42. Porthcurno to Cape Cornwall

I parked at Cape Cornwall in the NT car park and walked the mile into St Just. I had to make use of two buses today to get me back to Porthcurno. The first was the West Penwith Community Bus which took me to Lands End. As the only passenger I had a nice chat with the driver on the short journey. My second bus was the stagecoach #1 bus which was heading back to Penzance via Porthcurno.

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Day marks above Porthgwarra

It was quite a breezy and chilly start to the walk as I ascended out of the small valley up towards the Minack theatre. The theater was not open this morning and I was unable to catch a glimpse inside. The first settlement I come to is Portgwarra which sits in a small valley, there is a not a great deal there and I do not linger as the wind is very chilly. I ascend onto a fairly flat area. Although there are a few ups and downs, it is quite easy underfoot. I note two large day marks, which identify the position of the Runnel Stone, a scene of many wrecks.

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Sea cliffs near Gribba Point

This whole part of the coast is famous for its blocky granite coastline with a number of impressive sea-cliffs and caves. In the far distance I can make out the buildings of Lands End. The drops and ascends a number of steep valleys, but I happy that I will soon pass around, what I would describe a milestone in the shape of Lands End.

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Approaching Lands End

Although I had been a number of times to Cornwall, this would be my first visit to Lands End. But before I reach Lands End I pass a small farm/small holding with a small number of Vietnamese Pot-bellied pigs which I always find amusing. Land’s End does not offer a great deal, but I do get a good view out towards the Longships lighthouse and a photograph opportunity of perhaps one of the most photographed places in the UK, the finger-post pointing to John O’Groats.

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Lands End
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Sennen Cove

I quickly walk over to Sennen Cove and can now make out Cape Cornwall in the distance, it does not look that far away, but is still some 4 -5 miles. I descend the steep slopes into Sennen Cove, there are a few hardy souls out on the surf as I also drop onto the beach of Whitesands Bay. At this point a heavy rain shower arrives, which is with me all the way to Cape Cornwall. As I approach the Cape, Cornwall’s industrial heritage makes a re-appearance with a number of fenced-off mine shafts and the odd chimney. I complete the walk in a leisurely 3hrs and 50mins.

 

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Cape Cornwall

 

 

 

 

 

 

Distance today = 11.5 miles
Total distance =   621.5 miles

 

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41. Penzance to Porthcurno

I am away quite early from my B&B on the seafront in Penzance. Its a chilly sunny start, with rain showers forecast for the rest of the day. I make my way to the bus stop to catch the bus to Porthcurno. However, I can see no bus listed for this time. Grrr! I decide to carry on walking towards Porthcurno and get a bus back from there to Penzance. I don’t have any idea what time the buses go from there, so I decide to take a risk and see how it goes.

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Looking across Newlyn harbour towards Penzance

The long walk along the promenade towards Newlyn is obstructed by a series of construction projects on the promenade itself. In no time I have entered Newlyn and walked around the harbour. I pass the large fish market and the impressive new harbour specifically built for the fishing fleet. I can see St Michaels Mount across the bay, soon I will turn south and lose sight of it. Not long after I get caught in a short sharp rain shower. I take shelter under a small tree which keeps me dry.

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Mousehole

Just as approach Mousehole, I pass the memorial and site of the Penlee Lifeboat, which was tragically lost in 1981 while attempting to rescue crew from the coaster Union Star. I enter the charming and typical Cornish village of Mousehole with its tight and closely packed streets. I climb up a steep hill out of Mousehole. I pass the small hamlet of Lamorna and continue towards the oddly named Tater-du lighthouse. The cliffs are now composed of typical granite blocks.

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Cobble beach at Paynters Cove
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Penberth Cove

At Paynters Cove the path drops down to the cobble beach and I walk over the large cobbles for about 60 metres. There are a number of rusty wrecks and other debris from shipwrecks on the beach. I arrive at Penberth Cove, with its large 19th century capstan and fishing boats. The hamlet is often painted because of its unspoilt beauty. I round Cribba Head and walk above large granite cliffs down to Porthcurno. I see where the old cables from the late 19th century come ashore. I want to explore the area, however, just as I arrive in the car park so does a bus. The bus is going back to Penzance and I don’t know when the next will be. So I hop on and enjoy a lovely ride back to Penzance on the top deck. The walk has taken 4.25 hrs.

Distance today = 11.5 miles
Total distance =   610 miles

 

40. Porthleven to Penzance

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Porthleven

I arrive in Penzance ahead of two walking days that will eventually take me around Lands End and onto the north coast of Cornwall. It is very windy, but sunny when I park up and wait for the bus to Portleven.

I know the first half of todays walk is going to be up and down, and so it was as I made my way out to Tregear Point. Here I pass a small monument with white cross to all those that have been lost at sea and the passing of the Gryll’s Act of 1808 which stated that any body washed up on the shore would be laid to rest in consecrated ground.

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Mine workings at Trewavas Head

The path rises and falls all the way out to Trewavas Head, where I pass a number of old mine buildings and chimneys. All of the buildings are in a derelict state, apart from one, The Wheal Prosper mine, which has had work carried out on it by its owners, The National Trust.

