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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