Day 17 – Newlyn to Prussia Cove

As we got ready to set off from Newlyn we took the selfie we forgot to take last week – just for completeness. The day was overcast and cold, so we were well wrapped up.

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We wended our way through Newlyn and on in to Penzance. It wasn’t a very inspiring walk so we trudged on through the built up areas trying to take some comfort in the view of St Michael’s Mount which followed us pretty much throughout the whole walk.

Newlyn is very much a working fishing harbour and the part we walked through reflected this.

There were a few highlights, however. We couldn’t quite make out the message in this enthusiastic graffiti, but it was bright and colourful along an otherwise uninspiring stretch of the path and at least we were off the road at this point.

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Coming in to Newlyn town we spotted this imaginative use for an old pair of walking boots ……

DSCF4611…they look not unlike my own walking boots which have seen plenty of service and should perhaps be retired. At least now I have an idea what to do with them when I do hang them up.

The interesting detail on this plaque suggests that the Mayflower stopped in at Newlyn on its way to the new world.

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We passed this striking fisherman memorial in Newlyn.

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Use this link to find out more about it – Newlyn Fisherman memorial.

Coming in to Penzance this fun model gave us a smile, we think he is supposed to be publicising local fishing trips.

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And it was here that we started to get out first good view of St Michael’s Mount and this was to stay with us. I took a series of photos of the Mount as we followed the shoreline around the bay. They show very subtle changing faces of the Mount.

Starting along the beach path out of Penzance we realised that we had missed calling in to the NCI lookout in Penzance. It is set back behind the path and by the time we started looking out for it we were well passed it and unfortunately too far beyond it to sensibly turn back for a visit.

As the Causeway across to the mount came in to view we could see a couple of people braving the in-coming tide to paddle back to the mainland.

We managed to walk across the beach for part of the way and then as we headed out of Marazion I had to take a ‘comfort break’ – but this one was all about emptying the sand out of my boots – that sort of ‘comfort’! And then at Chymorvah, finally, we left the road behind.

The far side of St Michael’s Mount gives a much better view of the castle, and as we started to leave civilisation behind we looked back now and again to catch the last sight of this view of the mount.

When we got to Perranuthnoe we were able to take a true ‘comfort break’ in the public conveniences at the top end of the car park. The maintenance and servicing of these loos has been taken over by the locals. Thank you so much to the folks of Perranuthnoe!

There’s been a bit of soil erosion at Perran Sands and the path has been re-routed in places.

Take a close look at these fascinating marker posts. The tall one has got the classic acorn showing the route of the South West Coast Path …..

…….. and the shorter one has been marked over the years by walkers inserting coins of all descriptions into the crevices of the wood.

Continuing on towards Prussia Cove we came across this strange wooden pole with several holes in it and some chain links embedded in the cliff just inland of it.

Hilary’s book said this was used as one of the moorings for HMS Warspite. She ran aground in Prussia Cove, and was eventually re-floated and towed into Mounts Bay where she was broken up for scrap in 1947.

As Prussia Cove was in our sights, we chuckled over the names of a couple of coves on this final leg – Piskies Cove and Bessy’s Cove. I imagine they would have been great smuggler’s coves in their time.

And finally we remembered to take our selfie in the car park to mark the end of today’s walk. We had warmed up enough to shed some of our over-gear! We think a good 9 miles under our belts.

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With Easter coming up we are likely to have a couple of week’s off and then we’ll get back to it and crack on. Next stop Porthleven? We’ll have to see.

 

 

 

Day 16 – Penberth to Newlyn

Having set out to get as far as Mousehole, we discovered that it would be easier to park up at one of the laybys on the road from Mousehole to Newlyn. And it didn’t look like it would be too much further, so we went for it.

Back to Penberth …

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… and right from the start it was tough going. There were loads of uneven steps up out of this pretty little cove. We hadn’t really had time to get in to our stride so we’d got to the top before we thought about counting them. Suffice to say we hadn’t hit such a hard climb this side of Christmas! Hilary counted 113 going down to Porthguannon cove and we could see the equal and opposite climb up the other side!

