16. South West Coast Path (South Cornwall)

163. Porthleven to Perranuthnoe

Tuesday 30th January 2018

Got the bus from Penzance to Porthleven and then set off round the harbourside passing Rick Stein’s restaurant. Very much in the same style as his excellent restaurant in Padstow. Colder today, cloudy with not much wind and starting to rain. Passed the Ship Inn (GR626256) and the path started to climb up. A building that appears to be a church can be seen across the harbour. It is in fact a clock tower that houses the Bickford-Smith Scientific and Literary Institute built in 1884 and has frequently been filmed and photographed to illustrate storms hitting the Cornish Coast.

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The Clocktower, Porthleven on my rather dismal day (GR628256)
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But it can be really bad (Bernie Pettersen)

The harbourside road eventually reached the main road and immediately took a track off to the left which leads onto a grassy clifftop path. Unfortunately seemed to get a bit lost here because on approaching what turned out be Beacon Crag bed and breakfast went through the gate (GR623258) marked private as it seemed to be where the path went but obviously it wasn’t. The correct route was left towards the prominent war memorial.

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Coast path near Porthleven – war memorial just visible (Geograph.org.uk)

Ended up on their road out to the main road (GR623261). The road climbed steadily for about a mile and a half with good views out to sea over Bullion and Tremearne Cliffs. There were several opportunities to turn off left and drop back onto the coast but I thought they were likely to be muddy and anyway it meant losing height which I did not want to do. So continued to the t-junction (GR601280) and turned left towards Rinsey. In the meantime I passed onto the Land’s End Explorer map which felt like a landmark of some sort.

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Lesceave Cliff and Rinsey Head (Geograph.org.uk)

Walked down Rinsey Lane to the small village of Rinsey and after the second house on the right turned right down a muddy track which came out into open fields (GR594273). Followed the field boundary to a massive stile. Over that and then diagonally across the next field. At least these fields are arable rather than animals and so while they were wet they were not incredibly muddy. The next stile is easily missed being just a few stones sticking out of the wall to the left of a gateway. Across this stile and diagonally across the field heading towards a large white house in the distance. Headed for the left hand corner of this field, through a gateway and then a few yards on turned left to continue downhill with the hedge on the right towards the telegraph pole and hopefully the road. Went over a wooden stile immediately followed by a stone stile and onto the road which at the moment was more like a stream rather than a road. Followed it down to pass to the left of the white house (GR587277). Carry on down the lane and Praa Sands come into view through the mist and rain.

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Praa Sands (Geograph.org.uk)

At the bottom of the lane, just before the beach, turned right on a small road which services houses to the left and right of it. After a few hundred yards turned left on a signposted South West Coat Path which is actually quite a good path across the sand dunes of Praa Sands. At a path t-junction (GR585277) turned left and soon pass a rather attractive memorial to a Royal Australian Airforce Sunderland crew that crashed here during the war. They had fought off eight German fighters over the Bay of Biscay, shooting down three of them before limping home to crash land on Praa Sands.

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Memorial to crashed Sunderland, Praa Sands (flikr.com)

Turned right just before the link fence and headed for Sydney Cove which could now be seen and which would hopefully have a pub that was open. The pub was the Sandbar, a kind of combined café and pub which is probably quite nice in the summer but not particularly now. Had a couple of pints of Tribute here – beautiful though Cornwall is, it is something of a monoculture when it comes to beer as just about everything is owned by St Austell brewery and there is rarely much choice other than Tribute and Doom Bar.

On leaving the pub walked in front of the public toilets to get on the coast path by a Sydney Cove National Trust sign. The path climbed up on the cliffs and was quite muddy and then eventually dropped back down to a small wooden footbridge over a stream. The very muddy path climbed up onto Kenneggy Cliff overlooking Kenneggy Sand beach and then dropped down to The Enys (GR558279), meeting a small road and crossing a ford and on to The Enys itself which looks like some slightly fortified house. The estate’s gardens are extensive and open to the public in the summer.

Left Enys by the gateposts and immediately turned left down a lane and then left again to reach a footpath down by the water. The rather impressive Prussia Cove here but not really a day for photographs. Entered Cudden Point National Trust (GR551278) where it was quite exposed and windy and several wild ponies were grazing.

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Cudden Point (Geograph.org.uk)

Continued along the clifftop path over Stackhouse and Trebarvah cliffs to Perran Sands. Once again exhausted after relatively few but muddy miles decided to give up on my original objective for the day and go into Perranuthnoe.

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The Victoria Inn, Perranuthnoe (Geograph.org.uk)

Found the Victoria Inn which has an excellent reputation but unfortunately it was closed so had to stand outside in the rain waiting for my taxi to arrive from Penzance. Like all the other taxi drivers I used on this trip he did not seem the least concerned by my wet, bedraggled and muddy state and he took me back to the Dock Inn in Penzance.

Days from Chepstow      163

Miles today                        9.1

Miles from Chepstow    2011.7

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