Sunday, 22 November 2015

A 2015 Finish in Falmouth

Day Twenty Six - Mawnan to Falmouth 12.8km (8.0 miles).
Time on route 5:05hrs, walking time 3:20hrs.

Saturday 21 November 2015
Day 26 maps
It seemed fitting to complete my 2015 SWCP year by reaching Falmouth. I haven't been that well recently so a short 12k seemed ideal. The weather looked pretty awful and I was nearly regretting pre-paying for my B&B. But it was a short walk and there was a delightful looking pub en route which I figured would be ideal to dry off in.

I drove down to Falmouth early Saturday, shivered at the bus stop peeping out at the freezing rain, and caught the bus to Mawnan Smith. The rain stopped and I walked in the dry down to Mawnan Church from where I picked up my route.

Looking back at Helford Passage.
15 11 21 Day 26 1 Helford Passage (1)
And then the sun came out. So rather than waterproof trousers I was regretting not packing the sunglasses.
15 11 21 Day 26 2 Towards Maenporth(3)
15 11 21 Day 26 2 Towards Maenporth(4)
As I had spare time I wandered off the path up towards Rosemullion where I knew there was a trig to be found. I slid and slipped my way up the fields and was rewarded with a glimpse of my holy grail. OK, a trig then. TP5738
15 11 21 Day 26 3 TP5738 - Rosemullion (3)
The sun continued to smile on me as I slithered towards Maenporth. It was incredibly windy - the forecasts had been predicting gusts of up to 42mph and at times I certainly had to push my way into the wind.
15 11 21 Day 26 4 Looking out towards Anthony Head
The Cove Inn at Maenporth was a wonderful find. I treated myself to a lazy tapas lunch overlooking the sea. I had thought I'd be drying out at this juncture and was delighted to still be dry; even though it did take quite a few minutes to unpeel all my layers, hat, gloves, waterproof, fleece etc before sitting down.

Once fed and watered I headed off towards Falmouth passing Swanpool beach - actually a contraction of Swamp-pool rather than anything more graceful. The presence of the flue from the old arsenic works doesn't glamourise it either.
15 11 21 Day 26 5 Swanpool
As you near Falmouth there is a large sweep around Pendennis Point before finding Falmouth town centre. Some lovely buildings en route.
15 11 21 Day 26 6 Entering Falmouth
You can't easily see Pendennis Castle from the path - but can certainly see some of the WW2 fortifications added to this coastline.
15 11 21 Day 26 7 Pendennis Fort
Falmouth is a quirky, fun maritime town, reminiscent of Dartmouth. I enjoyed the architecture.
15 11 21 Day 26 8 Falmouth (2)
15 11 21 Day 26 8 Falmouth (1)
I walked through the town to the Prince of Wales pier, then retraced my steps back to my B&B for a hot shower. I had a delightful meal at the Lookout that evening.

I explored more of Falmouth on Sunday.
15 11 22 Falmouth (4)
15 11 22 Falmouth (1)
I wanted to complete my Falmouth walk by crossing Carrick Roads to St Mawes so that my next leg starts on the east side of the river. The St Mawes Ferry runs hourly, even on Sundays in November.
15 11 22 Falmouth (5)
Again, despite a stormy weather forecast, Falmouth was kind to me and I had a smooth crossing.
15 11 22 Falmouth (6)
Looking back to Falmouth.
15 11 22 Falmouth (8)
St Mawes Castle.
15 11 22 Falmouth St Mawes (5)
St Mawes Harbour. The clouds were gathering.
15 11 22 Falmouth St Mawes (7)
Unfortunately I wasn't quite able to reach the next landfall on St Anthony Head as the small ferry from St Mawes to Place across the Percuil has finished for the season. So for now I just turned straight around and came back on the ferry to Falmouth. I'll leave thinking about crossing to St Anthony Head for 2016.  And to end this chapter of the coast path Falmouth threw me a beautiful rainbow.
15 11 22 Falmouth (20)

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Half Way!

Day Twenty Five - Coverack to Mawnan 23.9km (14.9 miles).
Time on route 6:55hrs, walking time 5:45hrs.

Saturday 10 October 2015
Day 25 map
This is the first time on the path I've ever resorted to hiring a taxi. I've always tried to plan the route using public transport but, to be honest, had already failed due to the paucity of buses and train services in North Devon (my family helped out). This time I'd decided to park at Helford Passage and catch a cab round to Coverack, staying at the delightful Youth Hostel there.   The price of that and the taxi was less than a B&B in Helston plus buses with their awkward timetables. A win win.

