to see shots of the old guard although its about time you
deleted Napoleon from it,where is CliffHugo?
Im here with Pud, Steff & Phill (Drew)who all pass on their regards.We are
now gearing up for the 2004 season.All things being equal i shall be in charge of Sennen
again this year,so if there are any ex Skewjack punters who would like
to come over for a chat,they would be more than welcome, as of course
your good self. You going to be around this summer?

Hope all good with you my friend...jMo x


 

Richard Mineards

Love the Skewjack site! So many memories of fun times in the 70's.
These days my local beach is Malibu, but I do get back to Cornwall two or
three times a year as I bought a cottage in St. Buryan some years back.
I trust all goes well with the lecturing in Eastbourne.
These days I'm a commentator on KTLA-TV Channel 5 in Hollywood talking about
celebrities and the royals, and write for the gossip column of the Daily
Express.
If you're ever out this way give me a call on 323.462.08.93 and I'm also
listed in the Cornwall telephone directory. But my various properties are
let out on a weekly or fortnightly basis to holidaymakers when I'm not
around.
It helps pay a bill or two!
My best, Richard


 

Rob Salter

Well here i am 1/2 full of baccardi sat in fromt of my puter wondering what would
happen if i typed the word "Skewjack"into my searcher thingy. excellent surprise!
i remember one of my buddies spotting an ad in some surfing magazine about a cool
surf villageso me paul and tim headed off twas the easter of '84. we arrived and the
sunset bar was in full swing and we knew we had made a good choice. i dont remember
much about that trip other than the big meals at the bistro, we called them
desperate dan meals. the surf was pumping and way beyond my capabilities, sun shone
every day and ther was just an amazing vibe going on. we were hooked!
later that summer we were back , about 13 of us i think all crammed into 1 beat up
old ambulance all the way down from south wales. we arrived on friday night and
pulled into the camping field. now i was quite nervous, would the place live up to
the stories we had told to convince everyone that they should come along with us. as
the music filtered through from the sunset bar we realised that the camping field
was filled with naked men modestly only partially covered by the occasional balloon!
suddenly i wasnt nervous anymore, i knew that skewjack would deliver and that it did
to the extent that we returned year after year and not once were we disappointed.i
have some photos i will dig them out and mail them i also have somewhere an old
visiting book from 85/86 and a set of keys from chalet number 5, our original
chalet! i nicked these on a visit back to the site in ooooh must have been about
1991 or 2? what was really looking for was those slides that used to be shown on the
back wall of the sunset bar. whatever happened to those i would love a copy!
I am so glad that this site exists it brings back a million memories of the best
times in my life. it is also very bitter sweet though now thta those times have gone
oh yeah and i am still surfingrob salter
the barry boys and girls

 

Many thanx to Rob for these great photos.

Whose was the Mini? It was Willie Nankervis' from Pendeen I think and Chris Bolton's 1600 E Cortina behind or maybe Dick Ruthvens.


 

Chris MacArthur. Ex Chef.

hello graham,
you probably don't have much recollection of who i am and to be honest my memories
of working at skewjack 84 and 86 are a little hazy, however i am 38 now and rather
shocked that 20 years have gone by and i am now a proud dad with a day job ,
responsibilities , mortgage etc, and we live in earls barton a village in
northamptonshire , which is a sensible distance from the sea and what i remember as
the lifestyle that went with it , although i do seem to remember having a serious
conversation with you on occasion.
any way ,cut a long story and all that a couple of freinds went to st ives last
summer and surfed , in an old local guide book the skewjack legend was mentioned ,
it cropped up in conversation on their return , i had a couple of minutes to spare
and thought i would search skewjack on the net. and here we are, i would like to get
in touch with pt and of course chris south , if yuo know where they are or what they
are up to .
i work in central london now( add commute to list af adult things done) so should
they be around it may be easy to meet up .hope you are well
kind regards
chris.
christopher macarthur
head chef


