Day 30 – Whitsand Bay Hotel to Cremyll

This was to be our last day of walking the Cornish leg of the South West Coast Path and we managed our earliest start ever at 9am. Whitsand Bay Hotel was looking beautiful in the fresh morning light…

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…as was the sea and the coastline…

…with Rame Head in the distance – a well-known local landmark which we would reach about halfway along our walk today

The air was fresh with dew on the ground and the sun glistening on the water.

From Whitsand Bay the path took us alongside the golf course and we just managed to avoid a golf ball in the rough which was being eagerly saught by a hapless golfer. We moved along smartly before he could accuse us of disturbing it!

This odd flock of sheep caught our eye because of their motley collection of mis-shaped horns.

There was a sharp northerly wind as we crossed fields which are sometimes used as a practice firing range at Tregantle – although not today.

 

Beyond Tregantle and this very informative noticeboard drew our attention to the wildlife of the area…

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.. as the path now took us along the road for quite a bit, walking through Freathy and Tregonhawke. We kept catching glimpses of an off road path below us but there were numerous signs warning of the path being unstable and should only be used at our own risk etc. So we erred on the side of caution and continued along the road until directed otherwise. Locals must be using  some bits of the path to access the many chalets which are dotted all along the cliff edge above Whitsand Bay which stretches for about 5 miles.

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Back on the path at last and we passed this pretty Campion still in flower :

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Right on the path about half way between Tregonhawke and Rame Head this solidly built, but incredibly run down, building is a bit of an eye-sore! We were curious as to its origins.

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At around 11.15 with the tide in and some real warmth from the sun, the sea was looking calm and benign. We were nearly at Polhawn Fort – well known in the area as a venue for weddings and events. I’ve used a library photo here as it’s almost impossible to get decent shots of it from the coast path .

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Looking back along the bay the sunlight was playing on the bracken which, in its autumn colours, appeared brilliant orange. Unfortunately my photos don’t reflect the glorious burnt sienna tones that I was trying to capture.

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Although the views back across the bay were impressive.

Reaching Rame Head at about 11.45 we pressed smartly on with the NCI lookout above us on our left..

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and the chapel on our right ..

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The path was mercifully dry and easygoing and we reached Penlee Point at 12.25.

From Penlee Point to Cawsand there is a long woody section and we found ourselves accompanied by the rustling sound of the autumn leaf fall underfoot. This small poignant memorial was discretely leaning against a tree by the side of the path.

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Cawsand was looking clean, bright and fresh on this beautiful day – although it was much more windy on this side of the Rame Peninsula and this intrepid sailer was trying to make their way out from the beach at Cawsand, with some difficulty.

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This mosaic in Cawsand shows a tiny representation of the awful impact that Man makes to the waters around our coastlines.

And this marker on one of the buildings in the town shows where the border between Devon and Cornwall used to lie in the town of Cawsand itself.

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Approaching the Mount Edgcombe estate another woodland stretch was marked by the numerous fallen trees and scrub…

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..forcing the path to be diverted in places.

Reaching the more landscaped areas of the Mount Edgcombe Country Park we passed these various ‘follies’ which are very well-maintained and proved a popular attraction on this lovely autumn day.

 

We were well inside the Plymouth Sound by now where there were many little sails as well as a huge warship.

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The last stretch of the path took us alongside this pretty landscaped lake and through the gardens past their beautiful fountain which was sparkling in the sunlight.

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Finally we reached Cremyll at about 2.30pm where we celebrated with hot drinks from the garden cafe while we waited for our pick up.

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Over 13 miles today making our total for all the walks over 300 miles.

So after 30 walks and 300 miles we are hanging up our boots for a while as we work out what our next ‘challenge’ is going to be. Millie and Zymba are perhaps breathing a sigh of relief – as for every one of our miles they have probably bounded at least 3 times as far! but they have certainly added to our adventures along the way.

And what an excellent adventure it has certainly been!

