17. South West Coast Path (North Cornwall)

176. Padstow to Port Isaac

Wednesday 30th January 2019

It’s good to be able to look out of your bedroom window early morning and to be able to see the first few miles of the day’s walk.

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Across Padstow Harbour to Trebetherick Point from bedroom in Metropole Hotel (GR920752)

Walked around Padstow harbour taking many photographs. I took many more photographs today as both the weather and subject matter were so much better than yesterday.

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Padstow Harbour (GR919754)
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Padstow Harbour (GR919755)
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Padstow Harbour (GR919755)
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Metropole Hotel, Padstow from harbour (GR920755)

Took the ferry out to Rock. The ferry boat is as little like a landing craft where the bow section lowers to provide a platform onto the sand or concrete landing depending on the tide.

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Rock Ferry arriving at Padstow (GR921755)

Fairly quiet day to start with in terms of weather. A still broken sky, cold but no wind but on the other side at Rock (GR928757) as the ferryman said you could feel the wind and very cold. Had a few spots of sleet.

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Padstow from ferry to Rock (GR926758)
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Approaching Rock on the ferry (GR927757)

The path goes off just above the beach at the base of the sand dunes and became a good firm path through the sand dunes heading towards Brea Hill.

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Across River Camel to Stepper Point (GR928761)

The path rose up the flank of Brea Hill with Hawker’s Cove and the landmark tower on Stepper Point visible over The Doom Bar (the bar of sand potentially blocking entry to estuary at some states of the tide but perhaps more widely known as the name of a beer originating in Rock).

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Brea House and Brea Hill (GR927767)

Round the corner of Brea Hill Daymer Bay came into view. Not very much at Daymer Bay (GR929776) apart from a few houses but again an impressive sandy beach.

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Daymer Bay (GR929776)

Continued away from the car park on a level path across Fishing Cove Fields to Trebetherick Point GR926780) opposite Stepper Point where I was yesterday.

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Stepper Point from Trebetherwick Point (GR926779)
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Pentire Point from Trebetherwick Point (GR926780)

A little further along the path came across a Kestrel hovering over Greenaway Beach and managed eventually to get a photograph from above.

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Kestrel just about visible against sand on Greenaway Beach (GR929783)

A good level path went all the way to Polzeath at Hayle Beach (GR935789) which is on Padstow Bay and in open sea rather than the Camel Estuary.

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Across Hayle Beach and the surf to Stepper Point (GR937792)

Polzeath is another one of these uninspiring places but I’m sure it is different in the summer when everyone is surfing. At the moment there are one or two shops, closed surf centres and many expensive houses, making the place not unattractive but not attractive.

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From Hayle Beach to Pentire Point (GR937792)

Decided to miss out Pentire Point as I wanted to get to Port Isaac as it has to be the starting point for the next trip. (Suitable access points are limited for the sections beyond Port Isaac and it is very hard walking).

Took the minor road out of Polzeath through Polzeath Holiday Resort (GR938790) – a set of statics. This was a mistake as although the map shows a footpath to Trenant I could not get through so had to my retrace steps to the Coast Path sign and continue on the coast path.

Followed the path round to the road at New Polzeath (GR935794) where there are some really flash houses and apartments and continued on the road as it bent round to the right. Just after the right turn continued on a track past some more houses to a gate into National Trust Pentireglaze (GR935796).

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Pentireglaze back to Pentireglaze Haven (GR938797)

The path leads up a pleasant valley to reach the road at Pentireglaze (GR944797), a collection of a couple of houses. Turned right here on a road that climbed up to a caravan park at the main road (GR945795) where I turned left. It was rather quiet and peaceful walking in the countryside after three days walking by the sea. Kept to the road to Porteath Bee Centre (GR963792) and there took a footpath to the left to cut off a triangle of the road. At the top of the fields, muddy in places, crossed a large stone stile onto a lane (GR966793) and turned left towards Port Quin.

Port Quin was a pleasant place but without any facilities so had some lunch on the barbecue tables in the car park (GR972805).

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Port Quin (GR971805)

Left Port Quin by the road to take the inland route which according to the signpost was an alternative to the coastal route – my excuse anyway as the coastal route is quite tough and I wanted to get to Port Isaac in time to get back to Rock to catch the last ferry of the day at 4.30pm. A short distance up the road at Howards Cottage (GR973805) took the signposted footpath off to the left. This climbed gradually but for a long way up a path and over a field and large stile to reach a farm track and continue on upwards. At the large Roscarrock farm (GR988805) took a footpath off to the left and downhill back towards the sea. Views ahead here to some point well beyond Port Isaac (Tintagel Head). The most severe section of the coastal path at Pine Haven was about ½ a mile away and now the path dropped steeply into the narrow wooded valley leading to Pine Haven. Reached a footbridge (GR991805) and crossed the stream, over a huge stile and then on up the other side. A really stiff climb up a very steep and very muddy path to reach a field. Went across the field to a large wooden pole which is obviously some sort of landmark from where you can see back along the coast but also can see Port Isaac laid out in front of you.

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Port Isaac (GR992807)
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Port Isaac and Tintagel Head (?) (GR992807)

Continued steeply down a narrow path through hedges and woodland. Managed to fall over for the first time this trip about 5 yards before the end of the path and just before Doc Martin’s surgery (his fictitious surgery from the TV series).

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Port Isaac (GR995808)

Continued on down the road and through the centre of Port Isaac to the Golden Lion (GR997808) for a couple of pints of Proper Job. The pub has a veranda giving a magnificent view over Port Isaac where we sat with the kids many years ago but this time I preferred the warmth of the interior of the pub.

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The Haven, Port Isaac (GR996808)

The lifeboat station is next door to The Slipway, now a B&B but I can remember sitting in there with the family when suddenly half the pub got up leaving meals and beer and rushed off to man the lifeboat on a call-out.

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Lifeboat Station, Port Isaac (GR996808)

A very helpful barmaid in the Golden Lion eventually got a taxi for me (mid-afternoon in these parts all local taxis are involved in school runs – according to drivers that I have spoken to not very lucrative but essential for getting through the lean winter months). The taxi got me back to the ferry at Rock well before its final run at 4.30 which saved a very expensive taxi via Wadebridge or a tortuously long journey on two buses on the same route.

Days from Chepstow   176

Miles today   10.4

Miles from Chepstow   2139.4

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