Cape Cornwall to Pendeen 22.9.16


A cape is a headland separating two bodies of water and at Cape Cornwall it is the Atlantic that splits and flows either into the English or the Bristol Channel. There are only two in the UK, the other is Cape Wrath on the north west coast of Scotland. From the road I take  a picture of the enormous chimney stack, now a navigation aid, rising up from the imposing granite mound that is the headland. I also discover, on this glorious morning, the name of the mansion on the hill………………………………………………………………….


A wiki on Porthledden tells me that it was built by Captain Francis Oats, a local man who at the turn of the nineteenth century, went to South Africa to make his fortune in the diamond mines – he later became chairman of De Beers. Since his death in 1915 the house has been a hotel in the 1920s and 1930s, a gentleman’s club, a girl’s evacuee school during WW2 and a wedding venue. It lay derelict and in a deteriorating state of decay for over twenty years until 2003 when a Grade II listing helped its sale and the subsequent start of an extensive 10 year restoration program.

Following the coast path signs I find myself walking down into a peaceful valley and I suddenly realise just how noisy the sea can be. I normally don’t notice it but when it disappears for a while I am transported  back to all the inland walks I have done over the years. Of course it wasn’t always so – the ruined buildings and chimney stacks bear witness to what once was a thriving tin mining industry, which most certainly would not have been a quiet affair.


The ferns that line the very narrow path as it carves its way through the valley are so tall that I almost tread on this poor little bird – I nudge it gently with my finger and it shudders but doesn’t respond to any further attempts I make to revive it. I carefully move it into the ferns, there’s not much else I can do.


From here on I begin to feel like I’m part of an interactive lesson on the history of Cornish mining.



Even more so when I reach the restored Levant Beam Engine mine where in the 1840’s men, women and children once toiled to extract the tin and copper from beneath the waves.


img_3036All Brexit voters take note of the “substantial grants from the EU”…………..and no that is not the Scottish flag.


A little further on the path opens up into a wide stretch of stony ground where visitors have been inspired to mark their presence – it’s all very Andy Goldsworthy.



By this time I realise that I cannot go on ignoring what is known as a “hot spot” on my right big toe. This is not as exciting as it sounds and usually means the beginnings of a blister. Sitting down on the grass I inspect the damage and slap on a plaster hoping against hope that it won’t bother me for at least an hour. Sadly, by the time I get to Pendeen Lighthouse the huge blister has burst and despite the temptation to walk on in the brilliant sunshine I am forced to admit defeat.


Sitting on a cairn by the side of the road I nurse my foot and consider the options – there are not many. The lighthouse sits at the end of a narrow tarmac road and there are a few cars around, so I could try and hitch back to St.Just and then a bus to Penzance. Otherwise …………well, there is no otherwise. Suddenly I see a little bird of a woman in a headscarf  approaching, camera bouncing wildly from her thin shoulder. “Are you alright ?” she says in a broad Yorkshire accent, reminding me of my stint in Sheffield in the summer,  “is there anything I can do to help?”  Well – now you mention it.

I am constantly amazed by the generosity of ordinary people I meet on my walks. The woman is on holiday with her brother and they drive me all the way back to St. Just where I don’t have long before a bus comes along to take me back to Penzance. After a further dressing of my toe I hobble along the seafront and come across this beautiful lido, closed now for the winter – I am delighted to see signs that this one is alive and kicking.


Distance: 6 miles





Porthcurno to Cape Cornwall 21.9.16

Today starts with a senior moment which sees me climbing the steep stairs up to the Minnack Theatre once again. At the top I follow the signs across open ground, back to the cliffs and the path leading to Porthgwarra.


Not long after the village comes into view built around a small but perfect cove……


At the foot of the cove’s slipway is a tunnel dug by tin miners from St Just to give farmers horse-and-cart access to the beach to collect seaweed to use as a fertiliser.


At some point after I am faced with the choice of two signposts for the path on which someone has helpfully indicated which of the two I should not take – the annotation reminds me that I need to get my tax return in soon.


As I near the lookout station on Gwennap Head I start to wonder if I’ve stumbled upon a piece of outdoor sculpture. Later research tells me that these two objects are Runnelstone navigation markers to warn ships of the dangers of submerged rocks – the Runnel Stone. The idea is that from the sea the black and white one should always be in sight and that if the red one ever obscures it completely you are literally in deep trouble.


After Gwenapp I walk across the top of the cliffs and come across a couple of twitchers. Usually I avoid talking to them as I imagine any disturbance could be irritating but as I am pretty much alone I decide to find out what they are looking for.

The answer is “choughs” (pronounced “chuff”) and I am indeed chuffed when one of the men beckons me over to look in his telescope at the red billed chough sitting on a rock at the edge of the cliff. These birds can be seen on the Cornish coat of arms but suffered a steady decline in Cornwall from the end of the 18th century til the mid sixties, when there was only one pair left. They then died out completely until a few brave ones decided to make the journey from Ireland in 2001 and the rest is history.