 

Daniel Silver

Sent January 7th 2004 Sorry Dan Posted March 25th 04

Graham , thanks for having the time and energy to put the site together. My
memories of Skewjack are not as old as some of those on the site, but here
goes.
Before I start, one comment - it's nice to see a common theme throughout the
posts , aside from what a great place Skewjack was, that most people are
still surfing .
I've surfed since I was 8 years old, starting on family holidays in Newquay
( we hired Piran pop-outs from a surf shop/ cafe called "Keo's"). At that
time there was only Keo's and Bilbo's in Newquay.
As soon as me and my brother were old enough to be trusted to holiday
without parents, we went to Skewjack (79/80) having seen it on the holiday
programme a few years before. I was an impressionable 14 year old, totally
obsessed with girls and surfing, so Skewjack was right up my street.
Main memories are no different from others, great laugh. I remember Chris
and the kids well, and PT was an instructor .I think Bruce was the DJ, and
a chap who me and all my mates called BA (as in Bad Attitude) who dressed
like a pirate took care of any problem drinkers! There was also a chap
called Alan who surfed, and helped out in the bar.
The local legend surfers were of course Ross White, and Rob Smith. Rob's
party trick was to strip totally naked, then hang off the bar ceiling
rafters. I remember him cleaning up some vomit in the bar using an electric
Hoover. He crashed in my chalet one night, having decided to decorate it by
pulling up a shrub, and planting it in a whole he'd punched through one of
the internal walls.
I remember the bistro sold a lot of chips, and that it was always a race to
get some hot water in the showers.
I remember the welsh bikers, and also an alcoholic from London called
sunshine.
I came back probably 4/5 times to stay with ever bigger groups of friends.
Then started camping at peace and plenty to get early morning sessions at
Gwenver.Used to go up at Skewjack's in the evenings.
Then followed a long period of surfing out of Plymouth (based at the poly) ,
so used to go to Newquay, and of course Bantham etc.Didn't make it down to
Sennen, until a few years after Skewjack had shut. Saddened by the keep out
sign and load of earth.
Great memories.
I'm now working for a UK company in Israel, and have been here for 4 years,
based in Tel Aviv. Good surf in the winter (not big but clean, fast and it's
always warm). Riding a long board, but getting loads!
I'd love to see the BBC holiday stuff.
It's funny how things work out. I got a number of my school mates into
surfing via Skewjack.Most have given up.But two still surf what I would call
properly- one lives in Aus. first Bells beach, now Sydney, the other in
Camelford.
all the best
Dan.


 

Robbbie MacIntosh

(Posted March 04)

This is Robbie McIntosh Duncan's brother, I used run Quiddles Restaurant which if your the same Graham you visited once or twice with your girl friend at the time.
How did I find you? Well! I do a bit freelance illustrating and cartooning and one of the articles I regularly do is one for the 'Cornishman' called Surflines. It is written by to characters with the pen names, Lowdog and Thruster (Chris Ryan and Graham Bailey) both of whom are regular surfers. It is through the latest article that I found out about your web site. I found it fascinating looking through all the photos, recognising many of the people.
Duncan and I are still surfing (longboards now) despite getting a bit long in the tooth, Duncan has managed to do quite a few surf trips in the last few years, South Africa, Portugal, Shrilanka and he's off to Mexico with Michele in Feb., the swine.
I'm still keep my hand in cooking, teaching patisserie at cornwall college. Coupled with my illustration work I get by. And guess what I'm also a mac fan, which Celia ( my second wife and true love) tolerates.


 

Clint Hough writes on his page: I always thought the surf scene was cool, but it wasn't until the mid-Seventies that I actually managed to take my first 'surfin' surfari' to the Skewjack surf village near Sennen, in Cornwall. Me, and my girlfriend of the time, Charlotte ( where are you now, Charlie? ) went down on the Bonneville for a fortnight's holiday which completely sold me on surfing and that scene.
I probably spent more time with my arms wrapped around the Bilbo surfboard than around her! Was it '76 when the hurricanes hit the States? I can't remember - anyway, they sent ten-foot waves across the pond and the action was awesome!
 

