Day 9 Towan Head to Trevaunance Cove

We started out from Newquay on a dull and overcast day. This was the first time that the weather had not been super and for most of the walk we were stalked by looming clouds and a steady breeze.

The first part of our walk was a little uninspiring and we were beginning to wonder whether it was going to be one of our less enjoyable days. The sight of these interestingly abandoned wet suits hanging around, put smiles on our faces as we came away from the urban Newquay atmosphere and the horizon opened out ahead of us.

DSCF3528As we made our way down to catch the Gannel ferry we spotted this fantastic display of kayakers and paddle borders, raising money for charity.

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We were really fortunate to be catching the Gannel ferry on the last day it was running this season.

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Perhaps another time it would be fun to cross the Gannel using the low tide footbridge.

Heading towards Holywell Beach which probably looks much more populated in the summer season, but today nearly empty!

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We skirted this pretty little Sea Holly along the way, although slightly past its best.

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As we approached the top end of Penhale Camp we saw these extraordinary military type installations on circular bases, which we thought resembled giant bicycle stands!

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However we were very careful to follow the cautionary advice accompanying the view!

warning sign

Casting our eyes back to the coastline we saw what looked like a caved in mine shaft.

DSCF3545The picture doesn’t really do it justice as the wooden ‘cross’ lies just above the opening and would previously probably have been enclosed. Our maps certainly indicated that there has been mining activity in this area in the past.

As we continued on past Penhale Camp we saw the sheds that probably serve as temporary digs when the military are on exercise. Almost certainly relics from WW2.

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We made our way down onto the long stretch of Perran Beach and I realised that I have been here before. I have a memory of one of our dogs being bitten on the snout years ago by another lurcher! Perran Beach proved to be quite eventful this time around as well. First there was this weird looking scarecrow high up on the dunes. It appeared to have been made from beach towels and colourful blankets. He looked down on us as we trudged our way over the long wet sands of Perran beach.

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Then Hilary’s beady eyes spotted this poor little fish which was all tangled up in fishing line. We thought it must have suffered a horrible lingering death and felt quite sorry for it:

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Hilary has since found out the following about it –

“It is a sandeel. We get lesser and greater sandeels, the size being one obvious indicator of which is which (greater can grow up to 35cm, lesser 20cm) however in a specimen like this we would look for a black blotch on each side of the snout in front of the eyes which would tell us it is the greater. I can’t see that clearly in this picture, but it looks like there is a black blotch present perhaps.
Sandeels are one of the most important food sources in our seas for marine wildlife, from seabirds to seals and cetaceans. They are rich and oily and full of goodness. As a result, they are also used as bait! As this one has been – the line is from an angler wrapping it around the sand eel when fishing to lure in bigger fish. He/she obviously lost the line either in rough seas or when it was caught on something.”
Thanks to – Abby, Marine Data Officer, Marine Strandings Network, ERCCIS, Cornwall Wildlife Trust for providing us with the information.
Next on Perran Beach we came across this enormous (dead) jelly fish :
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What a wopper!

And someone else had been there before us :

DSCF3555Upwards and onwards through Perranporth we saw this extraordinary sun dial which looked to be quite newly constructed :

DSCF3556DSCF3558The stone work was so lovely; it was a shame that it wasn’t a brighter day to see it in full action. Nevertheless it was a thing of beauty and so we thought we would honour it with another long overdue selfie!

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On the cliffs beyond Perranporth we passed the Cathedral caverns – series of caves in the cliff side which seemed only visible once you have passed them and are looking back.

Our next discovery were the amazing bronze-coloured slag heaps which Hilary’s book seemed to suggest were the result of mining various minerals including Tin and Tungsten. These products were used during the last war to provide armor plating. With Millie in the foreground you can see the scale of the heaps and the path in the distance was our way through them.

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As we crossed Cligga head, in the area known as St George’s Outfall we saw this impressive rock formation with clearly defined strata. It appeared almost man-made in its uniformity. It sat amongst the area of slag heaps of all different colours.

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We had already passed the bronze coloured heaps and these were followed by the more traditional gray and then lilac hues. In evidence were many examples of ‘Bat Castles’ which are conical covers to the exits of the old mine shafts which prevent humans from falling in, yet allow the bats free passage.

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A prime example of a bat castle.

As we approached the Perranporth airfield we came across a strangely haunting area of dismantled buildings reflecting, again, wartime occupation but now disused and discarded.

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The next leg of the walked took us around the airfield, which was just out of view. We could see and hear some of the activity in the air, with light aircraft taking off every few minutes; the odd microlight; some paragliders. But every few tens of yards we would come across yet another picnic table. In isolation they seemed incongruous, but the more we saw the more they made sense as they seemed placed very deliberately to offer visitors a view out to sea as well as being in the right place to enjoy the movements in the air and eventually the airfield itself.

For most of the day, whilst the weather had been kind to us, we seemed to have been stalked by an ominous looking bank of clouds which suggested the rain over northern Ireland which had been forecast.