Here is a picture of one I have at home…………………….the picture, not the bird.


From here on I walk past a series of dark caves cut into the cliffs, reminding me of the time Damian and I went on a trip to the small Hebridean island of Staffa. Here we took the time to sit and listen to the sound of the sea rushing in and out of Fingal’s Cave – an inspiration for Mendelssohn’s Hebrides Overture.




But I’m not close enough to hear and anyway I am impatient to get to Land’s End. There are however, a few hurdles – large rocks barring the way ……………………………..img_2988-1

……….and photo to be taken of amazing rock formations – this one looks like a giant’s game of building blocks – and how do they remain so perfectly balanced?



As I get closer to Land’s End the scenery becomes less dramatic, almost like the land is crumbling into the sea like a broken biscuit. In the distance I can just about see the group of rocks known as The Longships which form part of the mythical lost land of Lyonesse, referred to in Arthurian literature.



At last, I arrive at Lands End which is crowded and a bit of a disappointment – but a milestone for me! I enlist the help of an obliging Italian tourist and get my photo taken before heading for the nearest tea shop.


On my way I stand and watch groups of people take their turn (for a small fee) to slot in their names on the celebrated signpost before having their photo taken. I play with the idea of putting up Joining the Dots but then decide it might be a bit naff.



Suitably refreshed I leave Land’s End and head up towards Sennen Cove – passing the rusty hulk of half a ship washed up on the rocks.


The path takes me up onto the cliffs again until I start to see the roofs of Sennen Cove. I then follow signs down a very steep slope through the houses but the path is not clearly marked and after a few dead ends I find myself wandering aimlessly round someone’s lawn. Not wanting to linger I am just about to give up and head back up the path when I notice an overgrown, stony “impression” of a path which does lead me down, coming out opposite the harbour.



Here I turn right and head over to the long sandy beach which makes up Whitesand Bay.


Not knowing whether the tide is coming or going or, as my map is not showing it, whether I can get back up onto the cliff path further on, I decide to chance it.

The sand is quite soft and my anticipated easy walk turns into a trudge but I enjoy watching the surfers.


A little further up the beach I stop a couple coming towards me and ask if they know of a way to get back up onto the cliff. The woman catches on very quickly – they always do – but it takes a while for her husband to understand what I’m saying. He then tries to compensate by advising me as to the best way to navigate a high rocky breakwater just a  short distance away up the beach. I thank them but as I turn away she grabs my arm and in a whisper points to another part of the breakwater which does look a bit easier to deal with. img_3008

It is great fun navigating my way across the rocks, deciding which ones look safe to tread on – I used to love it as a child.

On the other side I follow their directions,  past a young man meditating on the rocks and up a loooong steep set of steps. Panting with exertion I spill out on to a road where there are no clear signs of where to go. Fortunately, a passing walker tells me that I have missed the turning and that I need to go back down the steps and turn right! With a sigh I turn round and retrace my steps and sure enough there is the track, winding its way up onto the cliff.

By now it is getting quite late and I can feel the beginnings of a blister but I have at least another two hours to walking to go. To make matters worse both my camera and iPhone are low on battery so I take no photos on the way. I meet very few people on the path up to Cape Cornwall and they are all coming towards me but I take heart from a group of brash American women who have come from the Cape and are able to give me a rough idea of how long it will take to get there. There is just enough battery on my camera to take a photo of this imposing county house which stands on the hill overlooking the Cape. I will investigate tomorrow but for now it’s shower, food and bed.


Distance: 10 miles





Mousehole to Porthcurno 20.9.16

The bus drops me off in Mousehole and it’s not a bad morning, “enough blue sky to make a sailor suit” as my mother used to say. I walk through very narrow winding streets, passing small granite cottages, all tightly clustered around the harbour. “The loveliest village in England” is how Dylan Thomas described it in 1930 and apart from more holiday lets I’m sure it hasn’t changed a lot since then.



On the edge of the village I pass this sign with two words that just should not appear in the same sentence – makes me feel a bit queasy.


After a coming to a stop at a few dead ends I eventually find the coast path which climbs very steeply up though a stretch of woodland – the earth is an African red.


and then it mysteriously changes colour and gets rocky, very rocky, twist your ankle rocky.


Progress is painfully slow as I head down to Lamorna Cove (such a romantic name) and I am very glad I have my walking pole. My map shows a nature reserve called Kemyel Crease which is a very apt name for a narrow deep rocky path with sheer drops to the sea.



I am relieved to reach Lamorna Cove, a pretty little hamlet apparently favoured by artists, craftsmen and writers since before the first World War – famous names include Augustus John and John Le Carré. Unfortunately, this is the only photo I took of the place – must have got distracted.