We have had such fun, and been stronger and more determined than I think we realised we would have to be. For the most part we have had spectacular weather and seen such beautiful scenery that it would be impossible to do it justice in these bloggs. We have discovered hidden gems of coves and harbours which only the locals are lucky enough to enjoy.  And we have shared ups and downs throughout that have been a special pleasure to me and I hope Hilary as well which we could not have anticipated when we first started out. It is going to be difficult to match the huge unadulterated joy that we have experienced, with whatever exploits come next.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Day 29 -Lizzen (Lansallos) to Whitsand Bay Hotel

With another early start at 9.15 amongst some sheep being herded past alongside us as we donned walking boots, we found our start point (with no help from my poor directions!) and set off on another beautiful morning to walk the 3/4 mile or so from nearby Lansallos, back to the Coast Path, where we had branched off at the end of our last walk.

By 9.30am we were back on track and quickly reached this day mark..

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..referencing the bell buoy out at sea marking the Udder Rock which is exposed at low tide.

This day mark lies on a really steep stretch and, including the steps below it, we counted 100 steps from the day mark up – a pretty tough call so early in the walk.

With the few steps down in between there were 92 mean steps further up. It felt like (literally) 2 steps up and 1 step down along this stretch. Then at Raphael Cliff a hefty 159 steps took us down again – although these steps were placed at really comfortable intervals so we made short work of them. Those contour lines certainly worked us hard along here and we hadn’t really got going!

At Chapel (pronounced Chaypel) Point we took a short diversion reaching this odd little shed which looked out to sea, but served no other discernable purpose.

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Reaching the outskirts of Polperro at 10.40 we came across the restored Net Loft…

..which has long been a local landmark. On our last walk we had considered trying to reach Polperro , but we now realised that would have been way too optimistic, given how challenging these few miles had been.

Polperro is a pretty little fishing harbour and we felt very much on familiar territory as we have both walked this bit of the coast at various times.

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Making sure not to take the Reubens Walk path, named after a popular local who loved to walk these parts, we soon came to the diversion which takes you inland away from a badly damaged stretch of the path. This involves a really steep road down in to Talland and we couldn’t decide which direction would be worse to walk this, given how steep it was.

Beyond Talland the going became dry and easygoing, so we pressed on at a fair old rate of knots reaching the Hore Stone at 11.55.

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Hore Stone with Looe Island in the background (library picture).

It’s quite steep going after the Hore Stone, but with Looe Island now in our sights and Hannafore and even Seaton beyond, we moved smartly on.

 

The tide was well out at Hannafore and the view of the island was peachy on this beautiful day.

Passing the popular statue of Nelson, the seal who regularly used to swim up the Looe River…

… we crossed Looe Bridge at just on 1pm.

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On Looe beach the sea was so calm and inviting there were people enjoying a swim, without wet suites! and after 145 killer steps up from Looe beach, which looked amazing today..

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..we made our way on through Plaidy which took us on the road for a bit.

On reaching Millendreath at 1.30pm or so we were pleasantly surprised by its appearance. It used to look quite drab and run down, but  now it’s had a bit of a face lift and looks lovely compared to what it used to be.

This novel charity collection point on the way up out of Millendreath caught my eye!

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Then the path continues inland through a pretty woodland avoiding the Monkey Sanctuary.

At this point, as Seaton came in to view..

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..I made the rather reckless decision to extend the end point of our walk. Our original finish point had been Downderry, only about 1 mile on from Seaton and which we were likely to reach at about 3pm. So without even consulting Hilary, I phoned ahead and instructed our support vehicle to meet us at Whistand Bay Hotel instead.

Almost as soon as I had made this decision the path started to play tricks on us by turning East to West, ie. the wrong direction, I assume to graduate what would otherwise have been very steep . Nevertheless it was unnerving walking with the sea on our left and apparently away from our destination. Thankfully these couple of stretches were few and very soon we had the sea on our right again as it should be. Hilary found this whole thing rather amusing because not long before I had been moaning about how tired I was! But we had been talking about how far we still had to go to finish the whole of the Cornish part of the Coast Path and it was looking hopeful that we would be able to complete it in just one more day, so I was keen to get some more miles behind us if we had the time.

 

We made quick work of the walk along the beach from Seaton to Downderry, but curiously, from Downderry onwards we shared the path with this motley collection of sheep which seemed bemused by us interlopers.

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From here on we kept getting glimpses of Plymouth in the distance which was both reassuring but also tinged with sadness, as that definitely means we are nearly at the end of this adventure.

 

On reaching the outskirts of Portwrinkle we just had to find our way through the back streets to the hotel where we were greeted by very welcome cool drinks and our lift home.

Well over 16 miles again and the end of another beautiful day. We’re going to miss this!