Little did we know that this fab waterfall would be a sign of things to come. Waterfalls, streams, rivulets, puddles and all other things watery would become our feature for today! As well as really tough stretches of path.

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The steps up out of Porthguannan – 150 – proved to be even more of a killer! although the view at the top was fantastic. We hadn’t checked the likely effort for today’s walk in advance by examining the map contours – but we were hoping that the worst was behind us.

There were fewer bulk carriers to be seen moored out in Mounts Bay. There were 3 obvious ones – so we assumed that the others from last last week must have got some jobs and gone on their way.

We had spotted a lone (?mad) fisherman out on the rocks on the east side of Porthguarnan and Hilary managed to get the close up of him. Thankfully the sea was pretty easy-going today so there was little chance of him getting washed away!

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An indistinct circle marks his location right down towards the shore on the rocky outcrop.

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And here he is!

On our last walk we commented on how helpful some of the way marks had been – this one was quite the opposite!

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A pretty woodland area marked the beginning of secluded St Loy, where there are few properties but a really picturesque location, with lush greenery …P1010750… growing beside the stream …

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… which had its very own little waterfall.

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The beach at St Loy has clearly suffered from the winter storms and there was this collection of jetsam….

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…as well as this extraordinary piece of pipework randomly washed up – my walking pole shows the huge scale of it :

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Possibly some kind of unseated anchorage?

This contributed to the detour we had to take which involved a scramble across the boulders and we could see that the path, just above the beach, was impassable. On the far side of the cove the path has been completely re-routed to due subsidence.

After St Loy we came across this patch of daffodils, one of many growing wild. They seem to be a cultivated strain so have probably been discarded from farmed areas in the past. This part of Cornwall has been well-known for supplying daffodils all around the country.

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From Boscawen Point onwards the path became horrible in places – very difficult, probably the most difficult we have encountered on any of our walks – with running water, even waterfalls to negotiate, great big boulders to scramble across (up and down) and very muddy.

‘Water, water everywhere’ … and most of it seemed to be draining off the land down to the sea. This proved to be the wettest area today and we could hear little streams running everywhere around us through the undergrowth. Another waterfall was further evidence :

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We knew that there must be some 3 cornered leeks ahead as their overpowering scent gave us some advanced notice, although this was the only patch we came across today.

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There is a little lighthouse off the end of Tater-du. Apparently in 1965, after this part of the coast was the scene of more than the usual number of wrecks, it was decided to build a lighthouse here.

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The sea was calm, and looked spectacular with the sun shining on the water.

Passing more daffodils everywhere along here we came to the Derek and Jeannie Tangye nature reserve : a Place for Solitude.

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And it felt exactly that.

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Just before reaching Lamorna Cove we came across another waterfall – and this time we had to actually scramble across it; it was extremely hazardous, rocky, uneven and slippery.

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This small Cornish cross overlooking Lamorna Cove is a memorial to a student who fell to his death here in 1873.P1010768From here we staggered down over the treacherous rocky path. Just at the start of the cove we saw this sign for a public car park, although clearly it is now anything but! Perhaps it used to be, but certainly no more.

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…not if you’ve got any sense!

Lamorna seems to have been ravaged by the recent storms and there was a general air of it being in need of some TLC.DSCF4584

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We could see piles of granite quarry stones on the far side of the cove and Hilary’s book explained that they had been used in the building of the Cafe Monaco in London’s Piccadilly as well as the Bishop Rock and Wolf Rock lighthouses.

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This massive piece of jetsam had been washed up on the shore. Locals have speculated that it may have come from an oil rig.

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Just here the fast flowing Lamorna runs into the sea and at this spot we could see Gunnera in bud. Something I’ve never seen before – its huge leaves were only just starting to unfurl.