After Lamorna, the path continues to hug the very edge of the coast, causing me some concern in places. It was the Scottish mountains that introduced me to exposure (“how do you do….”) and I still get a little giddy and anxious when it happens. I also feel it is time for a rest and somewhere in my rucksack I know there is a soggy sandwich.


Penberth Cove feels like a working village – the houses do not appear to be holiday lets and there’s a lot of evidence of lobster fishing. I find a bench and settle down for lunch.


Just behind me and set into the wall is a National Trust collection box – I fish out 50p and slide it into the slot where it stays until I give it a shove with another coin. I wonder how regularly it is emptied.


I am now not far from Porthcurno where I will stop for the day. I have set up a night in a YHA hostel some miles inland and I need to find a bus to take me there. I am also keen to take a look at the famous open air theatre built into the cliffs.

The beach at Porthcurno is stunning – one of the most beautiful beaches I have seen on this walk.img_2965

Following directions from a few locals I climb the path up the cliff to the theatre. The steps  are steep and there’s not a lot between me and the sea below – I pray that nobody is on their way down.


This is the beach from the top………………..


The cafe at the top is closed because there is a performance of Mikado going on – I pay my £1 to shuffle onto a viewing platform where beneath me Nanki-Poo and Yum Yum are in the throes of declaring their love for each other.



Putting tragicomedy aside I make my way down the road back to the village to catch the bus to the hostel, where I spend a surprisingly comfortable night round a table with beer, food and good conversation. Hostels have come a long way since I was young.

Distance: 8 miles (roughly, as my Jawbone let me down)

Praa Sands to Mousehole 19.9.16

When Cornish weather men say low cloud they must mean drizzle – grey, persistent drizzle, the kind you get in my part of Wales, the slow but steady process from a bit damp to sodden. Head down and walking away from Praa Sands, my mind returns to such a day when I was 11 years old – leading not riding my horse because he had just been shod and had started to limp. Murmuring encouragements in Dandy’s ear with the occasional hymn thrown in, I squelched my way through five miles of country lane and rough muddy ground. My riding mac gave up, my clothes and boots soon drenched but when I think about it I don’t believe I was fed up – I just resigned myself to my fate.

So, here I am facing the weather, not daring to get the camera out, just a quick swipe of the iPhone will have to do – and even in the rain, the colours are beautiful.


Eyes down I follow the narrow path across the cliffs until I reach the charming cluster of cottages which circle Prussia Cove. The jewel in the crown of this exceptionally beautiful cove is a grand grey stone house which looks like it’s been built into the granite promontory on which it stands. I cannot get a good photo of it in the rain but I later find out that it was built in 1903 and is listed – I catch a glimpse of heavy wooden doors, leaded windows and slate roofs. Rounding a corner I bump into a distinguished looking woman who in response to my enquiries tells me that the house is a holiday let – as most of the other houses in the cove are – and is being used at the moment for an international musicians seminar to prepare for a series of concerts held in churches all over Cornwall.

This is a picture of the other side of the cove and what I found buried in the ground on the headland – no idea.



I have now reached Cudden Point and a little later the vague outline of St Michael’s Mount can be seen, rising out of the mist.


Soon the path starts to dip downwards through a stretch of woodland – it is very peaceful and I fall into that familiar state of calm that I love so much about long distance walking. So much so that I am shocked when the path suddenly leads to nowhere but some steps  leading to a beach with a haphazard collection of large boulders. Confused I make my way back about 50 yards to see if I have missed any signs but no, this is the way.


Gingerly, I make my way across the slippery rocks and clamber up onto the path at the other end. Looking at the OS map later I see that this area is bizarrely named Little London.

I am now nearing the outskirts of Marazion, from which I get a slightly better picture of the Mount – I am by now very wet and in need of a cup of tea.


Coming out of the teashop I find myself weaving through large groups of tourists, looking a little forlorn but gamely taking on the causeway out to St. Michael’s Mount. From here it looks like I can walk along the beach all the way to Penzance, but a local tells me I’ll have to stop at Long Rock.


A group of horse riders are gathered on the road and slowly make their way down to the beach. Judging by the body language of most of the riders I somehow think there’ll be no wild galloping with wind in your hair performance today. I myself have only done it a few times, on a pony trekking holiday on a small island off the coast of Denmark – but you never forget it.


By now the weather has cheered up a bit and it doesn’t take long to walk through Penzance  and on to Newlyn where, to honour lives lost, an impressive lifesize bronze statue of a fisherman waits for his boat to come in to port.


Newlyn is where I will be spending the night so after lightening my load in my Bnb I set off to walk to Mousehole where I know I can get a bus back.

On the way out of town I walk past yet more eccentric garden sculpture that Cornwall seems to love.


It does not take long to walk to Mousehole ( pronounced Mozul) and the sun has come out at last.


I find myself a pub with fish and chips and my favourite local ale – it looks like it’s going to be a better day tomorrow.

