Cornwall August 8th – August 16th

Tuesday we leave our ‘Bearslake’ hotel after the walk and down to Cornwall we go.  A fairly easy drive without any major traffic.  After stopping in St Austell for food shopping we find our way through Cornish roads which as we get closer to the coast get smaller and smaller until both window mirrors are hitting the shrubs on the banks of the road on each side.  When you meet another car one of you has to back up to a spot where you can squeeze by.  No road rage and infact everyone acknowledges you  with a wave of the hand.  Arrived at ‘The Pigsty’ around 5:00 and a little taken aback as no stove no frying pan etc…(spoilt by the last place we stayed in)..but I have to say after having a week there we really enjoyed the cozy little place and were  sad to leave it. We met the owner’s daughter who gave us a small frying pan which did the job.  The owner Nicky came by later but unfortunately no larger pan was available. Bernadette managed to make some great meals based on the small frying pan only.  There was a charcoal barbecue so we cooked meat on that for four of the nights.

Wednesday morning we started off on our first coastal walk. Headed out the front gate and down through some fields to the coastal town of Portloe. 

Portloe is considered by many to be the jewel in the crown of the Roseland peninsula and one of the prettiest villages in Cornwall. It’s steep sided valleys has meant that it has managed to escape development over the years and many buildings differ little from when they were built. Sir John Betjeman said of Portloe “One of the least spoiled and most impressive of Cornish fishing villages”.At the beginning of the twentieth century there were more than fifty boats fishing here – now only three boats work from the cove mainly for crab and lobster.

Smuggling, as elsewhere in Cornwall, has played a part in Portloe’s history, with many a documented tale of cat and mouse games between locals and the excisemen! French brandy was the main contraband, brought ashore by fishermen and hidden in cellars and local farms. In fact in 1824 the problem was thought so bad that the Customs ordered the erection of a watch, boathouse and slip in a vain attempt to deter the illict trade.

From here we head south  Manare Head, Blouth Point and Nare Head and finally to Pennarin Point before heading back to our starting point Treviskey. We ended up going through a field of cows which became way to inquisitive – trotting towards us, managed to get out of the field in the nick of time!!! Passed some wonderful scenery but then again everyday is full of surprises.

Thursday we drove to to Porth Farm to start our walk for the day. Headed south to Porthmellin Head and onto Porthbeor Beach.  Access to Porthbeor beach remains closed. The cliff face continues to slip making it unviable and unsafe to restore access. It was considered one of the secret beaches of Cornwall as the nearest parking spot to get to it is over a mile away.  When we walked by the beach, there were people on the beach but they had arrived by boat.  Further on we reached St Anthony’s Head and lighthouse.  St Anthony’s Lighthouse is a lighthouse situated on St Anthony Head, on the eastern side of the entrance to Falmouth harbour, The harbour is also known as Carrick Roads and is one of the largest natural harbours in the world. Continuing on, St Mawes becomes clearly visible but to get there you have to take  a ferry over to the town as the estuary continues inland for quite a few miles.  If we had continued on the South Cornish Coastal Path we would have had to take the ferry but since we were doing a circular walk there was no need to do this.  For lunch we stopped at Place ( infact this is where the ferry goes from when the tide is high.) sat on the banks in the beautiful sun and enjoyed the scenery. We then circled back along the estuary until we arrivied back at Porth Farm.

Friday drove to St. Just of Rossland church with the plan of doing a circular walk to St Mawes. St Just has become very notable for its 13th century Church which is set in sub tropical gardens along side a tidal creek of the Carrick Roads. We followed the estuary all the way along into St Mawes arriving there via the castle.  St Mawes Castle is among the best-preserved of Henry VIII’s coastal artillery fortresses, and the most elaborately decorated of them all. One of the chain of forts built between 1539 and 1545 to counter an invasion threat from Catholic France and Spain, it guarded the important anchorage of Carrick Roads, sharing the task with Pendennis Castle on the other side of the Fal estuary. We did not go into the castle but rather continued around in to the town. It was once a busy fishing port, but the trade declined during the 20th century and it now serves as a popular tourist location.  We had a beer here and then lunch sitting on the beach. From here we meandered back to St Just’s via the Priory eventually getting back on to the initial coastal path.  Before we had left in the morning, coincidentally Bernadette had a message from Andy R mentioning his best naval buddy lived close to the church.  So knocking on the Old Rectory door I asked whether they knew of a naval pilot that lived close by.  The person pointed us to a house up the lane beside him.   No one home but as we were walking back down a lady with her children drove up.  Asking her she indeed knew this friend who actually was her neighbour- she had actually met Andy and Wendy. After a tea at a local tea and cake place we went back up to the house.  Stan B was there and the long and short of it was we had a great beer and told stories. We ended by taking a picture of the 4 of us and posted it.  Andy was very quizical on how we met!!.   One of the reasons we did this walk was that Nicky, the owner of the Pigsty worked at this tea and cake place and had recommended it to us.

