Following directions from a couple of locals I find the narrow opening which leads to the beginning of the coast path – right bang smack next to the entrance to the caravan site. The path runs parallel to the road but is well camouflaged and I can hardly hear the cars. It’s a steep climb for first thing in the morning so when I get to the top I stop to catch my breath and look back at the golden mile which is Pentewan Beach.The path runs off into the distance and at intervals I am warned of the dangers of badger holes – but they are so big and obvious I cannot imagine anyone accidentally putting a foot wrong down one of these.
It is a lovely morning and I make good progress, the cliffs are steep – ridges of sharp rock plummet down to the sea – I feel very small and vulnerable in their presence. In the distance I can see Mevagissey and before long I am looking down onto its busy harbour.
I will be staying here tonight so I find my BnB, dump a lot of stuff and head to the nearest T-shirt shop – it is now very hot and I am wearing a thermal top with long sleeves!
More suitably attired I walk along the edge of the harbour and up some stone steps on to the road. I then have to follow the road, through Portmellon, until it turns into a grit track. The turn off to the left appears and I am suddenly plunged into a thicket of ferns following a narrow path out to a promontory of land known as Chapel Point.
Out on the rocks sit a cluster of white houses sparkling in the sunshine. One of these is a five bedroomed house up for sale for nearly three million – not surprising, the views from the house must be amazing and down to the right is a sweet little cove with a sandy beach.
The path from now on is a bit of a roller coaster as it follows the contours of the coast – I am very glad I have my pole with me as my right knee is starting to grumble. I am reminded of the wonderful line from Baz Luhrman’s 1999 hit “The Sunscreen Song” – “be kind to your knees, you’ll miss them when they’re gone”.
By this time I am very hungry and pleased to see that I am approaching Gorran Haven, an attractive coastal village with a church dedicated to St.Just – an early Christian saint about which not much is known.
I walk down into the village and end up right in front of a beach cafe. There are not too many people about but enough to provide some entertainment while I sit and munch my sandwich – I also discover that I have no signal on my phone.
Climbing out of the village onto the cliffs again I start what is perhaps the wildest stretch of coast walking that I have done so far. The beaches, cliffs and woods stretch out before me with nothing to break the view – it almost makes me feel dizzy. I meet no one on this stretch apart from another woman walking on her own. It’s always a pleasant surprise to meet another lone female – we stop to exchange bits of information about the path.
“Where have you walked from? I ask “Portloe” she replies. “Oh then you must have walked past Caerhays Castle” I say, “How long will it take from here?” With a bit of effort she manages “two hours” with an uncertain uplift at the end of the words. She then asks me how long it would take to get to Mevagissey, I concentrate and then give up – “two hours” I say with a grin – we both laugh and turn to go. It is sometimes difficult when you’re walking at a regular uninterrupted pace, to keep track of time……..
At one point I see a large house off to the right, standing guard over the coast – what a place to live……
This is their view…….anyway……….
By now the wind is freshening and dark clouds have appeared on the horizon. I am approaching Dodman Point with its iconic cross, erected in 1899 as a guide for shipping. Coming down the path towards me are a couple, a little older than me, who warn me that it is very windy on the point – “bit exposed” says the man. I start to feel a little apprehensive. When someone says “exposed” it takes me back to the few times Damian has managed to get me up a Monroe in Scotland and ended up talking me through some scary moments.
As it happens, there is no narrow path carved into a vertical cliff face with the prospect of being blown off in a high wind, but it is nevertheless a bit eerie. The large granite cross has an inscription that makes me think it was erected not so much as a navigational aid for shipping but rather for the second coming.
Coming off the point the wind lessens and after a few dips and climbs I arrive at Hemmick Beach. I am now tired and can see that Caerhays Castle, which is where I am heading, is still two bays away. Another problem is that I have no signal on my phone and have been told that there will be none at the castle. My only hope of calling a taxi is if the beach cafe is open and as I have no signal I cannot check. As I stand on the sand dithering, a family walks by and I ask them whether they know about the beach cafe’s opening hours. We start chatting and they soon come to the conclusion that I should stop my walk and come with them in the car to the Lost Gardens of Heligan, where I can get a cup of tea and a short bus ride to Mevagissey. Again, the kindness of strangers makes me want to cry.
The Lost Gardens are beautiful but I don’t have enough time to do them justice – here are a few shots. I will come back.
…..the wonderful Mud Maiden……
Distance: 12 miles
Hello again, I am very glad you enjoyed your time at the Lost Gardens. It was us that dropped you off there and said you’d most probably like it! You were most welcome to the lift and I have been enjoying reading your blog especially the bits of the coast path we are so very familiar with ourselves! I am also amused and rather pleased to see that we are in your photo of Hemmick Beach with our dogs! I also find that bit of the path on the Dodman where the cross is, quite eerie, and to make you think it even more so, I can tell you the word Dodman, was originally Dead Man! Yikes!
Aaah – the mystery man uncovered! Well thank you again and warm thoughts to your family. I’m thinking I will turn to Wales for a while and maybe back to Cornwall early Spring.
Haha….I am the mystery lady, everyone always assumes Alex is a man’s name but I refuse to use Alexandra, it’s far too long winded. It was my other half who did the driving and me that did most of the nattering haha! Enjoy the rest of your walking and I shall follow with interest! We’ve holidayed right by the coast in Wales a couple of times so we’ll see if you walk familiar paths there! Kind regards, Alex(andra)
Just the name The Lost Gardens makes them sound intriguing. Lovely photos as usual.xx
You didn’t say whether it took you two hours to Caerhays Castle? Anyway’s just been enjoying your previous blogs. Always absorbing and often an educasion! I didn’t know for example that a small gathering of people can be a knot. I trust you Tric, I really do, but I checked anyway! Glad I did, naturally, I secretly knew it would be so, but, as I looked for the collective for carpenters, found it was a boring ‘pound’, while jugglers are a cruelly descript ‘neverthriving’. Ax
If you read the latest post you’ll see that “pound” is also a place to hold stray sheep (or stray carpenters). Thanks for reading, I love it when people comment.