Distance: 11 miles




Preston to Lytham St.Anne’s 23.07.16

There’s nothing like having something at the back of your mind – that little voice that gets weaker over time but never goes away. That squirming little worm that keeps worritin away, getting its oar in whenever there’s a spare moment – why not do it now? Just get yourself to the computer and do it, go on, you know you’ll feel better afterwards. So, this is the moment, after 2 months of pretty intense work oop north I’ve found the energy to write this post, not a long one even, as I can’t remember a lot but it has taken such a long time to get round to it.

So here we are in Preston, for a splendid celebration of god knows how many years of hard graft on the part of my wonderful niece – a party to usher her in to the big bad adult world of work – she will be the young girl sitting in the chair that’s too big for her at the local GP’s or the overworked frontline warrior in the emergency department – bless her.

Our road out of Preston is tedious, a slog along a busy road – thankfully it does sometimes offer a narrow pavement, cycle path or grass verge. At Freckleton we turn left on to what is somewhat euphemistically called the Lancashire Coast Path – a walk along a muddy trickle which will eventually flow into the River Dribble (sorry Ribble).


There is a short stretch through some woodland before we reach the river bank where a trig point gives Damian a chance to indulge in his King of the Hill fantasy.



……………… we turn right and follow the muddy edge of the marshes until the path heads inland, through tight thickets of long grass, past Warton Aerodrome and on into Lytham.




After the calm of the marshes it is quite a shock to be thrown up onto the A584 but it looks like Lytham has quite a lot to offer and plenty of possibilities for tea and cake.


The windmill disappoints as it offers only a museum (which is closed) so we decide to head inland and find a cafe in the town.


Lytham is busy – holidaymakers with children and dogs fight for seats outside the many cafes and restaurants in this otherwise prim little Victorian town, but we get lucky.

Refuelled we follow the road out of town, past what I originally think is a mosque but what later turns out to be a United Reformed Church known as the White Church. We decide not to take a look inside as time is short and we have a graduation party to go to.


Past the boating lake our direction is through an area of sand dunes and the sun comes out.


Soon the pier at St. Anne’s comes into view and after braving the bedlam of the amusement arcade we walk out as far as we can and find somewhere to sit in the sun.


Reading about the pier later I discover that it has survived two fires and since its construction in 1885 has been the venue for a host of attractions including a winter garden, concert hall, crazy golf, miniature zoo, aviary, reptile house and Tyrolean style beer hall. Stars to tread the boards include George Formby, Yehudi Menuhin and our very own Gracie Fields.

It has been an uneventful walk but good to be back on the trail again.

Distance: 12 miles



Mullion to Praa Sands 8.6.16

I walk out of Mullion village and back to the coast path at Polurrian Cove where I meet a dog walker with the broadest smile I’ve seen for a long time. Her dog has one brown eye and one blue which I find attractive and repellent at the same time.



As I approach Poldhu Point I pass the Marconi memorial, which marks the site of the wireless station where, in 1902, the first trans-oceanic wireless telegraph was sent – all the way to Newfoundland. I have my own history of Marconi, absorbed gradually from  visits to Penarth in Wales where my parents lived. On Sunday afternoon outings we would sometimes walk to the plaque at Lavernock Point from where, in 1897, Marconi supervised  the transmission and receipt of the first wireless signals over open sea, between Lavernock Point and Flat Holm island.


A little later on, when the path merges with tarmac, the smiley dog walker overtakes me in her car and stops to tell me that I am very close to Poldhu Beach Cafe which has won all sorts of awards. She is not local and her enthusiasm borders on the fanatic, somewhat like people who suddenly turn to religion after a lifetime of spiritual apathy, but perhaps I’m being cruel. Anyway, I am neither hungry nor thirsty so I do not stop although it does look inviting and I like the driftwood sculpture outside.


From Poldhu, I walk through National Trust Land (donated by the Marconi company) – the sun is out, and it is a beautiful day.  Soon Gunwalloe Cove comes into view, with its own church set back from the beach. The path winds down onto the sand and I seize the opportunity to take off my boots and walk barefoot. Unfortunately the sand quickly morphs into pebbles and after negotiating a little stream cutting through the beach I am forced to squeeze my feet back into hot leather. As I walk towards the church a woman in her 70’s appears, hobbling barefoot over the pebbles with her head down, obviously looking for something.  As I pass her I notice she looks a little distraught and in a plaintive tone she tells me that she had taken off her sandals on the beach and now can’t remember where she left them. Her husband is over the other side of the stream looking but I get the impression that they had been searching for quite a while. I retrieve my inner girl guide and offer to help. I find the sandals almost immediately, balanced on a rock on my side of the stream. Triumphant I return them and their almost tearful gratitude makes me feel good for the rest of the day – small things.


From here there is a long stretch of golden sand but I know from reading other descriptions of this walk that once on the beach you cannot get back up onto the cliff and at some point rocks will obstruct your passage.


This golden mile leads on to Loe Bar, which is a long stretch of shingle and sand separating the coast and a large freshwater lake.