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Fortunately we escaped anything more and in fact we found the day to be warm and clement, although no sunshine.

This part of the path passes through a whole area of low lying gorse and heather. This must be a beautiful sight when in full flower.

Once clear of the airfield we saw an island off the coast which we could not decide whether it was an imposter for the ‘Green island’ which was marked on the map. It seemed to be in the wrong place and the wrong aspect in relation to the mainland.

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However we decided that because it was both green and an island we could be forgiven for thinking it was the real deal!

Well that pretty much brought us to the end of our day as we soon dropped down in to Trevaunance Cove through the recently repaired stretch of coast path. Over 13 miles covered this brought our total to well over 90 miles. Not bad going. We are looking forward to dropping in on the next NCI lookout on our journey at St Agnes Head.

On the weekend of 10/11 October we are going to participate in the

Countryfile Ramble for BBC Children in Need

and dedicate our day of walking the coast path to raising money for this worthy cause. We hope that all our loyal followers will support us by using the link to the web site where you can find out more about their venture and how to pay your sponsorship money.

 

 

Day 8 Treyarnon Bay to Towan Head

We set off from Treyarnon at just before 1030, with the aim of making it to car park 1 (Whipsiderry!) in Newquay.
There are quite a few islands on this stretch of coastline. It is easy to see that they would have originally been part of the mainland, but have broken away at some time in the past. We came across a great example of this almost straightaway – Trethias Island.
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Diggory's Island

Trethias Island

 Followed by Minnows Islands which seems to be made up of many smaller rocky outcrops
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including this one which was a great slab of slate.
Minnows Islands

Minnows Islands

The coast continues to impress us but there did not seem to be anything of outstanding interest on this stretch.
Over the last couple of walks we have done there are areas which have been set aside to encourage the corn bunting to breed, it seems to be a major project, and today was no exception.  We were frequently asked to avoid certain stretches to stay clear of their breeding grounds.
Corn Bunting (library image)

Corn Bunting (library image)

Porthcothan caught our eye as a most beautifully sheltered bay with a popular sandy beach. It looked like it would be a great place for kayakking with some little islands nearby to explore,
 1 coming up to porthcothan beach
although it looked like it might be a bit of a trek to get the kayaks down on to the beach.
Porthcothan Beach

Porthcothan Bay

Just beyond Porthcothan we came across these man made caves with Trescore islands in the background.

2 a man made cave with Trescore islands in the background
The caves had obviously been used by smugglers in the past, and there is still some evidence of their heritage.
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Soon after we came to another a hidden gem – Porth Mear which seems a particularly good example of a little known cove, off the beaten track and another ideal candidate for exploring with kayaks, if you are prepared to brave the rough track to get down to it.
Porth Mear

Porth Mear

We continually see kestrels hovering, in search of food
Kestrel hovering

Kestrel hovering

or being hassled by crows. Though generally today we felt that the birds were being very quiet, the gulls seemed to be resting on the side of the cliffs.
On Many of our walks we have often seen an evergreen shrub being used as a kind of hedging. It has a soft feel but is very effective as a screen. We think it is the quite delicate tamarisk which is mentioned in Hilary’s book called ‘Exploring the Cornish Coast’.
Tamarisk (library image)

Tamarisk (library image)

At Bedruthan Steps we became part of a popular tourist destination and on such a beautiful day there were plenty of people enjoying the surroundings. It really is a beautiful spot and we decided one worth visiting again sometime, just to be able to take time to experience it fully.
Looking towards Bedruthan Steps viewing point

Looking towards Bedruthan Steps viewing point

Looking back towards Bedruthan Steps

Looking back towards Bedruthan Steps

Shortly after, we came across Kernow300 training to run the Cornish section of the South West Coastal Path, she was recceeing it and getting in some practice. She has set aside ten days in October to run it – hoping to run 30 miles each day. Good luck!

Along our route we saw this amazing slate wall. Evenly constructed and clearly pretty old but nonetheless very impressive.

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And following this we passed this beautiful stretch of low lying heather and gorse. Much of the heather was past its best and appeared bronze, but there was still some purple showing, and along with the yellow of the gorse the effect was stunning. The photo doesn’t really do it justice!DSCF3520Pressing on we headed towards Trenance where we could see evidence of a canal bed which was apparently started in the 18th century to carry sand, but never completed. It is now home to 2 garden sheds, a green house and a trampoline! But we were incredibly impressed with the effect of the water as it swept in to the bay

Trenance Bay

Trenance Bay

Soon we were looking down along Watergate Bay, which is quite a well known surfing beach in the area, and knew that we were heading for the homeward stretch. We had been making good progress and decided that we would be able to get through Newquay this time, rather than facing Newquay at the start of our next leg. We primed our support man, Mike, accordingly.

8 the start of Watergate Bay

Watergate Bay

As we headed into and through Newquay the photos dried up, as it took all our concentration to find our way through the crowds of people and maze of streets. Although we did catch site of a surf school on the beach
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Surf School (library picture)

and Gig racing in the harbour which had been postponed from the previous day.
Gig racing (library picture)

Gig racing (library picture)

Feeling particularly satisfied after this stretch, having made it further than we intended we now we find that we did just over 14 miles which is brilliant. And the weather was amazing too – we both had a glow on by the time we reached Towan Head, where we hooked up with Mike.