 

Valerie by E Mail


It is a long time since we spoke. You and Sylvia had just got married and I
had started work at Skewjack in the office. After being a long time guest I
had come to work at the place. I contacted Chris the other day ( I can
remember his engagement party - and he is now talking about an 19 year old
son!) Chris kindly sent me the web site address.
I am now living in Dorset and am an Assistant Management Accountant in a
Housing Association. I am still involved with water and now crew in JOG and
RORC races across Channel. This year to get over the Winter I have taken up
golf. I bet that you are trying to work out who it is. When I worked at
Skewjack my name was Valerie . I was looking at some of the old photographs that I took at the camp the other
day. I can say that we all did have some great times.

 

Sue by E Mail


If you are the Graham I remember, then you were lifeguard at the same
time as Rupert Bale! You had a red car with a roll over bar inside it
- that Rupert was always borrowing and not returning for ages!
I came to Skewjack initially for a holiday in June 75 - with friend
Sarah, who you might remember, if only for the fact that she was always
trying to throw herself off a cliff, and I think you two hung around
with each other for a bit. We returned back in late August, early
Sept to find Rupert had left and stayed on at the camp in one of the
Caravans. Holiday 76 came and filmed us all, and Sarah and I were in
the van with Chris South, being filmed driving to the beach, (they cut
off my head because I had rollers in). Other people I remember.
Kathy in the bistro, who always used to get up and dance by herself when
lady marmalade came on. Flash the DJ, Dave Curler, Mark Worthington
and Geoff Delaney the Aussie lifeguards, Whatzisname on Porthcurno
beach, who had a cottage at Crean (Charlie!!!!) and a girlfriend who I
got to know quite well, Suzie, the barman who was called Godfrey I think
and he had a mustard yellow MG.a


 

Chris Relf.

Current Skewjack Manager for Flag Telecom

Hi Graham,
Thanks for your e-mail and sorry for delay in the reply. You guessed
correctly that we are connected with the communications history of the area.
The Company, "FLAG" (Fiber Link Around the Globe) can be found on Website
http://www.flagtelecom.com/ I am sure that most of your questions will be
answered there.
The building houses the ends of two submarine fibre cables. One that crosses
the Atlantic to Long Island nearly 6000km away and the other cable that
crosses the channel to France in Brittany. From Brittany we have another
submarine fibre cable which also goes to Long Island and hence we have a
complete loop under the Atlantic. Communications cables carry the traffic
from Skewjack and Brittany to London and Paris and on to our European
network. A similar fibre optic cable ring in the USA connects in New York
and American traffic. At Skewjack, we also connect to our Europe Asia
submarine cable that links in 13 countries from here to Japan. The fibre
optic cable to America is constructed with 6 fibre pairs, each capable of
carry 40 separate light wavelengths and each wavelength can carry 10GBit/s
of traffic. This gives a total capacity of 2.4Tbit/s per cable making
Skewjack one of the most largest bandwidth communications stations in the
world.
On a personal level, I remember the surf village in the 60s, but at that
time it was called Atlantic Surf Club(or something very similar) I went
overseas for a few years and noticed the change of name when I returned
about 1973. The original site stems from the war time when it was set up as
a radio station, so we do not feel too guilty about returning it to its
original usage, in some ways we have come full circle although technology
has moved on.