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I couldn’t resist capturing this beautiful name of one of the cottages.

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On our way up and beyond Lamorna we met these two striking Saluki dogs – Shilo (the white one) and her daughter Talula (and their owner). They looked a little too elegant and fragile to be tackling this rugged terrain!

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From the top of Carn-du there are some lovely stone steps which have been set sympathetically into the surroundings :

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Above Slinke Dean (love the name!) we passed through this woodland area marked as a nature reserve …

DSCF4598… and along the way the path was literally a stream, with yet another waterfall.

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In some places it was so boggy that we, along with some fellow walkers, struggled to keep our footing.  We discovered afterwards that someone had taken a tumble up to his elbows where the path was at its the worst. It could so easily have been us!

More pretty daffodils of a different strain adorned the path here :

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At Penzer Point the air was filled with the heady pungent scent of violets :

P1010797Just before we reached Mousehole, we passed Point Spaniard which is reputed to be where the Spaniards landed in 1595.

We arrived at Mousehole at about 2pm.

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Following the coast path through Mousehole, we took a bit of a detour along the beach to avoid some of the road, keeping St Clements Isle in sight …

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…and eventually found our way back to the car in the layby just in to Newlyn. We think about 7.5 miles this time – we have yet to calculate the distance. But it feels great to be building up our stamina, so that we can tackle more as the days grow longer. Our next leg could take us over 8 miles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 15 – Lands End to Penberth

We set off from the famous signpost at Lands End at about 10.15am. There was some sort of BMW – fest going on – 4 or 5 old to new models were taking part in a photo shoot in front of the Lands End Archway. They didn’t hang around! Once they’d been photgraphed, they were gone! Checking the BMW web site there is a round Britain relay to mark the setting up of BMW in March 1916 and they were starting from Lands End that day.

We made our way around the back of the Lands End hotel towards Greeb Farm, which is a pretty little smallholding with some livestock and craft making facilities.DSCF4503 DSCF4508 DSCF4509

Long Ships Lighthouse lies about 1 mile off the coast at Lands End and Wolf Rock – 8 miles. Both were clearly visible today for most of our walk, as were the Isles of Scilly which lie 28 miles off Lands End.

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Once again the walk presented us with particular characteristics and this time it was caves, caverns and archways. This part of the coastline was awash with these striking features.

Immediately off Lands End this one came in to view –DSCF4511

and a little further along this deep crevice was just off the beaten track :

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Hilary spotted our first Bladder Campion – of which we saw many last summer. It was a lone flower amongst a blanket of greenery, and very sheltered in the lee of some rocks.

At Mill Bay there is clear evidence of the remains of housing for a mill wheel, hence the name of the area.DSCF4515

We took advantage of some handy wooden steps down on to the beach where the dogs enjoyed a scamper around in the sand. The sand on this beach seemed to be quite large grained and appeared to be as much ground up shells, rather than anything else.

We could see this slim archway nearby

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as well as this incredible waterfall flowing onto the beach.

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Here was another smugglers cove on the beach with some interesting jetsam caught up inside. DSCF4521

It seemed to be fishing rope and a buoy caught up in the rocks way inside the cave. Brave potholers could probably explore further!

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From the far side of Mill Bay we looked back towards Carn Boel and could see more smugglers caves. DSCF4529

Hilary counted 84 steps up away from Najizal beach – it’s been a while since we’ve had to tackle a steep slope like this and I certainly felt it!

Once at the top we passed this amazingly constructed dry stone wall above Pendower Cove – with the sunlight shining through the gaps it was sculpture-like in appearance.

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We caught sight of 4 seals in the waters off Porth Loe below Gwennap Head. Although we were really too far away from them to get any decent photos, we spent an enjoyable few minutes watching them frolicking in the sea. The NCI Gwennap Head lookout was single-manned that day so did not take visitors.

