17. South West Coast Path (North Cornwall)

179. Boscastle to Crackington Haven

Tuesday 23rd April 2019

We (Tony, Diane and myself) left the Wellington Hotel, Boscastle and set off along the harbour to the youth hostel where we believed we could pick up the path.

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Leaving the Wellington Hotel (GR099912)

The SWCP Association handbook says ‘the path starts behind the youth hostel’ (GR098913). We could clearly see the path but could find no way up to it.

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Setting off in the wrong direction. Boscastle Harbour (GR099913)

The OS map shows the official path leaving Boscastle by the B3263 and then doubling back on the path behind the youth hostel. So we took this route, climbing up the hill to eventually join the path which turned back along the harbour but higher up (GR102914).

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The Wellington Hotel from the Panoramic Path (GR099913)

This was a very pleasant path that gently descends to the harbour. It is called the Panoramic Path and of course it was a total waste of time going up the road as we could have walked along the harbour to get here. Strange how often navigation is most difficult at the start of a walk.

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Boscastle Harbour (GR096914)

The steep climb up towards Penally Point (GR095916) and Penhally Hill had views back to the church at Trevalga where I was yesterday.

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Tony returns from a successful single-handed attempt on Penally Point (GR097916)

From Penally Point continued climbing on a gentler path until it levelled out by an interesting wall comprised of vertical slates covered in lichen.

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The path and a lichen-covered vertical slate wall on Penally Hill (GR099916)

The path dropped down towards the bay at Pentargon and then up around the bay. At the top was Hillsborough where there was a café where we stopped for tea (GR109918). This was a large busy café and farm shop which was a bit strange as we felt we were in the middle of nowhere and had already been walking for long enough to justify a cup of tea. We had in fact walked two miles including the climb up to Penally Hill but the café was only ½ mile by road from where we had joined the Panoramic Path in Boscastle. There were young calves here, one of which was probably just hours old.

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New born claves at Hillsborough Cafe (GR109918)

After a very refreshing cup of tea continued the walk around Pentargon to reach about 200 steps down a bank of primroses to reach the footbridge near Pentargon Waterfall (GR109920) and then up Beeny Cliff again on steps.

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Steps down to Pentargon (much steeper than it looks) (GR109920)

Climbed down the other side of Beeny Cliff and at the bottom there was an optional path to Fire Beacon Point and a sign along the main path to the Cliffhanger pup-up bar 900 metres away.

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The bar is not far away (GR106921)

I always read Ruth Livingstone’s blog before a trip and I could remember that she had given some advice about the alternative paths here (GR106921). I couldn’t remember the advice so we continued on the main path on Beeny Cliff which at least started out as a gentle contouring path on top of the cliffs.

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Back to Penhally Hill (GR106924)

Fire Beacon Point soon came into view and I remembered that the advice was to take the alternative path to avoid the very steep climb up steps to the top of Fire Beacon Point. A bench at the top provided a welcome resting place. Soon after (GR110928) the optional path joined the main path and I am sure it would have been an easier route. And there was the Cliffhanger Bar which of course was not open but in fairness it was neither the summer nor the weekend. Cambeak, almost at Crackington Haven, could be seen from here.

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The bar is shut (GR110929)

The path continued to rise up on open clifftop above Saddle Rock towards North Lodge with views ahead to Cambeak. At Busey Cliff the path seemed to go the wrong way, dropping down very, very steeply.

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Gull Rock, Buckator and Cambeak (GR116929)

The path meandered down getting towards water level with the horrors of the climb up High Cliff in front and Cambeak beyond that. At the bottom of the descent crossed a tiny bridge over a dried up stream and began the climb (GR129940). According to my GPS this was a 350 feet climb and at the top the two beaches The Strangles and Little Strand and Cambeak could be seen.

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Cambeak (GR121934)

Cambeak is approached over the large open cliff tops of High Cliff above The Strangles and Little Strand which were home to a large herd of very large goats. High Cliff is apparently the highest cliff in Cornwall so it was possible to see a many miles back over a whole series of headlands.

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Near Cambeak, above Little Strand (GR132958)

The walk into Crackington Haven from Cambeak appeared as if it should have been a nice easy downhill stroll but there were a couple of depressing little climbs up steps along the way.

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The beach at Crackington Haven (GR140967)
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Crackington Haven (GR140967)

The bus to Boscastle left about 10 seconds before we arrived and with the next not being for another two hours we had a drink in The Coombe Barton Inn and called friendly Boscars for a taxi back to Boscastle.

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The Coombe Barton Inn, Crackington Haven (GR143968)

We had an excellent evening meal in The Riverside restaurant in Boscastle, complete with stories from the owner (?) pointing out to us the location of cars in the restaurant during the 2004 floods. (In the YouTube video the restaurant is the building to the right of the picture)

Days from Chepstow   179

Miles today   8.0

Miles from Chepstow   2161.6

One thought on “179. Boscastle to Crackington Haven

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