88 – Treen to Land’s End

Distance: 8km

Steps: 15,557

3:45pm – Arrived Land’s End 😎

It was kind of surreal to see Molly, Jack and Phoebe walking up the hill in Treen at 8:30 this morning. Hundreds of miles from London, they had conspired with Jezabel to join me for this, the last day. Incredible, I had no idea.

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We set out immediately, Molly on map and Jack on compass, through Treen campsite and down the cliff to Porth Curno beach. Where the girls stretched out in the sun for a while.

We climbed the steep stone steps up from the beach and visited the Minack Theatre

This unique outdoor theatre dates back to Roman times and has been lovingly brought up to modern day standards by Rowena Cade and her team.

The Minack has performances six days every week, but not on a Saturday which is changeover day. So there was a bustle of activity with crews shifting kit in and out but no actual show.

We met Debby and Paul in the car park of the Minack, then we were off on the final leg of the journey.

Today was the day of the 41 mile coastal ‘ultra marathon’. This followed the same path as us so we met lots of runners!

The finish line in sight as we topped successive headlands, we paused just once, briefly,  for refreshment at Porthgwarra. Debby and Paul doubled back from here and I steamed on, accompanied by Jezabel, Molly, Jack and Phoebe.

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The final 200 metres is up a gently sloping gravel path. Where this passes a giant boulder, Debby and Paul lay in wait with PJ and Chee from London. As I reached the rock, they all sprang upon me, cheering, with champagne, party poppers, streamers and all. Hugs and handshakes all round, we supped the bubbly and took photographs.

Thank you all, a lovely surprise.

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87 – Penzance to Treen

Distance: 16km

Steps: 31,904

“The captain was the last to jump and the first to hit the ground…” we were serenaded by the children of Brook House Day School. Last night we slept in a huge bell tent at Penzance YHA and a group  of about 30 Year Sixers, also on a huge adventure, sang traditional campfire songs outside. Delightfully un-PC.

Jezabel and I left the hostel at 9:00am on a grey and slightly misty day and strode down towards Newlyn, a proper working fishing port, industrial, with big rusty trawlers and brave, tough fishermen. They have a statue on the prom, a memorial to men lost at sea.

newlyn-fisherman-statue

I noticed the height of the bows of the fishing boats. These men must earn their wages going out in some tall seas. I take my hat off to them for their courage.

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Newlyn might not be Cornwall’s top holiday destination but personally I really liked it. The is not  so ‘picture-postcard’ as Polperro but it has a terrific honesty about it. We stopped to say good morning to a group of four fishermen in overalls sitting outside a cafe, eating their breakfast, I loaded up with a Warren’s pastie  (the best) for later and we carried on.

En route to Mousehole we stopped a while at the Penlee Lifeboat Memorial. The brave volunteers from the RNLI took their lifeboat out in a storm, rescued four men from a stricken vessel but then all were lost. Tremendous bravery.

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Reaching Mousehole, we tried to stop at the Rock Pool Cafe but they don’t do breakfast. It’s a kind of cocktail bar type of place, which is fine at the right time of day but we were looking for egg on toast really. So we moved on. Mousehole is nice but it’s quite DFT and the cafes represent this both in prices and menu. Bit la-di-da for me.

Then we chanced upon Pam’s Pantry. Proper food at proper prices. Locals eat here.

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Pam’s Pantry gets 5 stars from us. The best cafe in Mousehole. Great food, friendly service, a gem.

After breakfast we got back on the coast path. On a very steep hill, westwards out of town, the route passes the wild bird hospital and sanctuary, famous for rescuing 8,000 sea birds from the Torrey Canyon in 1967.

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Between Mousehole and Lamorna the path is quite challenging in places. There are a few large boulders, giant steps and it’s a bit boggy underfoot here and there. We met walking wounded along the way. Towards Lamorna the path gets narrow and clings to the cliff high above the sea. Perfectly OK for mountain goats. Lamorna valley is very picturesque and is home to dozens of artists. Equally of interest it has a huge black rubber thing washed up on the beach.

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From here we went cross country to Treen. Some footpaths in this part of Cornwall are indistinct, we had to climb a 3 metre stone wall and we were confronted by a large herd of cows. All part of the adventure.

