Day 23 – Durgan to Falmouth Quay

We were hopeful for good weather as we parked up at the Durgan Car Park. The previous day had been one of the most ‘mizzley’ either of us could ever remember. Drizzle and cool mist hadn’t lifted all day and one could be forgiven for feeling hard done by on that mid summer’s day.

Today, however, was looking up and our plan was to get down to the shoreline from Durgan car park, so we could honestly say that we had covered the full Coast Path.

This interesting ‘dunny’ in Durgan caught our eye just as we set off at 10.25am. We weren’t sure whether it is actually still in use!

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As we looked back towards the Helford Passage we could see this collection of yachts at their moorings. Presumably yesterday’s weather had been so bad that no-one had sailed off and they were all still there today. However it was still looking as spectacular as last time.

Much of the next stretch is through light woodland with dappled shade, from where we could still see the glistening waters of the Helford River.

At around 12 we were coming in to Maenporth where there were a few people on this lovely sandy beach. The wind was getting up but this didn’t seem to deter a few hardy souls braving the sea, and there was still plenty of warmth in the sun when it broke through. This funny cafe name gave us a smile.

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For most of our walk we could see this bulk carrier moored out in the bay.

There were not too many highlights on our walk this time, but this sign intrigued us as we continued on through another woodland section.

As we approached Swanpool the wind really whipped up and on the outskirts of Falmouth we could see Pendennis Castle in the distance.

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We reached Queen Mary gardens at 1pm and continued on along the main drag towards Falmouth proper. On the road there is this curious miniature gatehouse which you walk under as it lies across the pedestrian footpath. It seems too small to serve any practical purpose but it is perfectly formed!

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Reaching the car at Pendennis Point this elegant cruiser could still be seen in the bay – it seems to have been there all day – perhaps it is a floating advertisement for Pendennis luxury yachts which are made in the nearby docklands area.

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We pressed on past Falmouth Docks heading towards the quayside from where we would pick up the ferry across to St Maws and then Place, next time….

…and we chose this spot for our selfie, with the RFA Cardigan Bay in the background.

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A really helpful lady at Custom House Quay gave us lots of useful information regarding the various ferries, costs, times etc. So armed with timetables, leaflets and local maps, our plan is to have a jolly day out taking in as many of the Falmouth ferries as possible including the ones that connect us to the next bit of the Coast Path. So when we start walking again we only have to go from the ferry stop at Place on the other side.

At 3.10pm we were back at Pendennis Car Park ready to retrace our convoluted route back to Durgan and the other car. Another successful day having done well over 11.5 miles including our various extra bits.

 

 

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Day 22 – Porthoustock to Durgan

We set off at about 10am from Porthoustock on a dull and gloomy morning but hopeful that the weather could only improve. Interestingly, even though Porthoustock does not seem to have a lot going for it, we, nonetheless loved these pretty thatched cottages at the beginning of our walk which were beautifully garlanded by climbing roses.

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From Porthoustock the Coast Path took us inland away from the sea, along local roads and across country for a bit. We passed a vineyard which we determined must be making cider given the apple orchards and the signs we saw celebrating cider apples.

As the coast path rejoined the sea at Porthwallow the sun started to break through and we both felt that we were overdressed for the conditions, but whereas I was wearing layers and could strip down a bit, Hilary had to press on regardless. It’s always difficult to know what layers to wear when the temperature has been so unpredictable. Still, we could see the sea at last and everything was looking brighter.

Hilary’s book informed us that locally Porthallow is pronounced P’raalla, which made us wonder whether Porthoustock is known as P’roustock.

We came across these funny little yellow flowers which we couldn’t identify.

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They were a little past their best, but maybe someone out there has an idea of what they might be.

In Porthallow the local pub, The Five Pilchard Inn, has these paint samples on the side as if they are looking for input from the locals as to what colour to repaint it.

DSCF5009It’ll be interesting to see what colour they go for. Hopefully not the pink!

In P’raalla there is a striking monument marking this place as being the mid point of the whole of the South West Coast Path.

Not strictly relevant to us, but worthy of a mention as it is so beautiful.

As we rose up and away from P’raalla the blue sky cleared and we started to feel how mild it had become and how overdressed we both were!

At around 10.45 with the sun breaking through the heady scent from the meadowsweet was all around us and the sea was looking more like the Mediterranean.

From here to Nare Point which we reached at around 11.30 we enjoyed beautiful sea views and easy walking.

We popped in to the NCI lookout at Nare Point and spent a few minutes chatting to James the watchkeeper on duty. NCI Nare Point is normally a two man watch, but they are short of watchkeepers at the moment and so carry out single man watches. It is probably one of the lowest lying lookouts that we have visited on our walks.

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Reaching Gillan Harbour we started to look out for the stepping stones which we believed to be our way across to St Anthony in Meneage. In fact the signposts directed us across at the appropriate place and because the tide was out, we could see the stepping stones which marked our way. Unfortunately they looked too slippery to be safe to use, so we doffed walking boots and socks, rolled trousers up and waded across through seaweeed and rocks to the other side. What an adventure!

Beady-eyed Hilary spotted hundreds of these weird tiny (each about 3mm) blue/grey organisms in one of the rockpools. They were moving around in a mass within the confines of the little puddles.

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They turn out to be Seashore springtail.

St Anthony in Meneage is a pretty, isolated little village where sailing seems to be a very popular past-time. There were plenty of vessels being cleaned up ready for the summer season.

We were a bit confused by the following signeage.

We opted for the Dennis Head loop but it proved to be just that – a loop! Following a maze-like path with no views, before long we found ourselves back at the beginning again and none the wiser. Hilary’s book informed us that we should have discovered a prehistoric earthwork with a square royalist fortification with gun emplacements at the corners, making the loop worth the extra effort. Chuckling at our obvious lack of observation skills, we put it down to experience and pressed on.

From here on we lost our view of the sea and at 1pm through fields and woodland we headed for Helford and the car.

Just coming into Helford we passed this little collection of bottles and shells which have been gathered together, presumably from the seashore and have been put imaginatively on display in the hope of making a few pence from passers by.

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We arrived at the car park at Helford at 1.45pm. Our plan was to take a return ferry crossing so that the start of our next walk would be the north side of the Helford River. At Helford we waited with others for the little ferry which crosses to and fro – beckoned by the big orange marker which calls it from the other side.

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It’s only a few minutes on the ferry, but great fun.

Because we were so early we checked out the map and decided to walk on a bit on the other side until we reached Durgan where there is a car park for next time.

At Durgan we rested a bit waiting for our hot drinks to cool down and enjoyed the sunshine. It’s not far to Durgan, but with the ferry crossing as well we added nearly 2 miles to our day and altogether clocked up about 10.5 miles.

At 3.55 we were back on the ferry to Helford and home.

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The day had become sparkling and clear showing the Helford River at its absolute best.