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Cudden Point
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Beach walking near Perranuthnoe

As I descend towards Praa Sands I can clearly see my journey’s end across St Michaels Bay to Penzance. I can also see the headland heading out towards Lands End in the far distance. The walk along Praa sands is very easy-going, at Sydney Cove I climb back up to the path and continue on past Prussia Cove, named after a well-known smuggler. The path continues to rise and fall past Perranuthnoe all the to the village of Marazion. Here I follow the path down to the foreshore and walk a short section over large boulders.

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St Michaels Mount

At Marazion, the easy walking begins, starting with a walk through the streets of the village and then onto a long, paved path sweeping around to Penzance in the distance. The causeway out to St Michaels Mount is visible, but having made the journey across to St Micahels Mount some 36 years ago I decide to continue onto Penzance and my B&B. The walk has taken some 5.25hrs.

Distance today = 14 miles
Total distance =   598.5 miles

 

39. Porthleven to Lizard

The last day of my three-day walk around the Lizard. Today is going to be a relatively short walk from Porthleven south to the village of Lizard. I would be making use of my moped again, so I intended to first drive to the Lizard, drop off the  moped then drive to Porthleven and walk back.

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Looking back at The Loe

It was an overcast morning when I first set off. I’d manage to find a free car park just on the edge of the village. I follow a tarmac road towards Highburrow where the road ends. I walk alongs a  newly constructed path, due to the many recent landfalls along this stretch of the coast. The path drops down to Loe Bar, a short raised section of beach which holds back the largest  body of freshwater in Cornwall, The Loe.

I climb off the beach continuing south-east. I pass a small memorial, with a white cross dedicated to the 100 or so people lost when HMS Anson was beached in a storm in 1807. I continue along a very level path all the way to the hamlet of Winnianton. Here I find the church of St Willwalloe at Gunwalloe. The church is quite an unusual shape and looks to be into the dune system here. I do not pay a visit, but continue. I pass into another small sandy beach with a minor road. The path soon leaves the road and climbs steadily up a gentle rise to a monument. I am just above Poldhu Cove and this is the site of Marconi’s wireless station, the location where the first transatlantic radio message was sent in 1901.

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Gunwalloe Church
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Mullion Cove

I walk around a former large hotel, now converted into a retirement home. A short distance on, I pass another hotel above Mullion Cove. The coastal rock formation have suddenly become very dramatic, with a number of large sea-stacks guarding the entrance to the Cove. I continue on along grassy paths with little or no elevation. It has become very sunny now and with the absence of wind it feels just like spring. The dramatic coastline continues with rock of many different colours on show. I pass Soap Rock, previously mined/quarried for Soapstone or talc.

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Kynance Cove

At Kynance Cliff I head due east and drop down into Kynance Cove, one of the Cornish ‘honey-spots’. The cafe down by the beach is very busy and there are many people walking along the beach and exploring the various small inlets. I drop down to the beach nad climb up the far side. I pass a number of Choughs, with their distinctive red legs and beak.

At Caerthillian Cove, I reach the point where I had finished yesterdays walk, so I follow a public footpath into Lizard. The walk has taken 3.75hrs.

Distance today = 13 miles
Total distance =   584.5 miles

 

 

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38. Coverack to Lizard

My second day of a 3 day trip to the Lizard. Today would be a tough walk with multiple ascents and descents and the weather would play a part as the walk began in grey, cold, windy and wet conditions.

This part of the Lizard is not covered well by public transport, so it was a case of driving to the Lizard village to park then ride my moped to Coverack where I would begin my walk.

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Coverack

One of the great attractions of the Lizard is its geology and the unique appearance of ophilites and other rarely seen rocks such as Serpentine. Ophiolites are thought to be part of the earths oceanic crust and upper mantle. At Coverack the ancient Moho is visible and was originally sited some 5 to 8km below the oceans and forming the boundary between the Earth’s Crust and the Mantle. I did not search out the ancient Moho, as I suspected I would have to get along along the beach somehow. As the tide was in, this would have not been possible. I continue around Dolor Point and onto Chynhalls Point with its Iron Age Fort.

The Path gradually climbs the Chynhalls Cliffs which lead out to Black Head. Here is an enclosed lookout point, now converted into a small information centre with views all along the coast. Unfortunately, the views are not so good this time of the morning with mist, rain and squalls limiting the views. I do however, get some respite here from the elements before continuing my journey. After another 2 to 3 miles I come to Kennack Sands and it is here that Serpentine is seen in pebbles, cobbles and boulders of various sizes on the beach. This metamorphic rock has beautiful colouring with reds and greens showing up when the rock is polished or wetted. I carry a few samples home with me to lacquer and preserve the striking colours.

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Cadgwith
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Devils Frying Pan

I press on passing through the small fishing village of Cadgwith and a little distance on I pass a large collapsed sea cave with its sea-arch still visible – this is the popularly named Devil’s Frying Pan. At Kilcobben Cove I pass above the recently (2011) resited Lifeboat station with its impressive funicular lift down the steep cliff face to the station itself. I pass the Bass Point with its large look-out station and begin to walk westwards.