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Simon at the Logan Rock Inn looked after us handsomely and kindly introduced us to his neighbour who took pity on our homelessness and found us a bed for the night. We met Tony from St Agnes in the Logan Rock, he fixed it that we could have stayed on the campsite and made a donation too. Thanks Tony.

 

 

86 – Kenneggy to Penzance

Distance: 17km

Steps : 34,112

🚨 Battery level down to 21% and nowhere to recharge. This report is going to be short. 

Higher Kenneggy campsite is sparkling clean and managed by the nicest people who you could hope to meet.

Met Debby & Paul for lunch in Marazion, overlooking St Micheal’s Mount. 

Stayed in bell tent at Penzance hostel. 

85 – Porthleven to Kenneggy

Distance: 12km

Steps: 24,555

We stayed last night on a little campsite just next to Porthleven AFC’s stadium 


They have a fine bar but Jezabel and I shared a bottle of wine and opted for an early night 😘 in the basher. 

We were up with the dawn chorus and by 7:00am, on our way back to the coast path. 


 Porthleven is still asleep at that hour but we found the path and soon we were at Parc Trammel Cove, where we saw a school of dolphins 

and some abandoned tin mines 

On the trail we met the mutton antipodean dude and his cohort Manuella. They recommended the Praa Sands beach bar, so we hastened there. I snapped this wonky pillbox along the way


The beach bar at Praa lived up to expectations. The staff there are excellent. It took over three hours to fully address the effects of dehydration but at 4:30pm we left the bar. 

We walked the cliff top path to Kenneggy campsite and here we will stay tonight. Kenneggy campsite is really spick & span with sparkling facilities. There’s a pub nearby, the Falmouth Packet that does excellent grub. 

Three days to Land’s End!

84 – Lizard to Porthleven

Distance: 12 km

 Steps: 24,555

All night long the fog horn was blowing, a 5 second blast, which echoed back and forth from the cliffs during the 20 second pause. Then another 5 second blast. All blooming night. 


But no ships ran aground during the pea-souper. You’d think they’d be fitted with a nautical version of Tom Tom or equivalent but maybe the galleons and square riggers don’t have the electricity?

We left Lizard hostel at 9:00am, headed north on a misty morning. Huge thanks to Carl who simply scooped us up from the roadside and gave us a lift to Mullion. THANK YOU!

Yesterday we visited Kynance Cove. It is an amazing place, like nowhere else I’ve ever seen.


 The National Trust has arranged the rocks just right so that the waves crash over them enigmatically. There’s also a cave where a dragon lives (video below).

We also went to Mullion Cove which is another quaint Cornish harbour, guarded by huge awe inspiring rock formations. It was low tide and I noticed two vicious looking rocks just inches below the water at the very mouth of the harbour. Must be tricky getting in and out. There’s a sandy beach to the south. We had our sandwiches there but it was cold and windy so we carried on, past the posh Overlook Hotel. 

I found an interesting rusty thing half buried at Polurian Cove. 


On the cliff top at Menygrib Point is an obelisk celebrating Marconi’s first transatlantic radio communication 


On top it has the head of a cat!

It had been a misty day so far but the sun came out when we reached the magnificent surf beach at Poldu Cove. 

Here we had a cuppa with Toby & Jess. 

Tonight we’re camping at Porthleven😎
[video: dragon cave at Kynance]

83 – Coverack to Lizard 

Distance: 16km

Steps: 32,219

At Coverack we were faced with a dilemma right from the off. Whether to follow the cliff top path (“rocky underfoot “) or the inland route (“many steps”). 

We plumped for the cliff top path. 

Think very carefully if you ever have to make this choice!

Initially the path is broad and even, stony underfoot. Pleasant walking. Then, at Chynhalls  Point, 1km from Coverack, everything changed. 


This section is known as Chynhalls Cliffs. The path switchbacks up and down and is made up mostly of rocks embedded in the near vertical hillside. The ‘rocks underfoot ‘ vary in size from loaves of bread to small family cars. 

This terrain slowed us down considerably and continued as far as the lookout station at Black Head. 