Day 7 Padstow to Treyarnon Bay

The observant amongst you may notice that our start point this time is not the same as our finish point last. This is because we cut a few corners last time by walking across the beach at low tide. So we had decided that we should do it properly this time and start from Padstow and follow the Coast Path as signposted. So we walked the path, looking down on to the beach we had walked across last time.

More than that we saw the ferry crossing and the water looking much choppier than last time, so we were really glad that we weren’t doing it today as our sea legs might have let us down!

Unbelievably the weather cleared and gave us the most beautiful sunny day again.

Towards Stepper Point

Towards Stepper Point from Padstow

NCI Stepper Point was our first port of call, being the 2nd National Coastwatch lookout that we have passed since starting our journey. Derek Reed and Mick Stretton made us very welcome and explained that they have about a 340 degree view from Stepper Point,

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Derek and Mick on watch at NCI Stepper Point

so they have to keep their eyes peeled for all the action on the beaches as well as in the sea all the way around. They also have CCTV for the parts of the sea out of sight below the lookout. They have no running water, so have to take all supplies with them, carting it all up the hill from Hawker’s Cove, where they park.

As with Boscastle, NCI Stepper Point have a really innovative collection tin as you leave the lookout : an old fire extinguisher!

Stepper Point Lookout #3

Heading on our way from NCI Stepper Point lookout, we very quickly came to the stone tower which was built in 1832 to guide ships in to the River Camel.

3 Stone Tower - 1832 - to guide ships into the Camel

At Pepper Hole we saw the small arch through to the sea which was a scarily long way down.

Pepper Hole

Pepper Hole

Continuing on our way we (rather alarmingly) came across a signpost for the Lelllizzick Tea Rooms, where we had enjoyed our final refreshments at the end of our last walk! We resisted the temptation to cut back!

As usual, much of the time Hilary was able to supply us with useful information from her Coast path book.

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We spotted some fungi which were similar, though smaller, to the one we had seen on one of our previous walks.

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Cutting across Harlyn Bay we treated ourselves to a lovely ice cream and took another selfie to prove it!

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Enjoying a Kelly’s Ice Cream walking across Harlyn Bay

During the course of this walk we came across two ‘Round Holes’ which were described in Hilary’s book as caves whose roofs had fallen in at some time. They were huge, deep craters in the ground which were incredibly deep to try and look down in to!

Looking back across Trevone Bay at one of the Round Holes.

Looking back across Trevone Bay at one of the Round Holes.

The small dark mark on the side of the hill is the first ‘Round Hole’ at Trevone Bay. This has come about from the collapse of the roof of a sea cave.

Next excitement was watching the return of the Padstow Lifeboat to its home at Mother Ivey’s Bay. The following sequence of photos shows her as she negotiated the high seas and winds, to reverse in to position to be winched back up the slipway :

10 #1 Lifeboat 10 #2 Lifeboat (2) 10 #3 Lifeboat 10 #4 Lifeboat 10 #5 Lifeboat 10 #6 Lifeboat

By a circuitous route we came across a lovely memorial above the Trevose Head Lighthouse.

'The Neal Rock'

‘The Neal Rock’

We have found out the following about the memorial :

Lawrence Neal was born in London 1895, fought and was injured in the Somme. Worked and ran the Daniel Neal’s Department Stores which were sold to the John Lewis Partnership in 1963. He died in 1996 in Aberystwyth. His wife died in 1949 and their daughter is the other name on the Memorial.

Just below the Neal Rock is the Trevose Head Lighthouse, which looked like it had had a very recent coat of paint. It was sparkling in the sunshine :

Trevose Head Lighthouse opened in 1847 to Fill the gap between the Longships and the Old Lundy Light

Trevose Head Lighthouse opened in 1847 to Fill the gap between the Longships and the Old Lundy Light

Then we had a closer look at the other ‘Round Hole’ on Dinas Head :

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Next we were looking down onto the beautiful sandy beaches of Booby’s Bay and Constantine Bay :

Approaching Booby and Constantine Bay

Approaching Booby and Constantine Bay

On Treyarnon Point we came across some really interesting benches; one, in particular caught our eye :

Mille and Zimba enjoy exploring the warm slate of this particular bench, dedicated to

Millie and Zimba enjoy exploring the warm slate of this particular bench, dedicated to ‘the Captain and the Purple Lady’

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So from there we made our final descent down to Treyarnon Bay where we waited a few minutes for our trusty support man, Mike.

At 11.73 miles, this was our longest, yet easiest, walk so far. Once again the sun shone down on our day as we took in some of the glorious sandy beaches that this part of Cornwall has to offer. It seemed like a surfer’s paradise and the Life guards certainly had their work cut out keeping a careful watch on the many holiday makers enjoying the beautiful seas.