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NCI Gwennap Head

Once again the lookout had made imaginative use of an old fire extinguisher for their collection box outside.DSCF4536

The watchkeeper was able to inform us that it was bulk carriers moored in the distance in Mounts Bay. You can just about make out 5 of them in the photo, but there were probably 8 or 9 visible throughout our walk. Apparently some of them have been there for weeks probably awaiting instructions to pick up their next oil consignment!

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Just along from Gwennap Head we came across these landmarkers to warn of the treacherous coastline here. Hilary read from her book that ‘The 2 daymarks help seamen locate the Runnel Stone, scene of many wrecks. If the red cone hides the black and white day mark – your boat is on the rocks!’ There is an excellent description of this area on the NCI web site.

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At Porthgwarra there is a tiny cafe which is open all year! Their blackboard mentioned sightings of a hump back whale in the area recently. This prompted us to be even more vigilant in our observations but no luck. The beach here at Carn Scathe is apparently where Poldark was filmed swimming in the first Poldark series – it is certainly a very pretty setting and seems beautifully maintained by the St Aubyn estate..

These natural caves on Porthgwarra beach were used in the past to house livestock, probably pigs.

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Just along from Porthgwarra is the private beach at St Levan where we found the remains of the St Levan’s Well.

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We took a detour out to Pedn-men-an-mere where we could look back towards Minack – which of course we would not get to see as we would skirt the outside of it. At this point, annoyingly, my camera battery ran out!! Fortunately Hilary’s was still going and in this shot you can just make out the Minack stage on the cliff face.

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Minack lies just above Porthcurno where you can find out about the story of Cornwall’s role in the pioneering days of global communications. Plus evidence of the historical telegraph works in the early 20th C.

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This plaque bears the following words –

“On the highest part of Rosepletha Cliff is a concrete base with an iron cage attached for housing a mast. The mast was erected in 1902 by the Eastern-Telegraph Company to monitor Marconi’s experiments on the Lizard. It was supplied by N. Holmans and Son Ltd of Penzance, was in three parts with a total height of 59 metres (170 feet), and had a large arial attached to its top.”

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The steep stone steps down the outside of Minack were definitely not for the faint-hearted! This is a view of part of the Minack back-stage set-up as we made our way down.

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At Porthcurno beach there were 2 more seals which appeared to be playing hide and seek with each other. It took us a while to determine that there were actually 2 of them as most of the time one would pop up at one end of the beach and then the other one at the other end, but not together. So we each kept a careful look out and eventually we saw them both at the same time! It’s a shame they don’t come out well enough in the photos!

The Cable House, which we visited, gives information about the history of the area. We did not visit the Telegraph Museum which would have taken us off track inland .

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Between Porthcurno and our destination at Penberth the path was particularly muddy and claggy and we were slipping and sliding our way along. Very different from the earlier part of our walk which was much more moorland and open, with low-lying bracken and heathers. I was very glad of my walking pole!!P1010711

We took another short detour to see if we could identify Logans Rock at Treryn Dinas. Click on this link to find out about the amusing history surrounding this rock. We were not successful in locating it, although we did pick up a stray black dog which followed us back to the car. He wasn’t too far from home according to his disc and as we had no phone signal to alert his owners, we took a chance that he would be OK.

We arrived at Penberth at about 2.30pm just as the first spots of rain came, dead on time according to the forecast! These fabulous stepping stones marked the end of our walk, a mere 6.8 miles from Lands End and another successful day.

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Day 14 – Back on the Road at Last – Cape Cornwall to Lands End

At last we are back on the road – well, path! – after a 4 month break. It felt so good. We had been in two minds whether to give it a go because although the weather forecast suggested it would be dry, it was threatening very low temperatures and we knew we would need to wrap up warm.

Having left one of the cars at Lands End we started off from Cape Cornwall at about 10.15. It was clear and dry and not as cold as we had been expecting.

There were a few bird watchers looking out for a white billed diver… apparently it was spotted in the area that day, although we didn’t see any.