 

John from Florida

Ihave 6 years worth of photos of skew
ill post them all if you want . my name is john and i came down with the lads
from london from 80 thru 86 give or take a year or so things blur with age im
sure you know

what ever happenned to chrisses two lil blonde lads they were
kids when i knew them and the bouncer who,s name slips me right now but i
think he had been a miner or something .. great to see someone doing what i
wanted to do (skew site that is )

i moved to florida about 12 years ago i
love it here if you want to set up any reunions though id be happy to help
and travel back there if i can i mmade more friends in that place than i can
count ,,or remember for that matter any way all the best john a pic enclosed

I THOUGHT THESE WERE KINDA SAD REALLY.....

 

Mike by E Mail


I was visiting Skewjack at the time you were there so our paths must have crossed.
Lots of fond memories of a unique place. It was in the site phone box that I heard from my wife that our first child was on the way. He was born in December,77. Consequently we brought him down with us, dragging the paraphernalia of parenthood with us. Memories of walking the lane to the pub and back, pushing the pram as the sun went down and enjoying the peace and quiet apart from the sounds of the rookery.
I never did learn to surf but, once back in the mean streets of urban Lancashire, I pretended with a vengeance and to absurd lengths, often strutting around the shopping precinct wearing surfer T-shirts bought at the Skewjack shop. Pathetic or what ? I recall that I bought a pair of knee high leather moccasin type boots and transferred my strutting to Skewjack for two weeks. I never did have much sense. Cringe inducing memories.
That foolish young man is long gone. I have problems spelling the word "strutting" now much less having anything to strut about. Gareth ( the first born) is 25 now with a sister aged 22.Our 30th wedding anniversary is looming in August.
Where did all that time go ?
I' ve passed the Skewjack site several times en route to Porthcurno. It isdifficult to picture the former glory from all thats left. I sometimes have difficulty even accurately placing the site.
The whole experience and ethos of Skewjack is something I treasure. Imagined or not it not only represents my own lost youth but also a lost time when the world seemed to be a little less cynical.
I corresponded briefly with Chris South last year (after searching the web for any reference to Skewjack). I told him that, if he was ever around my neck of the woods, he'd be welcome to drop in. I supplemented that invitation with a photo of me standing outside of Skewjack.
Mistake I think. Chris never replied.
Perhaps it was the juxtaposition of the photograph and an invitation to "drop in and see me sometime". I must admit that I do look pretty suspect in the photo with that silly hair (memories of "hair") but I really am quite normal.
The point of relating that tale is to convey the sense of viewing Skewjack as a unique and shared experience with an almost "brotherhood" type attitude towards others who shared that time, that space and those memories.
If you or anyone you know have any photos of Skewjack in its heyday I be grateful if you could scan them and send them. I've tried to describe the place to my daughter Alexis but she remains unconvinced that Skewjack was the idyllic place I try to describe.
Anyway, all the very best. If a reunion is ever contemplated please let me know. I'll check your site regularly for any updates. Thanks again for creating it.

   

 

Terri Strick.

Receptionist and was an original staff member

 

Hi Graham
Sylvia told me all about this and I had to have a go - I have lots of pre1973 photos and memories (but with 3 teenage boys do I want them published - yes if I want a bit of street cred). When I get the hang of attachments, I'll send them. There are a few staff missing from the memories that will be very hurt that they have been erased from the history of Screwjill, Barry the lifequard,Duncan and Michelle - Bistro and lifeguard, Fran in Bistro (only 14 and should have been at school)and Rosie, lovely nutty Gill O'Neill the first receptionist who brought patchoulli oil to Cornwall and is still in touch with us, Sarah Isobel and Jan who came from the Cordon Bleu cookery school to run the Bistro - only to discover surfers didn't know what a gougon was. There are more...... I have just told Jim I am sending my memories to you and he said once I get started I'll be here all night. So many, from the blue dye in the water supply, the giant footsteps in whitewash that covered all the buildings and cars overnight, the dwileflunking (even my 18 year old cannot believe I took part in anything so disgusting, must have had a stronger stomach then) and finding a locked wardrobe floating in the pool with someone in it. I could go on ... another day maybe. Be in touch - please let me know if attachments arrive - I'll send some more.