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.

 

 

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