From here the path meanders along the cliff top through Beagles Point to Downas Valley. Here it dives down to sea level and back up again viciously. Then nice walking again to Carrick Lüz. 

Lunch was at Kennack Beach, then back on the trail through Poltesco to Cadgwith and a swift half in the New Inn. Cadgwith is working fishing port. 

Approaching Lizard you can see the magnificent fog horns on the lighthouse 


Our final destination and accommodation for the night  was Lizard youth hostel 

82 – Gillan Creek to Coverack

Distance: 13km

Steps: 25,760

We stayed last night in a permanently sited Rialto caravan, guests of Susie & Ian. Such nice people. Sorted us out good and proper 😊. 


Gillan Creek is a rare and special place. It’s on the coast path, so is known to a handful of walkers but is at the end of a long narrow lane and has no car park. Pretty much, unless you own/rent one of the few properties, you won’t be going there. 


The path rises up steep steps from the beach at Gillan then goes 2km east to the former coastguard lookout at Nare Point. 


This is still fully functional though nowadays operated by volunteers. 


We invited ourselves in and took the guided tour. 


Another 2km south from here and we reached Porthallow, where resides John’s (amazingly accurate) weather stone. 

We lunched at the renowned Fat Apples café in St Keverne, closely attended by a dog, a chicken and a robin. 

And then on, via Roskilly’s ice cream farm


To Coverack youth hostel, our accommodation for the night. 

Coverack is still very much a commercial harbour. Full of working fishing boats, not yachts. 

81 – St Mawes to Manaccan

Distance: 16km

Steps: 32,148

On the road again. 

We posted 1.84kg of laundry back to Bexley for just £2.85. Better than carrying it. Stocked up on pasties at Mrs Weir’s Bakery. 


So we had to let the 9:00am ferry go and we took the 9:45 sailing to Falmouth instead. 

En route we passed close by the Sealegs Leviathan, a 7,000 ton work platform. Google it. It’s a proper piece of kit!

Falmouth is a town like many others but with an excess of pastie shops and a (rather good) maritime museum.

We turned left from the quay, up the main street, past Mountain Warehouse where I replaced a couple of shirts.

The main street is cobbled and feels like it’s pedestrianised but it’s not. Vehicles crawl along amongst the shoppers. 

Up past the Maritime Museum where they have an exhibit about this dude who survived for five days bobbing about in the southern Atlantic. Jezabel is highly critical of the authorities for taking so long to get there. 


We headed for Pendennis Castle, sister of St Mawes Castle across the estuary. These were commissioned in 1540 by Henry VIII to guard Carrick Rhodes and Falmouth. 

Then turned right on the coast path to Gyllyngvase Beach. Here we left the town behind and took to the cliff top again. This stretch is well maintained. 


Above Swanpool we found a 17th century ‘smuggler’s tunnel’. 


You can park your car at Swanpool Beach all day for just £2.50 and get a free cup of tea into the bargain. Unmissable. 


Decisions, decisions… We reached Maenporth for lunch and had to choose between the Cove (smart, aloof and expensive) or ‘Life’s a Beach’ café (enthusiastically freindly but inedible). We had a posh pint in the Cove but threw the Beach burger in the bin. 


There’s an abandoned air raid shelter and a couple of WWII pillboxes overlooking the bay at Maenporth. 
There’s a steep bit up out of Maenporth heading for the Iron Age fort at Rosemullion Head. On the way we dropped down to Bream Cove and the sun came out. Could easily have rested there all day but pressed on toward the Helford River. 

The stepping stones at Glendurgan.


Durgan is a gem. A tiny hamlet, maintained by the National Trust as holiday cottages. 

Then onwards to the Ferryboat Inn at Helford Passage where we caught the little ferry south towards Helford and Manaccan. 


It’s rather yottie around these parts so to blend in always keep your buoyancy aid on in the pub. 

The Shipwrights had a first class children’s entertainer so we stopped there a while and laughed a lot. 

Then off up through the woods towards Manaccan. 
About 7:00pm we arrived at the New Inn in Manaccan, New New Inn the friendliest pub in Cornwall. The whole pub took up our cause to find us a bed for the night. The governor, David, came through with a caravan!