As I approach it I pass a simple white cross – another memorial to lives lost at sea.



I wonder about about the choice of the word “impressed” which must have had different connotations back then.


By now it is early afternoon and very hot – I trudge across the bar, there is no shade and I’m having difficulty seeing where the path continues. Finally I see a path leading up onto the cliff again and walk along a wide tarmac lane down into Porthleven. This is the town where Damian and I had planned to stay at New Year before storms, high winds and torrential rain stopped play.

Turning a corner on my way into Portleven I am pulled up short. The Wreckers Yard is an essentially boring pebble dash house but the yard is a work of surrealist art – no rhyme nor reason.






Portleven harbour reminds me a little of Tenby with its row of tall stern faced Victorian houses.



I check into my BnB and after a quick tea and scone revival I catch the bus to Praa Sands as I still have lots of the day left to fill. My rucksack is light on my back and I don’t even mind the mile road walk to the coast from where the bus drops me. Praa Sands is busy, children screeching, radios blaring – I am happy to turn my back on it and walk back in the direction of Porthleven.


At one point I pass one of those useless signs that warn you of something but don’t tell you how to avoid the danger. How am I supposed to recognise a mine shaft  before I actually fall into one?


As it happens it is quite easy to imagine where they might be as the next half mile from Rinsey Point is littered with the spectacular ruins of disused tin mines.



Later on I spy this distinctive rock formation on Trewavas Head which has been gradually eroded by wind and rain and is now known as either the Camel or the Bishop.



……………….and another known as the Love Rock  – despite some research I have no idea why………………………………


And now I am back to the hustle and bustle of  Portleven, where I will spend the last night in Cornwall for at least three months – back in September.







Lizard Point to Mullion 7.6.16

It is a very misty moisty morning as I head out of Cadgwith up to the next village to catch a bus back to Lizard Point. As unluck would have it the bus timetable is not up to date and the bus I want only goes to within 2 miles of Lizard. This is what we used to  call “a bit of a bummer” but I have no choice. I reluctantly leave the bus, resigned to a hike along a very busy road. As I pass a side road, a small white van appears and on an impulse I stick out my thumb. Amazingly, the van stops and a young man climbs out, his girlfriend is at the wheel. The back of their van is crammed with gardening paraphernalia and a dog in a cage. Despite the inconvenience a space is made for me to squeeze into the back and they then take me all the way to Lizard. Such generosity! Thank you Rachel, Lee and Darcy the dog, aka Devon Gardeners.

From Lizard I follow a footpath through fields and woods which eventually brings me back to the coast path – there are stepping stones for muddy bits.


The mist lies heavy and I walk in eerie silence, unable to see the sea beneath the cliffs or further than about 50 yards in front of me.



After a while I see small groups of people coming in from my right and I realise that I am getting close to Kynance Cove which is accessible via a footpath from a minor road. The ground drops away down to the cove – there is a footpath and a warning.



The cove itself is stunning even in the poor light. From the white sand two or three enormous slabs of serpentine rock rise out of the mist, their gnarled, furrowed surfaces glistening like the skin of pre-historic reptiles.


Despite the weather there are quite a few people about and the cafe is open – I buy a sandwich to take with me as I’m pretty sure there are not going to be many watering holes between here and Mullion. The cafe is owned by the National Trust and I find out later that the roof is made of solar tiles which, among other things, generate enough electricity to make nearly 46.000 cups of tea a year. Opposite the cafe and surrounded by safety fences, is a house which must have seen better days – it now looks due for demolition.


I climb the steep hill back to the coast path which is briefly nowhere to be seen but I can just about make out a couple walking ahead of me so I follow them up onto a wide stretch of scrubby heathland covered with thrift. At one point I can see they have lost the path so I fish out my trusty iPhone and use my electronic OS map  to get us closer to the edge of the cliff where the path becomes apparent.


Over to the left I can hear the sea but only occasionally see it, it’s all very Wuthering Heights – needless to say I do not experience a close encounter with my very own Heathcliff.

Occasionally, the mist lifts for a few moments, revealing the dramatic sweep of the cliffs plunging steeply down to the sea – it is truly breathtaking.



And gradually the mist lifts, I can see further and others can see me…………………………..


…………….and the sky turns blue for a while……………………………………………………….


I have now been walking for some hours without a break but haven’t really found anywhere suitable to eat lunch – and everytime I do, someone else is sitting there. Trying to ignore the hunger pains I decide to wait until I reach Mullion Cove which can’t be that far away. Mullion Island is off to my left and soon the village and its grand hotel come into view.



The path down into the cove overlooks the harbour wall which is still not the right place for lunch.


Eventually I spy a footpath leading up to the hotel with a bench halfway up. Wrenching off my rucksack I tear into my soggy cheese and tomato sandwich which tastes better than anything I’ve tasted for a long time. In my feeding frenzy I only notice the plaque when I stand up – it makes me a little sad although I like the use of “taken”.


