Sunday 8th April 2018
As usual got up at 4.30am, left home at 5am and drove down to Penzance arriving just after 10. Staying at the Con Amore Guest House on Morrab Street (GR472299).
I have a strategy for this four-day trip as it includes a fourteen mile ‘Severe’ leg from Pendeen Watch to St Ives (The South West Coast Path classifies sections as Easy, Moderate, Strenuous and Severe). I know from earlier experience, such as around Sidmouth, that I cannot cope with more than a few miles of ‘Severe’ (due to age, weight and lack of fitness). So the plan is to avoid some, but not all, of these sections by taking more inland routes. In the event this actually had some bonuses in the form of some very attractive pubs for lunch and some good country walking, but some problems of muddy fields.
I have also concluded that I should take frequent rests along the way (which caused a number of people to enquire about my health), eat chocolate and drink more water than I have done previously. Finally I always find a lunchtime rest in a pub with a couple of pints is really refreshing so I have extended this idea to carrying a hip flask containing Southern Comfort – although I rarely used it.
Left the Con Amore Guest House, went down to the sea and turned right. It was a pleasant day, sun shining a bit cloudy and about 10 degrees. Walked on the wide promenade with Newlyn visible across the bay until I reached Wherry Town (GR470296) where the promenade became narrower.
Very pleasant along here with gardens to the right and pebbly beach to the left. Passed the Tolcarne Inn (GR465285) and then at the main road turned left to go past the war memorial. Passed the fish market and associated industrial areas and climbed up to a monument where there was a good view over Newlyn harbour and the fishing boats with Penzance in the background.
Plenty of interesting looking little pubs along here but a little early in the day for a drink. Reached South Pier (GR466284) with good views back to Penzance and then continued along the road. A cycle path soon went off left to leave the road only to soon rejoin it.
Continued on the pavement towards Mousehole, with nothing much of note other than of course the views across the bay towards St Michaels Mount. After passing the old Penlee lifeboat station small allotments started to appear between the road and the small cliff, one of which had a bizarre set of scarecrows.
Soon reached Mousehole at the Old Coastguard (GR471265) which is really a restaurant and hotel and a sister establishment to The Gurnard’s Head Inn (see later). The staff were friendly enough but started putting ‘Reserved’ signs on all the tables including mine, presumably in the expectation of the fine weather bringing out a good crowd for Sunday lunch. So, I just had a pint of Tribute there and went on to the Ship Inn (GR469264) for two more pints of Tribute and a crab sandwich.
The coast path signs to get out of Mousehole are confusing, but basically followed the road steeply uphill to a sharp right turn (GR467257) to take a track straight ahead. This was the first time that I had been off asphalt since Penzance about 4 miles away (in fact first time since Marazion on the previous trip).
I had been dreading the mud, particularly after the last time in January when it was a mud-wading rather than walking trip. We seem to have had rain almost constantly since, but it didn’t seem too bad to start with. For the first mile or so this path was really quite pleasant between hedges and it had also become a really nice sunny day. I felt somewhat over-dressed and moved to summer headgear with a cap rather than the woollen hat. It also felt a bit like spring at last, the sea is calm and blue, birds are singing and leaves are coming out on trees.
The track became a narrow path that dropped down steep stone steps to reach the waterline just before Slinke Dean (GR463247). The path gets quite difficult here, muddy and rocky and up and down along a very dramatic and rocky coast around Carn-du.
The path into Lamorna Cove was particularly rocky and meant clambering over rocks – quite difficult really.
Lamorna Cove itself was very attractive with a little expensive looking café (GR450240).
As part of my strategy I decided to take an inland route to avoid the difficulties that apparently await at St Loy’s Cove and so took the road out of Lamorna Cove. The road from the cove climbed quite steeply at first until it reached the Lamorna Wink pub (GR447245) where it levelled out a bit. This is an attractive river valley with water rushing down over waterfalls beneath the road. The area appeared to be some sort of artists’ enclave with several studios.
At the peak of the road, just before it started to descend took a public bridleway off to the left. (GR444248). This climbed quite steeply to reach a minor road (GR440247). Turned left on the road and continued uphill to meet the main road at Tregurnow Farm (GR436246) (although on the OS map Tregurnow Farm is about a kilometre away) and immediately took a footpath off to the left. Crossed the field and a large stone stile and onto the path in the next field and seemed at least for the moment to be at the top of the climb at last. Almost missed the impressive stone circle in the middle of this field (GR433245). This is called the Merry Maidens and there were in fact a couple of older maidens sunbathing there at the time.
Reached the main road (GR432245) and turned left. Fortunately the road was very quiet and soon reached Boskenna Cross (GR426243) which has a medieval cross that made a convenient sitting place for one of my many planned rests. Continued on the road and at the entrance to Burnewhall House, a B&B (GR408238), turned left over the cattle grid and took the drive up towards the B&B. Immediately after a left turn on the track took a footpath off to the right which went over a very steep stile that tested my mobility and down into a very muddy cow field. Followed the edge of the field for about a hundred yards and then crossed over a stile into another field. Crossing the field behind the farm soon came across some absolutely enormous cows which were blocking the way. I think that following Ruth Livingstone’s walking blog and its ‘Killer Cows’ section must have spooked me as I am not usually too bothered by cows. It may have been a trick of the early evening light with the large (South Devon breed ?) cows on the skyline blocking my way but I turned back went through the farmyard and down the farm road. A peacock here was reminiscent of our second day on Offas Dyke (see Day 2. Bigsweir to Monmouth).
Reached the main road (GR400241) and turned left and left again at the road junction. The road climbed a little at first followed by a steep descent and a demoralising steep climb up the other side to Treen and the Logan Rock Inn. I was exhausted by the time of the final climb and I am not sure that my strategy of taking some inland routes really worked as there was probably more climbing, albeit on better surfaces, and there were muddy fields to contend with. The compensation was the very attractive Logan Rock Inn although I only had time for one beer before the taxi arrived to take me back to the Con Amore Guest House. I had difficulty all week with my, hopefully correct pronunciation of Com Amoré (Italian for ‘with tenderness’), whereas everyone understood Con A More.
Days from Chepstow 165
Miles today 11.7
Miles from Chepstow 2029.2