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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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!

Day 25 – Head to Head!

Otherwise known as St Anthony Head to Nare Head.

We set off from St Anthony Head at 9.45 – our earliest start yet. We’d struggled to even find the car park at our end point at Nare Head, because the signposting was a bit intermittent, and then we’d had trouble navigating  back to St Anthony Head. So it was quite a surprise to be setting off so promptly.

Passing above Porthbeor and along Towan beaches we felt very lucky to be walking again along these particularly beautiful beaches, both looking their best with the tide out.

This wooden post just before we dropped down onto Towan beach is known as the Wreck Post used by the coastguard in the past as a replica ship’s mast for training. Find out more here Wreck Post.

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And the weather was turning peachy!

After Towan the path was steady walking with good views of the sparkling sea. The going was very dry underfoot and the way had been strimmed clear in places.  We made good progress.

The land towards Portscatho was covered in acres of young tree plantings. What seemed to be blackthorn, mountain ash and oak, to name a few that we could identify, were just saplings with bark protection. There must be an initiative in the area to restock these types of tree, however I haven’t managed to find out anything about it.

Coming in to Portscatho at around 11.30..

..we were greeted by these wonderfully pungent wild garlic flowers..

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.. as well as these lush Agapanthus.

The path continues on past a lovely ‘wild’ flower garden.

This monument, named the Burma Star is ‘Dedicated to 26,380 men killed in the Burma war 1942 – 45 who have no known grave being denied the rights according to their comrades in death they died for all free men’.DSCF5156

Small but perfectly formed!

At just on mid-day we arrived at the tiny NCI Portscatho lookout …

…where watchkeeper on duty, John, was very welcoming, informative and interesting. We felt he must be a great asset to his lookout and the National Coastwatch organisation.

Just at the end of Porthbean beach was this pretty waterfall.

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At lunch time the weather turned really hot and we were glad of the lovely sea breeze.

We reached Carne beach at 1.15, where the signpost suggested we had just 1.5 miles to our destination at Nare Head and sure enough we made good time passing the National Trust marker at about 2.15pm

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and reaching the Nare Head car park about half an hour later.

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A steady walk, by no means our toughest, completing well over 9.5 miles this time.

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.

 

 

 

 

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 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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