Day 28 – Charlestown to East Coombe

This was really a walk of two halves with most of my record of the walk, photos and recordings, occurring between our start at Charlestown and the ferry quay at Fowey. From Polruan to the end I think we were distracted by events and so I took few photos of that stretch and recorded little of our progress.

We had a world record start time of 9.15am as we are so much closer to home. We had finished the last walk by exploring the NCI lookout ..

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…and visitor centre, so we headed straight off.

The day started beautifully warm as we worked our way through the Carlyon Bay complex. This involves the hotel itself with the golf course and beach facilities (if you can call them that).

It’s difficult to tell what’s happening on the beach. It’s a beautiful stretch of golden sands marred by abandoned containers, areas cordoned off by Herris fencing and half finished brick walls.

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It’s well-known that there has been huge controversy about the Carlyon Bay development over the years which has delayed the plans for some sort of sophisticated hotel and leisure park all along this beach. The Carlyon Bay web site implies that it is much further ahead than the reality suggests. We were surprised that the nearby car park would give people easy access to the beach which is just an eyesore at the moment.

The coast path takes you right alongside, in and out of, the Carlyon Bay golf course ( which looks like a good course – but what do we know!) and continues right up to the start of the old china clay workings in Par.

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A sharp left at Spit Point at 10am, and with the china clay works on our right, we continued along an enclosed tarmac footpath around the works with the  railway on our left. The works seem to have been left to go to rack and ruin – they are a pretty dismal sight.

Once in Par we came out on to the road trying to find our way through the back streets ….

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….looking out for ‘house no 52’ where we would turn right to get off the road again. This became a bit of a trial as we ended up on the wrong road through Par and had to back-track when we realised we had missed our turn.

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The path from house No 52!

Eventually we found our way through the dunes at the back of Par beach which is also not the most inspiring stretch of sand…

 

… with an overwhelming drone in the background coming from the works, now behind us, where loads of smoke was billowing out of one of the chimneys – not a very inviting scene.

As we crossed the sands the grey sky darkened and we could see a squall heading our way. It blew past drenching us in just a few minutes. In typical English weather fashion, it was there and gone and once the clouds cleared it was followed by blue skies and a beautiful rainbow.

Thank goodness for Hilary’s book today – it was only with its help that we had managed to negotiate the ins and outs of Par.

Now back on the path away from Par we saw this intrepid fisherman on the rocks just off the coast path on the far side of Par sands.

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By 11.15 we were above the hidden gem that is Polkerris…

…and after a short woodland walk with 115 steps going down in to the village we then encountered more steps and a very steep path up through some woods and out of Polkerris.

Heading in to Autumn in places we were surrounded with colour from berries rather than flowers. Even Zymba was tempted to try!

Just at the outcrop called Little Gribbin we caught our first glimpse of the very distinctive daymark on well known Gribbin Head.

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Following this we headed towards Poldridmouth Cove at Menabilly which we approached on a very civilised short stretch of board walk. It’s a pretty setting where Poldridmouth Beach house can be seen which is one of the author Daphne du Maurier’s favourite settings.

After Menabilly we came across a field of cattle with loads of young and we weren’t sure how they would react to the dogs, so just to be on the safe side, we cut inland through Coombe and rejoined the coast path just before reaching Readymoney beach at a little woody section on the outskirts of Fowey, just at the sign for St Catherine’s Castle.

We reached Readymoney beach at 1.25pm and from here we knew it would be a short spell to the road as we headed in to Fowey town to catch the ferry to Polruan. We had a little further to go than expected as, at this time of year in the off season, the ferry goes from the Town Quay and not its summer departure point at the Whitehouse slipway. However as we reached the Town Quay the ferry was just arriving so our timing was good and we hopped aboard.

The ferry crossing only takes a few minutes and we were soon wending our way up out of Polruan,  with the help of this very clear marker showing our path through the town.

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Stopping in at NCI Polruan for a brief visit before pressing on, the day was now bright and beautiful and the lookout was very warm for the watchkeeper who had an amazing view out over Polruan and the Fowey harbours.

Blackbottle Rock stands out as a major landmark in the area.

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And it’s not difficult to see which way the wind blows around these parts!

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At the far side of Lantic Bay at the ‘neck’ of  Pencarrow Head we were hugely grateful to ‘Martha’ whose bench gave us a place to rest while we caught our breath after negotiating the really steep slope up to this point. Thankfully it hadn’t been steps as these can often make the going far harder.

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At this point the Coast Path was not obviously signed so we walked out on to Pencarrow Head for a short distance and then cut down to rejoin the path on the far side.

At about 3.30pm we passed the path signed for Lansallos and pressed on to our agreed destination at East Coombe, although we knew we were running a bit late by now.

The path up to East Coombe is signposted from the Coast Path, but our attempts at finding our way to meet our support driver became fraught with obstacles. The path took us through another field of cattle which we weren’t happy about so we attempted a detour which proved trickier than it first looked. Skirting a field being ploughed (probably trespassing!), slipping and sliding down a scrubby stream, clambering over fencing and traipsing over farmland to get back onto a decent track – we ended up slightly off target, but managed to meet up nonetheless.

At over 16.5 miles this was our longest walk to date, but we felt very grateful to arrive intact and well on the way to completing our stated objective! We calculate just 2 more days of walking to the finish – and then what are we going to do!

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