The Perils of Sat-Nav in a Cornish Village - The sturdy citizens of Polperro are Even the military can find Polperro streets a problem - click this image to see larger version - copyright Tony White 2007 all rights reservedbecoming well accustomed to witnessing the kami-kase antics of drivers of Jammed JCB - click on this image for larger version - photo Tony White copyright 2007 all rights reservedeverything from private cars, delivery vans & lorries, JCBs and even miltary vehicles as they set out to prove that what their sat-nav systems are telling them is true and that the narrow and precipitous lanes and alleys of Polperro are some sort of virtual reality fantasy. The problem is, of course, that Polperro is real world and sat-nav is fantasy. The owners of body repair shops and clutch replacement services can almost be seen licking their lips in anticipation of the next lucrative job.... But seriously, it is foolhardy to ignore the road signs - narrow in Polperro means NARROW (like less wide than your vehicle) and steep means STEEP (like steeper than your engine/clutch/gearbox can endure) - so switch off the sat-nav, read the road signs and ask the locals!
Most of Polperro village is subject to a seasonal traffic prohibition regulation - there is a reason for this - Polperro's streets are mostly narrow (and they tend to get narrower the further you go!) and some are also very steep and there is virtually nowhere to park or manoeuvre or even turn round in the village (but there is a large car park as you approach the village and minibus and horse-bus services to take you down to the heart of the village if you can't manage a 500m walk.
Click on images to see larger versions.

Report & photos courtesy of Tony White

Read on to learn about just some of the many who have come a cropper putting blind faith in sat-nav instead of learning how to read road signs and interpret ordnance survey maps - and those who managed to get stuck even without sat-nav to help them. And there's even more in Tony's "Bits & Pieces" - click here - and keep scrolling on down on that page 'cos there's a lot there on this topic! And there's more on this page too -
9 May 2012
Size DOES Matter!
Imagine the scene; it's early evening and you are a Tesco Online driver with a van full of fruit, vegetables and groceries, a fridge full of perishables and a freezer full of ice cream, frozen desserts and garden peas. And you've umpteen more calls to make. Anyway, you've just got a quick call down here (Talland Hill in Polperro) and 'cos you're busy and in a hurry you don't notice that the road is the same width as the van.
14 hours later, when you finally get free, you've noticed alright!
It's not recorded whether the long and ancient tradition of "wrecking" transferred to jammed Tesco vans, and whether large quantities of comestibles were "liberated". But one thing's for sure, I bet this was one driver who didn't take a short cut down Talland Hill again...
Jammed Tesco van - 2003 - photo copyright Brian Shepherd
Click on photo for larger version

Jammed Marina 2001 - photo copyright Brian Shepherd 2001

We get a lot of visitors in the village - especially in the summer! In June this disconcerted motorist discovered that signs saying 'Not Suitable for Motors' mean just what they say around here!

On the first day of his honeymoon the poor chap might have been a little bemused but in his defence he said he was following a Marina estate that 'seemed to know where he was going'!

In the picture the car is backing out - it escaped significant damage - but the stressed out driver had a set of jangled nerves to go with the car's very hot clutch!

One thing to remember about Polperro is that the streets were made for donkies not cars! Just around the corner is Talland Hill - a long steep road rising from the village - it's no entry from the bottom these days but it wasn't always. There are several narrow spots but there is one that snags an embarrassed driver at least once a year. Burnt out clutches - tractor towing - wall rebuilding and a lot of waving arms and ruckus! Sometimes it is a foreigner who might be excused with all the signs being in English but how do we explain the British stuckees?
By the way - if you were wondering what happened to that Marina - well he got through! Then he turned right over Roman Bridge and made a burst for the wide open space of the quayside! I would have bet that it wasn't possible but then that's why bookies holiday in Barbados! Actually his car WAS severly scuffed on both sides - a little narrower & no longer has wing mirrors!

See also Tony White's Bits & Pieces page
There's a caravan stuck in the lane
and a Dutchman who wants to complain
He thought it was flat
He's had it with that
There's a sign at the top to explain!

Pat Libby, Helen & her parents - winners of the Polperro Festival Limerick Competition 1998

Information & photo: Brian Shepherd, Polperro © 2001, 2004. Page last updated - 9 May 2012

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