I now have to make my way to my accommodation for the night which is a mile inland in the village of Mullion. I decide to follow the coast path up to Polurrian Cove and then turn off right to walk into the village. Some of the gardens I pass on the way are very pretty, plants and flowers creeping out from under fences.



It has been a wonderful walk today – one of the best.

Distance: 11 miles







Landkidden Cove to Lizard Point 6.6.16

Dropped off just inland from Landkidden Cove I walk west on a narrow rocky path – the early morning sky is blue and it looks like it’s going to be a sunny day. I am heading for Cadgwith where I’m staying tonight, which means I can lighten my load for the afternoon walk. It amazes me that even when I carry just the bare essentials, it still ends up being a heavy rucksack.


After a few quite steep ascents and descents along the stony path it flattens out into a peaceful easy walk along the top of the cliffs. I walk past an information board welcoming me to the national nature reserve that is The Lizard. There are descriptions of all the different varieties of plants and flowers to be found in this area including one called Bastard Balm. I could do with some of that on my bedside table everytime I watch the 10 o’clock news, I think to myself.

In the distance I can see a long pebble beach which according to my map must be Kennack Sands.


There are a few people out walking dogs and around the corner is another beach with a cafe. Children are making sandcastles and there are signs of young love.



I wonder whether to stop for a cup of tea but decide against it as Cadgwith and my BnB is not far away.

The path now follows the road for a short while and then veers off left – I soon find myself walking through a beautiful wood where a wooden bench catches my eye.


In the same vein a beautiful curved bridge crosses the steam at the bottom of the valley. The posts are adorned with stone balls which may be serpentine stone, for which the Lizard is famous – you don’t find it anywhere else in the country.



Here is another example of Serpentine stone, polished by thousands of coast path walkers over the years.


Walking in to Cadgwith I am relieved to see that it has retained its authenticity as a Cornish fishing village. There are very few signs of empty summer lets or small shops selling Cornish trinkets. Instead there are fishing boats and a pub with a quiz night and live music. I get rid of most of the things in my rucksack and head out of the village, but not before stopping for a cup of tea and some very good homemade cake.




Here is another plant identification request – a bush/shrub with these perky orange flowers?


Just outside Cadgwith is a sign pointing to what is known as the Devil’s Frying Pan and when I get to it I am puzzled – I have no idea why.



Equally intriguing is the next sign ……………………………………..bless………………………..


So that’s why the path looks like this…………………………………………………………


I am now nearing Kilcobben Cove where I come across a lifeboat station tucked into the bottom of the cliff.  IMG_2818


From the information boards I learn that the boathouse is 140 ft below the carpark at the top and that there are 200 steep steps for the crew of the lifeboat to run down before launching the boat down the steep slipway. I later meet a local who tells me that there is also a cage for the men to use to get to the bottom quicker. At the top the memorial stone tells of one tragic story.


I am now not far from Lizard Point, an all important milestone in my walk. In the distance,  on Bass Point, I can see a look out station and on closer inspection a strange red wall which looks like something you might find in the conceptual art section of Tate Modern.



As I stand at the foot of the look out station reading the board and trying to fathom the role of this off beat structure a woman pokes her head out of the front window of the station and asks if I would like an explanation. She then proceeded to explain, but it all got a bit technical and I lost her half way through. Reading up on it later I discover that it was a navigation tool to pinpoint the position of a deadly rock called The Vrogue which is concealed 2 metres under the surface of the sea off Bass Point and on which many vessels have come to grief. The trick lay in lining it up with specific markings on a building behind the lookout station (the one with turrets) – this reading would then point to the position of the deadly rock. It no longer has this role and the position of a new house has put a stop to the practice.

IMG_2826Further on up the path, getting closer and closer to Lizard Point I walk past a stile on my right which makes my heart sink. Surely this is not legal?!


Fortunately I am not obliged to take this route so breathing normally again I make my way towards the Lizard lighthouse which means I am very close to my destination.


Below the lighthouse the ground rolls away quite dramatically down to the sea – I decide that this must be the time for a photo.


Officially, Lizard Point is just around the corner but it is a sorry sight in comparison and teeming with tourists.


I walk back up the lane to the actual village and pass a fanciful scarecrow on the way. Or maybe she’s not a scarecrow. With a name like Tasmin Trelawny she could be part of some ancient Cornish tradition to celebrate the beginning of spring or summer – who knows?


What I know is I am very happy to have reached the southernmost point of the UK and am now looking forward to reaching the westernmost – Land’s End.

Distance: 10 miles







Porthallow to Landkidden Cove 14.5.16

For some strange reason the coast path leaves the coast at Porthallow and follows a winding minor road down to Porthoustock – I walk past a sign on the way that makes me smile……..IMG_2744

Porthoustock itself is rather uninspiring, the dull weather and grey hulk of a huge concrete silo contributing to the general air of gloom – saved a little by the pretty cottage up on the cliff to the left.



