Review: South West Coastal Path
Cornwall, United Kingdom
The South West Coastal Path - Trip 10
7 people found this review helpful
Anyone having read my reviews before will know that my family (mainly my son and I but sometimes we are joined by other family members) are attempting to walk the whole of the South West Coastal Path (all 630 miles of it!). Before this visit we had done 244 miles so In August we set off to do a little more.
As it was school holidays we made this a family holiday and I was joined by my son, Scott, his partner Pauline, their sons Jordan (26) and Andre (14). We didn’t walk every day but on arrival in Cornwall Pauline dropped me, Scott, Jordan and Andre off at where we had finished on our last visit. A place called Botallack. This area has numerous chimneys and other remains from the Tin mining industry. Whilst Pauline checked us into our holiday accommodation, a house in Newlyn called Port View which, not surprisingly given the house’s name, had wonderful views of the port. This 3 bed roomed house had a wonderful terrace area and everything we needed for our weeks stay. (However it is down a very small steep street and parking or turning the car around was quite hard work).
BOTALLACK – PORTH NANVEN:
Whilst Pauline lugged suitcases into the house, we started our walk. This area is where Poldark was filmed. Beautiful, brooding countryside. The walk was a mixture of high cliff walks and short rough ascents. The setting suns reflection on the water was stunning. When we arrived at Cape Cornwall we walked up to the lookout point and watched the sun set. Cape Cornwall is the only cape in England and is where the Atlantic current splits and goes either North into the Bristol Channel or Irish Sea or south up the English Channel. We walked on a little way to Porth Nanven where Pauline picked us up. (Not that it was an easy task to get in touch with her, there are lot of mobile black spots in Cornwall and sometimes getting in touch with people is extremely difficult!) We did just 3 miles this evening but it got us in the mood for walking.
The next day was my 70th birthday! My son had arranged for other relatives to come for a visit as a surprise so we had a great day whilst I contemplated my great old age!
PORTH NANVEN – LANDS END:
The whole family was walking today so we drove to Lands End and then got a bus back to Porth Nanven. (Buses are rather infrequent, organising buses to tie up with our walking plans requires a lot of preparation!) More cliff top walking today and this time we kept coming to boulders in the middle of the path that we had to clamber over. The hillsides were covered in colourful heather which looked like a plush carpet. Porth Nanven beach is of geological and scientific interest due to the wave cut patterns in the cliff and the extraordinarily large round stones. (It is sometimes called the dinosaur egg beach and is protected by the National Trust). We passed Aire Point and looked down at the pretty Whitesand Bay and we walked through Sennen Cove where the waves were huge and the red flags were flying, warning people not to swim. As we neared Lands End we saw Wolf Rock Lighthouse and the Isles of Scilly in the distance. We saw Maen Castle (very small for a castle I thought) and we could clearly see the wreckage of the HMS Mulheim, a German cargo boat wrecked in 2003. It was nice that the car was waiting for us as we had walked about 5.5 miles today.
The next day was raining hard so instead of walking we just lazed around the house and then went to the cinema in the late afternoon. A chance to rest our feet!
LANDS END – TREEN:
We drove to Lands End again and started walking across the cliff tops. Away from the commercialised part of Lands End the views are stunning. Undulating hills made for a not too strenuous walk. We even saw seals lifting their heads out of the water and peering at us! We walked past Mill Bay and Nanjizal Valley then we followed the path to Gwennap Head where there is a volunteer-manned Coastguard Station which had an interesting display room. Further along we passed The Minack Theatre (a theatre carved into the cliff side), the climb from here down to Porthcurno Beach involved a steep difficult path (half way down I wished I had taken the route along the road!) Of course what goes down must go up so another (less steep) climb led us up to Treen where we caught a bus back to Lands End to retrieve our car. 7.5 miles today!
That evening when we got back to our house my oldest grandson, Deion (29), showed up! Due to work commitments he hadn’t been able to make my surprise party so had come down for the last few days of our trip. It was lovely to have him join us!
The next day before starting walking we went to visit The Levant Tin Mine. A really interesting guide told us about the history of the mine and then we saw a tunnel shaft and a steam engine. The conditions the miners worked in were appalling and their life expectancy was 28 years! The mine extends right out under the ocean but it is not possible to go into those tunnels anymore because of flooding. Today only Scott, Deion and I waned to walk so Pauline drove us to Treen and we headed off along the cliff tops again. The first thing we saw was an old iron age cliff castle rock formation. We passed lots of horses en route today, we passed Penberth Cove (very unspoilt and supposedly much photographed and painted because of this fact ). We passed through quite dense woodland (Kemyel Crease Nature Reserve) and had to scramble over many huge boulders on the path. One of the beaches we passed was entirely made up of huge boulders and it had hundreds of sea birds resting there. We passed Tater-du Lighthouse and came into Lamorna Cove. This idyllic little cove has cafes and places to sit and during the day must be a beautiful place to take a rest. Unfortunately it was all closed up as it was getting dark when we arrived. We hoped to get Pauline to pick us up there but the black hole of mobile phones struck again and in the end we had to walk another 2 miles into Mousehole before we got a signal to call her! We did 9 miles today, it was a lovely walk and we saw lots of wildlife, a snake, a mouse and numerous different birds but I was very ready for a soak in a hot bath!
This morning Scott and I (our walking companions are dwindling by the day!) asked Pauline to give us a life back to Mousehole. Mousehole (we never did work out how to pronounce this!) is a traditional fishing village described by Dylan Thomas as the prettiest village in England. There are lots of galleries and it is frequented by artists. Scott and I completed the 2 miles from there back to the house in Newlyn where we were staying. Newlyn is very much about fishing and has some of the best fish restaurants but it also has galleries thanks to a group of post impressionist painters who set up in Newlyn and later established a school of painting. We had lunch with the family and then we all walked leisurely into Penzance along the promenade. We passed the very impressive art deco jubilee outdoor swimming pool. Penzance looks less run down than a lot of our seaside resorts and still has a large array of shops in the high street. So we did 4 miles of walking on our last day.
Another 29 miles done in all….only another 357 miles still to go!
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