Day 27 – Gorran Haven to Charlestown

Before setting off we recorded our prompt start with the photo we forgot to get on our last walk. This time there was no need for a selfie as our trusty support driver could do the honours before leaving us to it on beautiful secluded Gorran Haven beach with its inviting cafe.

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There was a little bit of road walking up out of Gorran Haven and over a style into a field full of sheep. Many of the ewes had clearly been covered by the ram judging by their yellow markings.

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The brief sunlight on the water caught my eye.

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Just before reaching Chapel Point we passed a small plaque marking the spot as Bodrugan’s Leap, followed by these beautiful cairns on Colona Beach.

Our first landmark of note, Chapel Point, is the location of 3 houses all designed by John Campbell using stone taken from the area.

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The 3 remarkable properties on Chapel Point.

Shortly afterwards we ‘hit the road’ for a bit down in to Portmellon….

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… where these remnants of tracks going down to shore at Portmellon have been left for posterity to remind us of when Lifeboats used to launch from here.

Portmellon has almost now merged with Mevagissey. The join is seamless! So we worked our way through the streets of both towns, past Mevagissey harbour…

…with its excellent fish and chips cabin, the shops and museum, and up through the lanes back out of the town.

From here on, our way started to be tougher – we hadn’t really noticed the increasingly close contour lines! – leading to challenging ups and downs. Little did we know what was ahead of us- starting with the 89 steps up out Mevagissey.

A slight lull in the going saw us heading towards Pentewan campsite and beach at around 11.45. I had visited it less than a month ago and it was much emptier now that the schools are back.

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Along the path adjacent to the road to Pentewan we passed this clump of Himalayan Balsam (thanks to Hilary’s expert knowledge!).

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Not unattractive, unfortunately it is another invasive thug of a species similar to the Japanese Knotweed everyone is familiar with.

Coming up out of Pentewan we passed its curious little church..

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..with opposite, this hidden little monument – we think the inscription must be Cornish….

…marking the Millenium.

After a very steep walk up out of Pentewan, and past this very dilapidated signpost..

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…we stopped briefly for a picnic lunch by a maize field. Just as we were galvanising ourselves to continue on our way, a couple came towards us looking dead on their feet having just come from Charlestown. They had just about enough breath to describe the terrain facing us that they had just negotiated, filling us with dread when they talked about the 168 steps that we would have to climb on our route.

Of course all their ‘ups’ would be our ‘downs’ the first of which proved to be 109 steps down. Manageable – but of course we knew what that meant!

The first serious up which we counted to be 51 steps, seemed insignificant. Was it all going to be this easy after all?

Through a short stretch of pine trees we saw these amazing pine cones on the trees.

Glancing down to the water we could see a group of black and white birds basking on the rocks. They were pretty motionless and with the sunlight reflecting on them it was difficult to tell whether the ‘white’ was just the reflected sunlight or their actual colouring.

Hilary speculated that they might be Oyster Catchers….

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…and some subsequent detective work has supported this view.

 

From here to Black Head we met some of the steep terraine we had been warned about.

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We counted 107 steps on this’up’.

This was followed by some serious woodland walking, with 93 steps down to the bottom.

Coming up out of Hallane was the next ascent.

 

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Counting steps had now become a crucial part of our progress!

At Black Head this huge granite monument to A.L.Rowse stands in recognition of his contribution to our literary landscape.

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Coming away from Black Head we were very soon faced with what looked to be our most challenging ‘up’ today. And we had been thinking the worst was over!

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To reach the ‘up’ we first had a ‘down’ of 166 steps, our longest so far.

And now for that ‘up’ – although a mere 90 steps – it was an absolute killer!

At Porthpean beach there were lots of people enjoying beautiful conditions. The 93 proper steps up from the beach caught us unawares and just added insult to injury!

This 2nd World War lookout just above the beach can still be climbed today (although not quite the way this young lad was tackling it!) and is in relatively good condition. We took a quick detour to the top and enjoyed the view, which these days is probably not as extensive due to the trees and shrubs blocking some of the vista.

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This sign marks the site of the Criniss Cliff Battery. A small gate leads in to the area, although we did not explore it today as we were so close to our destination at Charlestown.

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Reaching Charlestown at around 3pm Hilary treated us to delicious Kelly’s ice creams. So it seemed the right moment for today’s selfie!

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Our final destination in Charlestown was the NCI lookout just on the eastern headland..

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…and just as we reached it we also found our support driver waiting for us nearby. Well over 10 miles covered, although it had seemed longer with all those steps!

 

 

Day 26 – Nare Head to Gorran Haven

At last our support driver was back in the driver’s seat so we made a prompt start at 9.45, with the weather clear and the sea looking beautiful and calm with no wind.

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From the start the path had been cleared by lots of strimming and this can make quite a difference because you can see where you are stepping and the damp undergrowth can’t make your gear all wet! In the distance we could see our destination – Dodman Point.

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However the conditions started to deteriorate and very soon we were walking through rain – or possibly the clouds? Although it wasn’t cold and there was little wind. Also, unusually, there was absolutely no activity out at sea.

Just 1 hour in and we had reached Portloe which purports to be the prettiest most unspoilt harbour in the whole of the  British Isles. It certainly seemed to live up to this accolade.

A lone fisherman was making his way out.

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Looking for waymarkers to find our way out of Portloe, we were amused to see this helpful sign – spot the (deliberate!?) mistake :

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The more observant amongst you will notice that the acorn is upside down!

Soon we came across this possible old coastguard lookout. There were remnants of an old stone structure nearby which may have been the lookout referred to in Hilary’s book. However this wooden ‘shed’ is clearly not currently in use although the poster suggested it might have served as Portloe’s Pop up refreshments cafe – it’s definitely seen better days

 

Compared to some of our walks, this one did prove to be quite challenging with lots of steep terrain. But we seasoned walkers took it all in our stride! And by 11.20 we reckoned to be about half way to Dodman Point.

Towards Portholland we came across a poster declaring the area to be a Japanese Knotweed control site. We could certainly see some patches around and then as we reached West Portholland we passed this huge clump of it right on the beach.

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East Portholland was very different from West. The sea was rougher, the beach much bigger and some repair work has been done where the area seems to have suffered in the dreadful storms.

Just off the path between East Portholland and Caerhays Castle we came across this really well-preserved old Coastguard lookout. It is now used for weddings with confetti still on the ground here and there.

Just a few minutes further, after a bit of road walking,  Caerhays Castle came in to view, looking spectacular. We got the impression that it might be used for wedding receptions after the weddings having taken place at the previously mentioned disused Coastguard lookout. Even in the rain it was impossible not to be impressed.

Porthluney Cove sits just below the castle and is in a beautiful setting. Lovely though it is, we struggled up the 133 steps from the cove on to the Dodman – our toughest challenge today.

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The beautiful view from the Dodman back towards our start point.

For much of our walk we had been able to see this enormous cross on Dodman Point in the distance without realising what we were seeing.

Because we had made good progress through the day we decided to press on towards Gorran Haven – with the benefit of our trusty support driver we had the flexibility to make this late change to our plans.

The dogs took advantage of this trough – wallowing in the water to help cool themselves off.

Later we had to back track to the trough after Zymba had rolled in something dubious and we needed to clean her off!

We reached Gorran Haven car park at 3.25 still beating the support vehicle by a few minutes despite backtracking to clean off the smelly dog!

After well over 11 miles and in the car on the way home we realised we had forgotten our selfie!!!!  Next time!