Day 4 Boscastle to Tregardock Farm

Another amazing day for our Cornish coastal path walk, blue sky and sunshine. We set off from Boscastle, making our way up to National Coastwatch (NCI) lookout at Boscastle to start with, where we were all made very welcome.
Mike, our support driver, does a huge amount of work for the NCI charity and we are  hoping to visit all the lookouts we go past on our walks. NCI Boscastle was the first Cornish lookout on our route.

NCI Boscastle

It is set high up on Willapark just outside Boscastle and the watchkeepers have to carry their own water supply. No mean feat! The on-duty watchkeeper was kind enough to share some of the supply with our dogs who were already keen for a drink.
NCI lookouts do a lot of work to raise funds to support the ‘Eyes Along the Coast’ service that they provide and NCI Boscastle is no exception. They have a novel collecting box on the wall outside!
NCI Boscastle collecting box!

NCI Boscastle collecting box!

If you would like to find out more about NCI and how you can help the organisation please go to National Coastwatch.

What was particularly striking about this stretch of coastline was the make up of the rocks. There was so much slate, and from Tintagel a lot of evidence of old quarries, and in fact quarrying took place in some  areas from the Middle Ages and it continued until the 1930s.
The striking hole in the rock above Hole Beach!

The striking hole in the rock above Hole Beach!

We made our break-point at Trebarwith Strand which is a delightful inlet where, at high tide there is an unusual slate beach, which the locals were clearly enjoying, just waiting for a proper sandy beach to be revealed as the tide went out. Danny was glad to be handed over to the support vehicle! and after a scrumptious ice cream we continued on our way.
Of the flora there was montbretia, though a garden escapee it is capable of growing in clumps where nothing else would grow.The heather is still going strong, wild carrot and scabious. Hilary is so knowledgeable about the ground cover and also has a brilliant reference book which helps us along the way!
Hilary knows all the wildlife!

Hilary can identify the wild flowers.

We were fascinated by a kestrel that was hovering in the sky for ages – of course the minute we tried to take a photo it moved away! And then we saw two of them – maybe they had had a nest somewhere.
Another example of the amazing rock formations was this ‘Old Man of Hoy’ look-alike which we spotted.
Not the best attempt at a selfi! but we keep practicing!
Finishing with another selfi!

Finishing with another selfi!

After Trebarwith we had a huge hike up the 200 steps which Hilary counted! but once at the top the view was tremendous and we had a fairly easy stretch to where we finished the day at Tregardock.

In 5.5 hrs, distance covered 9.25 miles (14.89 k). Not the hardest stretch so far by any means. We took it more slowly and once again the weather was beautiful, considering what we have had and what has come since!

We anticipate the next leg to be a toughie!


The Story So Far

Hilary and I have now got a much better understanding of how to interpret the OS maps and directions. We recognise that when the contour lines are really close together then we are going to have a tough time of things!

The other thing that we have really noticed is the extraordinarily striking beauty of the Cornish Coastline. The rock formations, striations and smugglers’ coves have been distracting us all along the way.

Welcombe Mouth

The beach at our start point Welcombe Mouth.


The view back along Widemouth Bay


One of many fantastic headlands with the GCHQ dishes in the far background. We still haven’t been able to leave them behind!


A Day 3 phenomenon!

Rocky Valley towards Tintagel

Rocky Valley towards Tintagel

Another thing we have learnt is to make a note of the landscapes in the future as we take photos so we can annotate them properly afterwards!

We have also passed some fascinating structures dotted along the coast. Man certainly likes to leave his mark! So aside from the aforementioned GCHQ dishes which we thought we should not photograph! there was the tiny abandoned coastguard lookout which we passed on Day 1 along with Hawker’s Hut and the the Compass Point Tower in Bude.

Compass Point Tower

Compass Point Tower

There have also been numerous relics of man’s impact on the landscape. Ruined homesteads, what appeared to be an abandoned slate quarry and of course Tintagel Castle.

Finally – who knew there were so many Gull Rocks? 3 so far in just under 36 miles of coastline!


Day 3 Dizzard to Boscastle

When we called a halt at Dizzard last week, we knew that the 2.5 mile stretch on to Crackington Haven was going to be tough. Indeed the same farmer, as we started out, anticipated that it would take us 2 – 2.5 hours.

So on Saturday 11 July we made good time to our start point at Dizzard and set off just before 10.30. We saw some beautiful heather in flower. and the photos don’t really do it justice.

Beautiful banks of purple heather.

Beautiful banks of purple heather….

....interspersed with yellow flowers.

….interspersed with yellow flowers.

Mike made his way to  Crackington expecting us at about 1pm. In fact we made it by 12.15 so did really well and although it was tough going, we were in our stride and made a good fist of it.


What I hadn’t realised was how hard Danny was finding it. Once again the weather was brilliant, and maybe the accumulation of the previous weeks was starting to take its toll. However I did not pick up on this and as we continued on our way, after a lovely break at Crackington I started to realise that Danny was seriously slowing down. unfortunately there wasn’t a logical stop between here and Boscastle so we had no choice but to press on.

A couple of times we lost Danny as he wandered off looking to cool himself down in any water he could find. I was really concerned that he was looking to throw himself off the cliff edge trying to get to the sea! He knew that there he would find the cool. So as we continued on I went ahead with Danny trailing behind on the lead. Hilary’s dogs were running around quite happily amongst our legs, apparently not slowing down at all.

Millie and Zimba still full of energy.....

Millie and Zimba still full of energy…..

...Danny's had enough!

…Danny’s had enough!

At Rosey Cliff, Hilary counted a 192 step climb, which just about finished Danny off! However once we got to the top, along Beeny Cliff we could make good progress with Danny plodding along. We started to see signs of Boscastle in the distance and could gauge how much left we had to go.