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Cape Cornwall is so pretty. This little collection of fishing dingys and lobster pots were nearby as we started out – a happy reminder of the location.

The Brisons lie about 1 mile off the coast of Cape Cornwall and were clearly visible out at sea, for most of our walk that day.

In addition we often looked back to see if we could see the NCI lookout at Cape Cornwall. But most of the time it remained hidden on the other side of the headland facing away from our vantage point. All we could glimpse from our walk was the restored mining chimney on top of the cape.

Cape Cornwall is a particularly pretty spot on the Coast Path, so it was a joyful time continuing our walk. A mine shaft just off the path is beautifully protected by a Cornish wall.

The first landmark we came across was the picturesque remote Cot Valley. The photos don’t really do it justice. It was the only part of today’s walk which took us inland to cross the Cot stream which runs alongside the road down to Porth Nanvean cove.

Visible on the far side are the leats which used to serve the mining area, although they are not well maintained and are not so easy to identify close up.

There is a small road and car park giving access to this beautiful spot.

We caught our first siting of spring flowering along the way with this three cornered leek. In fact we could smell it and knew it must be in the area.

This natural cave was hidden in the hillside above Gribba Point.

We came across this novel solution to a missing kissing gate. This pallet was an adequate makeshift alternative.

The streams we crossed were fast flowing and clear – this one at Maen Dower was filled following the recent winter rains. Very different from most of our crossings last summer.

On our way to Aire Point we saw this massive lump of weather-worn granite which was the first of many striking rock formations we saw today. They all seemed to feature the familiar ‘creases’ with precariously balanced rocks and narrow crevices.

There were frequent signs of rock falls and in many places the path had been re-routed away from the unstable cliff edge.

We came across this lush patch of Samphire which will look dramatic when it flowers. We remembered that we caught the end of its flowering season last autumn on our earlier walks.

Between Gribba Point and Maen Dower we came across clever use of the existing rock profiles which offer beautiful natural resting places.

And here we saw a thoughtful yellow waymark arrow carved into the rock, just visible in the photo. In places the path has been reinforced with beautiful slabs of granite, similar to these steps.

The following are examples of the fantastic rock formations formed from weathered granite with natural fissures – mostly on the stretch between the Cot Valley and Aire Point just before we dropped down on to Whitesand Bay.

On Whitesand Bay we found this motley collection of flotsam and jetsam. Shame about the wellies – they were really sturdy and had lots of wear left in them!Hera we are practicing our selfies with the shore behind us …..

……and then the same spot with the sea behind us.

I recognised the beautiful beach as being the one at the base of the drop down from Trevedra Farm where Mike & I have spent many fun caravanning holidays in the past. I don’t think we knew it was Whitesand Bay at the time. But the beach has changed in shape, probably from the winter storms over the last few years. These boulders have been nearly covered by the sand and then the fast flowing stream has started to cut its path through them revealing this unusual effect.

Another sign of spring on our walk – a patch of primroses.

The sunlight cast this glorious glow onto the sands at Sennan Cove.

We came across this immaculately maintained Morris Traveller parked up at Sennan.

Apparently it was one owner since new – and much loved. The passenger had learnt to drive in it over 50 years ago!

A couple of examples of the variety of waymarks we came across. There had been so many changes to the route due to unstable cliffs and rock falls, it was vital that the paths were well marked.

Just above Sennan the National Trust have restored this – ex Coastguard lookout.

Cliffs in this area have been used by the marines for training for years, as this plaque explains and climbers were in evidence.

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Looking back at the National Trust ex-Coastguard lookout above Sennan Cove.

Just before reaching lands end. More extraordinary rock formations.

And we made it – Lands End

Lands End was a bit bleak and we struggled to find any refreshments. Most places were closed. Luckily the Do’nut man was open so we replenished our energy levels with a scrumptious bag of freshly made doughnuts.

This was probably our shortest walk at 6.45 miles, but it was a fascinating stretch and it felt so good to be back on our way.