I cannot follow the coast path here either as the headland is quarried so I walk back up the hill and follow signs which bring me back to the sea.


I walk up onto the cliff, noticing that the bushes are decorated with knots of startlingly white wool – I pick one up and roll it through my fingers. In days gone by, when I rejoiced in rejecting technology for traditional crafts, I was, along with two other women in the “commune”, the proud owner of a spinning wheel. I still remember the wonderful smell and oily feel of the fleece before it is carded, ready for spinning. We spent hours carding, spinning, dying with natural dyes and knitting sweaters – the boys rode old Norton and Enfield motorbikes. ……..

This clump of wool is devoid of oil and almost feels artificial – it must have been too long out in the salty sea air and rain. My mind then turns to a book I have just finished “The Shepherd’s Life” by James Rebanks, which is a vivid account of the rigours of life for sheep and their owners in the Lake District. I now look at sheep quite differently.

Lost in my reverie I round the headland and come to a halt on the edge of what looks like  a disused quarry but there are signs everywhere warning of heavy traffic – today it is silent and slightly creepy. I am also acutely aware that a kilometre out to sea lie the group of submerged rocks known as The Manacles on which hundred of ships have come to grief over the years.



I scurry up the path which then opens up into an area of flat boggy land known as Lowland Point.


Fortunately, the ever considerate National Trust have laid slabs down to save walkers from sinking in the mud – I am regularly moved to tears by the thoughtful construction of this coastal path with its beautiful wooden and stone stiles, strategically placed posts for getting over them, boardwalks, bridges and stepping stones.



Quite soon Coverack comes into view in the distance where I will be sleeping tonight. My plan is to have some lunch and then walk on a few more miles with a considerably lighter pack on my back. Entering the village I head for the Paris Hotel, not named after the French capital but after the stranding of the luxury liner SS Paris on Lowland Point in 1899. No life lost this time, thanks to a chance sighting of the ship and prompt action to divert its course. It is said that the SS Paris was a favourite with the seagulls due to the quality of the pickings it left in its wake.


After lunch and much deliberation I decide to continue along the coast path as far as Lankidden Cove but as there are no busses to bring me back I will have to walk back along the road. One of the last gardens before leaving the village has a wonderful display of these alien succulents – I used to have one myself but as a house plant it soon withered and died but a friend of mine has them growing in  a sheltered part of her garden.


Further on the path gets very rocky and steep, I am glad I only have the barest minimum on my back.


……………………..and again the National Trust comes to the rescue on the way up to Black Head.


On the way up to Beagles Point I come to a sign which rings a few alarm bells – what kind if cattle? Cows or bulls? I meet neither.



The path gets wilder and wilder and I am very much alone in the late afternoon sunshine.


Across the bridge I go and up the steep hill on the other side, scorning a bench at the top of the climb – but as we all know pride comes before a …………………………shooting pains in my lower back take my breath away and my legs crumble in shock. Gingerly I tip- toe back to the previously rejected bench murmuring apologies and sit down very carefully. I wait, will I be able to continue or will the pain be too bad? Don’t know yet……….Is there anyone around? No………. Do I have a couple of miles left to walk? Yes ……….Oh dear……


After a long 10 minutes I try standing up and walking a few paces – there are twinges but I can walk, slowly. So that’s what I do, until I reach the Cove (which I will save for another day) and turn off right, up a farm track and then the road back through Ponsongath to Coverack.

I sit in the fish and chip shop later, vowing to myself to go back to yoga classes.

Tomorrow is Sunday and there are no busses out of Coverack. I ask a few local lads in the bar about taxis and one of them recommends “Nutty Noah” an ex-fisherman from Cadgwith Cove who is ” a bit strange but a good lad” Hmmmmm.

Sunday dawns and the taxi arrives, driven by a jovial character with a real “out in all weathers” face. At one point he answers my questions about why he has given up fishing with his own question to me. “Would you like to hear the song of my life my dear?” I giggle nervously as he launches into the first few notes of a sea shanty. I am amazed and curse the fact that my iPhone to record him lies buried deep in my rucksack. As the last notes of his ballad are dying away we reach my destination and he lets me out – how wonderful! It is only later in the train that I notice the Utube url on his card. So here is the song…………………



Distance: 11 miles






Falmouth to Porthallow 13.5.16

The weather forecast is promising blue skies and sun and it is already hot at 9.30 as I set off from Swanpool Beach in Falmouth – I wish I had remembered my shorts.


I walk up the hill until I reach the turning off left for the coast path – after a while Maenporth comes into view and I am soon down on the beach.



I walk through the troughs made by some heavy vehicle that has ploughed circular shapes into the sand, I wonder why….

On the way up onto the cliff again these rhubarb like plants catch my eye – they have hairy stems which I think can cause rashes on contact with skin (when the sun’s out!). Their cone like flowers are also impressive.