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The Lizard lifeboat station

In the near distance I can see a large white building housing the Lloyds Signal Station where incoming vessels were given orders through semaphore about their movements. About 100m further on I pass the restored Lizard Wireless Station, now owned by the National Trust and where Marconi did a lot of his pioneering work on wireless telegraphy in the wooden shack.

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Lloyds Signal Station
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Lizard Wireless station

I head towards and around the Lizard Lighthouse and thence to the Lizard itself, with a visitors shop and car park. I pass a number of visitors who seem to have appeared along with the sun. Although strictly speaking this is not the actual Lizard Point, it seems to be the popular choice. The actual Lizard Point is about 400m west of the popular choice. I head around the Lizard and begin walking north. When I reach Caerthillian Cove I head in land along a public footpath into Lizard village and the end of my walk. It has taken 5 hrs.

 

 

 

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Looking back to “Lizard Point” from the actual Lizard’s Point

 

Distance today = 13 miles
Total distance =   571.5 miles

 

37. Coverack to Helford

Today was going to be the first day of a three-day trip to walk around the Lizard Peninsula. I was basing myself in the small village of St Keverne, at the Three Tuns Inn. St Keverne is a quiet little village not far from the sea. The village was very prominent in 1898 when 106 poeople onboard the liner Mohegan lost their lives when the ship struck the infamous Manacles reef. Most of the unfortunate victims of the disaster were buried in a mass grave in St Keverne.

The Lizard is not that well served by public transport so I load my moped into the Doblo van. The first port of call was Helford where I dropped the moped off. It was free to park my moped here. I then drove to Coverack, I also found free parking for the Doblo as well in a small local car park with sweeping views up the Lizard coast.

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Sign at Porthallow or Pr’alla

The walking for the first couple of miles was very easy-going. I passed the now disused Dean quarries, which used to quarry for Gabbro. There is still extensive quarrying on this section of the coast, and even though this quarry was now closed other quarries remained in use and would account for two major detours inland to get around them. Upon reaching Godrevy Cove the path headed inland on the first of the detours through the small hamlet of Rosenithon and then back towards the

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The village of Porthallow or Pr’alla

coast at Porthoustock. The second detour from Porthoustock pointed back inland again for over a mile before I dropped down again to the coast and the small village of Porthallow (pronounced Pr’alla locally). The local pub, The Five Pilchards was still closed, but I was amused to see a sign with an elective range of names associated with the village.

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Damaged road at Gillan Creek
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View across the Helford to Helford Passage
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The village of Helford
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The Shipwrights Arms in Helford

I climb above the cliff-line and continue walking north towards Nare Head over open fields. In the distance I can now make out part of Falmouth. I head inland following the course of the Gillan Creek. At low tide it is/ or was possible to cross the  Creek at Low tide, but crossing is now not advised. Anyway, I could not see a way across without getting my feet wet. So it’s a 2.5mile detour to get around the creek. The going is easy and as I round the head of Gillan Creek I continue along a narrow road. The road has suffered some damage with recent floods and is closed to traffic, but not for those on foot. I pass through the small village of St. Anthony-in-Meneage and walk out towards Dennis Head. The view is quite extensive now out across the mouth of the Helford River towards Falmouth. The final two miles into Helford is along the banks of the Helford and through trees. I eventually emerge into the picturesque village of Helford with it’s lovely cottages and thatched roof pub, the Shipwrights Arms. The walk has taken 5 hours. I ride my moped back to Coverack to pick up the van.

 

 

 

Distance today = 13 miles
Total distance =   558.5 miles

 

36. Falmouth to Helford Passage

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Unloading the moped at Helford Passage

Today is a short walk from Falmouth to Helford Passage. As public transport is not readily available I drive to Helford Passage and park my Doblo van in a car park next to the Ferry Boat Inn. I then use my moped to drive back towards Falmouth from where I begin my walk.

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Falmouth Harbour

Falmouth is a very interesting town, steeped in maritime history and offering a fantastic anchorage for all types of ships. I begin my walk at the pier from which the ferry departs for St Mawes and thence on to Place. I walk through the main high street and down towards the train station and docks. I spot a number of Royal Navy ships alongside the docks and get a fantastic view of a dry dock.

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Maenporth
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Helford Passage

The road goes out towards Pendennis Point, where Pendennis castle sits atop the promontory. The road which encircles the castle was used as a road race track from 1934 – 1936 for motorcycles and light cars. As I round Pendennis point I see the back shore of Falmouth stretching to Swanpool beach. The walking is along a promenade which offers very easy walking. I climb up and walk towards Pennance Point with its Home Guard monument before  descending to and walking around the small cove of Maenporth. The remainder of the walk is a delightful stroll through open fields, in which the path rises and falls gently offering excellent views across the Helford River to its southern bank. I pass close to the village of Mawnan and through Durgan before finally arriving at the Ferry Boat Inn at Helford Passage. This delightful walk has taken just 2.75hrs.

 

Distance today = 10 miles
Total distance =   545.5 miles