Saturday, Nicky again suggested a walk starting at The Lost Gardens of Heligan – 200 acres of garden history.  Twenty-five years ago, Heligan’s historic gardens were unknown and unseen; lost under a tangle of weeds. It was only the chance discovery of a door in the ruins that led to the restoration of this once great estate. Today, The Lost Gardens have been put back where they belong: in pride of place among the finest gardens in Cornwall. From here we walked down various bicycle tracks reaching the river.  Over the river and then more tracks into Pentawan. A nice cool beer was welcome as we sat outside a pub and watched people go by.  Infact today was the day that the RAT race is held. RAT stands for Rossland August Trail. It incorporates four different routes, The Black Route 32 miles, The Red Route 20 miles, The White Route 11 miles and The Plague (green) 100K – 64 miles ! All these routes follow the same part of coastline, with runners from different routes joining each other at different points along the way. The route takes competitors though stunning coastal scenery, over undulating paths, through fields, villages and surrounding countryside – it is not for the faint hearted!   Let me tell you when I say it is not for the faint hearted I mean it walking these trails let alone running it is not for the faint hearted.  For the rest coastal walk we encountered hundreds of runners- all very polite with ‘thank you’as we moved off the trail for them to run by.   It slowed us down a bit but that was fine. Arriving in Mevagissey the crowds quadrupled. Mevagissey is an attractive old town which was once the centre of Cornwall’s pilchard fishery and which still boasts a working harbour, with a few dozen small fishing boats. It has a tradition of boat building dating back to 1745. Many of the old buildings, constructed of cob and slate, bear testimony to a time when the large shoals of pilchards were the livelihood of the whole village. Today it is a tourist hot spot. We wandered around for a while walking out to the end of the pier and then headed back through the town stopping for a coffee before heading up the hill and back towards the Lost Garden of Heligan and the car.  Another great day.

Sunday our last day here at the Pigsty before moving on. Parking the car a Penare we did to circular walk to Dodman Point and then into Garen Haven. On the way we stopped at Vault Beach and dipped our feet in the ocean- refreshing.  Once again just amazing scenery. Will be sorry to leave the south coast before of Cornwall but having been to the north coast very the years I know it is equally beautiful.

Monday morning we bid farewell to the Pigsty and head to the North Coast – Trelights.  Rather than heading directly there we drive south to Mullion Cove which is pretty well at the end of Cornwall.  Lynne Atkins one of our euchre people has a very good friend that married a Cornish fisherman and moved to this town. On arriving there we took a long walk up to the Lizzard. The Lizzard is the most southerly Point on the British mainland.  The Lizard’s coast is particularly hazardous to shipping and the seaways round the peninsula were historically known as the “Graveyard of Ships” The Lizard Lighthouse was built at Lizard Point in 1752 and the RNLI operates The Lizard lofeboat. Rain limited the walking and by the time we got back to Mullion Cove it was coming down pretty good.  Went into a little cafe and had a great Crab sandwich.  After asking the staff there they told us where Lynne’s friend Mandy Mundy lived ( everyone knows everyone in a village of this size!!) no one was home so we left a note and off we went.

Arrived at Trelights around 4:30.  The next couple of nights we spent with Charles and Mary.  I grew up with Charles and met Mary pretty much on their first date.  I shared a flat with Charles along with two others during my working days in the City of London. Although Bernadette is friends with Charles on Facebook, so I keep up with their life, I have not really spent any time with him for decades.  We have been to weddings together but never time to really catch up.  Great dinner and a few laughs!! 

Tuesday morning we head off to Rock where Charles keeps his boat, a 21 foot comfortable fishing boat.  For the next couple of hours we cruised around Padstow, the Camel estuary. Totally different scenery from the south coast in this particular area. Sandy beaches in all corners. Today was a lovely sunny day and every yacht was out sailing – infact there were regattas happening- lasers and other smaller dinghy types to the Cornish  Crabbers with their distinguable brown/ red sails.  My brother in law Peter Godwin- Hudson has one and have sailed with him many years ago.  Headed home for lunch in the garden.  Later we headed off for a walk, sans Charles,  Mary took us up Com Head and we walked towards Carnweather Point.  We had planned to walk to Epphaven  Cove but for the past five days or so I have been suffering from a severe ear ache in my left ear.  On this walk it flared up again so Mary cut short the walk and took me to her doctor’s surgery.  They took me in pretty much straight away and ended up giving me a prescription of Amoxicillin- hopefully this will help. Interestingly enough there was no charge to see the doctor and for the prescription.  Backtracking to our walk, the reason why Mary took us on this walk was that at Epphaven there is a cottage called ‘Copinger’ that I had stayed at on a couple of family vacations when I still lived n England. It is a wonderful cottage totally isolated in its own little Cove.

In the evening, we head of to Doyden Point near Port Quin for a sundowner.  There was nothing like sitting at this Point with a nice glass of white wine watching  the sun slowly going down. Picture perfect scene!!  Back to the house for an excellent barbecue- steak followed by a gooseberry foul and Cornish clotted cream- nothing like this cream..  Had a great couple of nights with Charles and Mary and a superb day of non stop activity! Lovely to catch up and hopefully we can do this again sooner than later.



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