And the sun is now seriously out and I feel the need for a hat and sun cream, neither of which I thought necessary when I was packing. It is a relief to follow the path down and though a patch of woodland with some strangely tortured trees – twenty minutes of welcome shade.



The path then opens up to fields basking in the sun – I am approaching a village called Mawnan, a little way inland – it has a church and its very own Parson’s Beach.


By now I am in need of a cup of tea and a rest, so I am very pleased to reach Durgan where I find a former fish cellar owned by the National Trust, selling ice-cream and tea.


Inside the stone building it is lovely and cool – I sit, change my socks and spend 10 mins or so reading about how Cornish fishermen fished for pilchards. This is what I learnt:

The traditional way of harvesting was seine fishing. A lookout was kept from cliff tops by “huers” who, on sighting the pilchard shoals, would signal by crying ‘hevva’ through a trumpet-shaped megaphone. They would use disturbance on the sea surface and the behaviour of gannets as indicators of the presence of a shoal. The huers would then guide the boats to the shoal by semaphore and provide instruction on where to set the net to entrap it. A boat with three crew members would ‘shoot’ a huge net that could be up to 400 yards long. It had corks at the top and weights at the bottom to form a vertical wall around the shoal.

I find myself wondering if “hue and cry” derives from the name for these lookouts and when, if ever, we could expect to see pilchards on fashionable menus.

I set off up the hill, ignoring the “coast path closed” sign as I had been advised. The path winds up through woodland IMG_2714

………………..past an entrance to Glendurgan Gardens which apparently has a large selection of Epiphytic plants that don’t need soil to grow in, taking the moisture and nutrients they need from rain and the air around them.I would have liked to have  alook around but there is a ferry timetable hanging over my head.


As I climb upwards I keep expecting a diversion sign saying that the coast path is closed due to coastal erosion but I see none and everyone I ask tells me that there are no problems with the path ahead – oh well………this is England after all, where it never pays to take information as given.

The walk next to the Helford River is easy and I soon reach the Ferryboat Inn at Helford Passage. The place is crowded, people sitting outside enjoying the sun and I am pleased to find a kiosk on the bank selling tickets.


……………..and it doesn’t take long for the ferry to arrive, complete with two German walkers bearing rucksacks twice the size of mine.


On the other side is the hamlet of Helford where I am hoping to find a sandwich and a drink.


After 10 minutes of research my only bet is the pub, a beautifully restored Cornish hostelry. I give myself 30 minutes to eat an anchovy and feta salad and eavesdrop on a “Noo Yawk” writer and her publisher discussing the the themes of her new book.


I take a photo through the porthole window in one of the pub doors……………………..


Leaving the pub I walk through the village, across a bridge over a ford and walk east alongside the estuary. On the way I pass a sign saying that I am now entering the Bosahan Estate – I love the “free range children”.


Next to the sign is a wooden box on a pole showcasing collections of shells and other indefinable objects in glass bottles – plus a wicker “honesty bowl”. Could the bottles have been found in the river?


I walk on, it is getting late and I have another stretch of water to cross………………………

Just round the corner is an exquisite little cove – Bosahan Cove, wish I could dally.


I am now heading for Gillian Harbour where the Helford Ferryman told me I “should” be able to find a man to take me across the creek. I am a little sceptical but when I arrive at St. Anthony in Meneage, a kindly boat builder directs me to a fishing hut (after correcting my pronunciation of Porthallow) where it appears a small boat can be hired for £5 to take me across the harbour.



I throw in my rucksack and the rickety little craft putt putts its way across the very shallow water and half way across the motor cuts out.

I say nothing, having absolute faith in the young boy, but I then hear his father over the walkie talkie advising his son not to continue in the direction he is heading as that would result in a grounded boat. With a bit of complaint the motor starts up again and we head off a bit further west until we reach a stretch of flat rock covered in green slime where I am meant to get out and walk the rest of the way. I heave my bag on to my back and a little unsteadily climb out of the boat and head for some stone steps which will bring me up safely on to the other side of the creek. I turn round to wave goodbye but the boy is busy manoeuvring the boat back into the shallow water.


On the other side I walk past yet another immaculate Cornish cottage………………………..


On the other side the walking is quite easy and I soon reach the lookout station on Nare Point ( another one).


I am tired now and rounding the headland I cannot see any signs of habitation, just more of the path winding for miles through the gorse. I decide to sit down and rest for 10 mins before tackling the last haul into Porthallow. And at last, sunburnt and weary I head down the road into Porthallow.

IMG_2739My feet are killing me and my map says there is a pub – but it doesn’t open until 6pm! There are no busses to the village where I’m staying tonight and I can’t get a taxi for another hour (and the fare is astronomical anyway). Out of the blue my phone rings – hallelujah! It is my lovely BnB lady who offers to come and get me – she arrives in a whirl of dust and a black Mercedes sports car! Roll over Lucy Jordan………………………………….


Distance: 14 miles