We caught sight of the beautiful waterfall at Pentargon, and while the dogs were enjoying a freshen up in the stream above it, we spotted a beautiful butterfly (or moth). Hilary has since identified it as a cream spot Tiger Moth.

Cream Spot Tiger Moth

Cream Spot Tiger Moth

Pressing on to Boscastle we managed to alert Mike to our imminent arrival, via the hand held radios. The radios came in to their own as we know from past experience that mobile phone reception there is rubbish for us.

As we got closer to the picturesque village of Boscastle, Danny was trying to throw himself off the side again to get to the water. Fortunately my screams of panic were enough to deter him!

We eventually arrive in beautiful Boscastle

We eventually arrive in beautiful Boscastle

We’re not sure when we will be doing our next leg of the walk, but for now I think Danny is quite relieved to have a bit of a break.

In 5.5 hrs, distance covered 9.6 miles (15.5 k). (We thought we had gone much further!) Max height reached above sea level 208m. Once again, weather beautiful. We have been so lucky.

Day 2 Sandy Mouth to Dizzard Point

We all work during the week to a greater or lesser degree, so our walks will generally be at weekends and our 2nd leg of the walk, on Sunday 5 July 2015, was no exception. This time we were starting out from Sandy Mouth which was our previous end point and this will be our pattern throughout.

The weather on the drive to Sandy Mouth was attrocious with torrential rain, thunder and lightening. We were beginning to wonder whether we were going to manage to start the walk at all. Indeed the nice man at the National Trust Car Park thought we were completely mad starting out in such dreadful weather.

In fact there did not seem to be another drop of rain as we started out, the skies cleared and the weather just got better and better as we went along.

We knew that today’s walk would be a whole lot easier than last time as the contour lines suggested a much gentler experience. And this proved to be the case. Our first logical stop was in Bude where we hoped to meet Mike for a coffee. But our lines of communication failed and we knew we would be wasting time to try and catch up with him.

Starting to get the hang pf these selfies!

Starting to get the hang pf these selfies!

Beautiful Bude - I wish we had had more time there, but we had to press on.

Beautiful Bude – I wish we had had more time there, but we had to press on.

Our next logical meeting place was somewhere along Widemouth Bay. But although Hilary and I made use of the facilities, we missed Mike again and pressed on. A text or two later and we caught up with him at a viewing point above Millook Haven. By now were all really hot and sticky and Danny was starting to struggle again. I was certainly getting out of breath on the ups! So at Millook I handed Danny over to Mike and on we went.

Somewhere on route!

Somewhere on route!

Shortly after Millook, I misread one of the signposts and took us on a dreadful wrong turn. The path headed very steeply downwards and amongst massive undergrowth, we couldn’t see our feet, and slipped and slid down towards the beach. There were even a couple of stretches where a rope gave some sort of a hand-hold, but when we got to the bottom, not quite to the beach it was clear we had gone horribly wrong.

The only option was to turn around and make our tortuous way back up to the top and carry on on the path. I was really cross to have wasted our energies and time, but it was a very strong lesson learned – read the signs carefully!.

With the delay this has caused us and recognising that Crackington Haven was likely to be out of our reach for today, we started to make contact with Mike to arrange a meeting point for him to pick us up.

At Dizzard we found the best offering and made our way inland off the Coast Path, meeting up quite easily at the farm there. Mike said that the farmer had done some of the Coast Path in his time and was interested in our progress.

In 5.3 hrs distance covered 9.74 miles (15.6 k). Max height reached above sea level 157 m. Weather beautiful.

Hilary and Sarah walk the Cornish leg of the South West Coast Path

As if we had nothing better to do with our lives, we set ourselves the challenge of walking the Cornish leg of the South West Coast Path in no particular timescale.

Fortunately we could enlist Mike to be our support driver so we don’t have to organise transport.

On our first day, Saturday 27 June 2015, we started just north of the border in to Devon at Welcombe Mouth. The track down to the car park where Mike could drop us off, was really rough and added about 20 mins to our journey time just getting down to it.

The intrepid walkers pose before setting off from Welcombe Point

The intrepid walkers pose before setting off from Welcombe Mouth

I hadn’t really checked out our likely journey which was probably just as well, because this leg of the walk was pretty strenuous by any standards.

When we reached the border in to Cornwall of course we had to mark the occasion…

Our 4th attempt at a selfie gave us the shot we wanted!

Our 4th attempt at a selfie gave us the shot we wanted!

The border crossing lies at Marsland Mouth which was our first serious descent/ascent – a frequent occurrence on the Coast Path! This was our first experience of what was to come.

I forgot to tell you about the dogs! Hilary and I have 4 dogs between us, but I only took one of mine because the other is getting on a bit (a bit like me!) and would be unlikely to cope with the distances. So the 5 of us (my Danny, and Hilary’s Millie and Zimba) continued on our way in to Cornwall.

5 further serious descents/ascents later and we met up with Mike at Duckpool. A beautiful little inlet where the dogs cooled off in the river and we had a spot of lunch and made use of the facilities!

Resting at Duckpool

We made it to Duckpool where we offloaded Danny!

I left Danny with Mike as I could tell he was struggling a bit in the heat and his solid, chocolate labrador frame, was starting to wilt! Millie and Zimba seemed to be taking it all in their stride as was Hilary. My legs, on the other hand, were also starting to wobble!

So we pressed on to the next available meeting point at Sandy Mouth, by which time I knew I was not going to be able to go any further. We had thought we might make it to Bude, but it was not to be. Thankfully at Sandymouth we could avail ourselves of the lovely cafe there before wending our way home.

In 4.5 hrs distance covered 7.35 miles (11.8 k). Max height reached above sea level 121 m. Weather beautiful.