Day 13 – Long Carn to Cape Cornwall

We started our walk today having driven down in sporadic fog. We knew that there was fog around and also, unfortunately, that we were not going to even attempt Lands End, after all, with the possibility of losing the light at the end of the day, now that the clocks have changed.

For the first time since we started out on our adventure, we had decided to dispense with the services of our trusty support man, Mike, and had driven ourselves down in two vehicles leaving one at Cape Cornwall and driving the other back to our start point at Long Carn.

We found the coast path easily from Long Carn, and there was still some slight fog around. The map showed us at Trevean cliffs. It was very damp and boggy underfoot and with the fog and no wind it seemed strange that we couldn’t hear the sea. There was an eerie silence and we felt very much alone in this moorland landscape. There was some evidence of the mining heritage in this area with ruined walls, chimneys and buildings.

At Portheras Cove we realised that suddenly can hear the sea and the waves were huge and crashing on to the beach! How was it that we could not hear it before?

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The Wra or Three Stone Oar

The Wra, also known as the Three Stone Oar – the sea was absolutely boiling in this area and it seems that it was these treacherous rocks that dictated the need for the lighthouse here at Pendean.

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Pendean Lighthouse

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At Boscaswell we started to feel real warmth from the sun with local flags static with surprisingly little breeze, and yet the sea was huge all along the way. There was a massive swell with spray rising in to the air meeting the remnants of the fog in places……

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…which made the old mining chimneys appear eerily through the mist!

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The site of the Geevor tin mine was coming up.

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The Geevor Tin Mine closed as recently as 1990. It is now a tourist attraction and open to the public, as well as being used for some of the filming of the popular Poldark series.

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There was plenty of information to see throughout the site. But the visitor centre does not allow dogs and so we satisfied ourselves with a wander around the site taking in the atmosphere and picking up nuggets of information.

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There are strong links with Mexican miners because many miners emigrated from Cornwall to Mexico when the mining industry started to fail here.

DSCF3905Apparently there is even a Pasty Museum in Mexico!

On our way through the slag heaps in the area we came across this extraordinary landscape of small cairns. We have not been able to find anything about its origins, but it covered about half an acre of land complete with a star shaped design. There had to be hundreds of cairns and we speculated that they were maybe a tribute to the miners who had worked in the area.P1010474 DSCF3916 DSCF3918From here on, the landscape was littered with more evidence of the Cornish mining heritage wherever we looked.

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Levant Mine and Beam Engine

Levant Mine and Beam engine. This beam engine has been fully restored by a team of volunteers and is the only Cornish beam engine anywhere in the world that is still in steam on its original mine site.DSCF3920

This circular wall acts as a barrier to an open mine shaft…

DSCF3924…there are a number in the area.

At some stages along the walk we found it difficult to identify the correct path, and a couple of times got in to tricky situations trying to find our way. Thankfully we avoided getting in to real trouble, as common sense stopped us from going mountain climbing! because we had gone a bit ‘off piste’. It was a bit scary, but we retraced our steps to find a better path avoiding the cliff edge!

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This was one spot where we nearly came a cropper!

The Botallack Count House – one of the most iconic representations of the Cornish mining heritage.P1010487

These engine houses are sited really close to the water’s edge and apparently the miners would actually be working below sea-level – it’s difficult to imagine how severe the conditions would have been that they were working under – hearing the waves crashing above them, and dodging the sea water dripping thought the shafts!

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So we thought this seemed a good place for a selfie – not our best attempt!

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At about 2.15pm we reached our destination at Cape Cornwall. After a refreshing drink from the little cabin that was open for the last day of the season, we made our way to the top of the hill, where there is a another restored mining chimney…P1010503

…and found ourselves looking down on the NCI lookout.

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NCI Cape Cornwall

The view from the lookout is spectacular and the lovely lady on watch talked to us a bit about what it is like to be a watchkeeper with NCI. In this particular spot they have to be on their toes as there is so much activity from Sennen, which is just a little further on, plus the seas are treacherous in the area and we could see some of that in evidence.

P1010504 (1)The little rocky beach at Cape Cornwall was a hive of activity on this beautiful warm autumn day. The children were rock-pooling and paddling in the shallows and everyone was enjoying the sunshine.P1010506

As we walked away from the lookout, we saw this pretty bank of Rock Samphire which was displaying its glorious autumn colours.

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Rock Samphire

Our mileage for the day was well over 7.5 miles which brings our total up to nearly 140 miles and almost half way! We will definitely get to Lands End on our next leg and well beyond.