I arrived Friday night at the Youth Hostel and when I drew my curtains Saturday morning discovered a wonderful view.
15 10 10 Room with a view
It was an overcast and windy day, but dry. Coverack looked a little grey when I left it but still beautiful.
15 10 10 Day 25 1 Coverack
The first part of the walk heads along raised beaches caused by the last interglacial period.
15 10 10 Day 25 2 Raised beaches (1)
Although it was early October, and I'd had a big breakfast at the Youth Hostel, there was still room for a snack or two enroute.
15 10 10 Day 25 3 Dean Quarries (2)
Dean Quarry loomed in the greyness.
15 10 10 Day 25 3 Dean Quarries (1)
I read in Gillan Creek that there are plans to revive it; to extend the pontoon and bring back heavy machinery to this area. Needless to say it hasn't met with a big thumbs up from the locals.
15 10 10 Day 25 3 Dean Quarries (3)
15 10 10 Day 25 3 Dean Quarries (5)
A sign for a short person.
15 10 10 Day 25 3 Dean Quarries (4)
Another raised beach.
15 10 10 Day 25 4 Rosenithon (1)
The path diverts from the coast line a few times around this area. The SWCP Assocation are trying to gain access to the more coastal routes but to no avail yet. So I headed inland around Rosenithon. A pretty village.
15 10 10 Day 25 4 Rosenithon (3)
And a cool play pen/retreat in someone's garden.
15 10 10 Day 25 4 Rosenithon (5)
Any idea what this is? The pronged fork part was not attached to the rest.
15 10 10 Day 25 4 Rosenithon (2)
There were quite a few stretches of road walking which I never mind, as long as they are not extensive.
15 10 10 Day 25 4 Rosenithon (6)
And, yup, pretty soon I would be walking down a mysterious covered path with flickers of daylight peeping through.
15 10 10 Day 25 4 Rosenithon (7)
I arrived promptly at Porthallow, 1050. I had hoped to stop for a coffee and cake at the pub but it didn't open until midday. And the local cafe was "2 minutes up the car" so I didn't linger. I had wondered if I'd miss the halfway marker to celebrate my 50% achievement. I needn't have worried I'd fail to spot it.  Wow - halfway round in 2 years and I've given myself 5 years to complete this.  All going well :-)
15 10 10 Day 25 5 Porthallow (1)
Golly - with gardens like this doesn't it just make you want to give up your job and move here?
15 10 10 Day 25 5 Porthallow (4)
I walked past the National Coastwatch Institute lookout at Nare Point. I have a lot of time for this voluntary-run organisation. I left a donation in their wee tin and waved at the duty officers.
15 10 10 Day 25 6 Nare Point Look Out
I arrived at Gillan Creek 2 hours after low tide. I knew I had little chance of making the shortcut across the creek to St Anthony: and I wasn't even sure if it was 'allowed' in the Ruth-purist-book as it wasn't the official route.
15 10 10 Day 25 7 Gillan Creek (2)
It wasn't a hard decision. I could see no evidence of any stepping stones so trudged up through Gillywartha, and fields full of high corn-on-the-cob which dwarfed me. And then back to the head of the creek at Manaccan.
15 10 10 Day 25 7 Gillan Creek (4)
This property's garden must flood frequently. You can see the blue portholes in their garden wall allowing water to flood back out of their garden into the creek. Needless to say their turf will not win any gardening awards soon.

It was a delightful stroll amongst the trees on the northside of the Creek to St Anthony-in-Meneage. This occupies what was probably one of the earliest Christian sites in Cornwall. Meneage means 'land of monks'.
15 10 10 Day 25 8 St Anthony in Meneage (1)
I took the official route to the tip of Dennis Head managing to miss both the square Royalist fortification and any other semblance of view due to the high undergrowth.

And then it was a stroll through more woods into Helford.  As I'd skipped morning coffee it was great to fall into the Shipwrights Arms for a late lunch.
15 10 10 Day 25 9 Helford (4)
Calling the ferry was fun. Look.  You have to open the board and then...
15 10 10 Day 25 9 Helford (1)
Now this made me laugh!
15 10 10 Day 25 9 Helford (5)
The bat-boat arrived really quickly and I was sped across the river to Helford Passage.
15 10 10 Day 25 9 Helford (2)
Although my car was just up the road I wanted to carry on walking, after all it was only 1500. So I headed off towards Mawnan taking another look back at the quaint Helford Passage.
15 10 10 Day 25 10 Helford Passage (3)
And very soon I had the path to myself which is exactly how I like it. Just me, the sea, the wind, the sun (if it feels like showing itself) and space.
15 10 10 Day 25 10 Helford Passage (4)
I ended up coming off the path at Mawnan and missing the bus to Helford Passage from Mawnan Smith, so I simply just walked back to the car.  No great shakes. I'd had a wonderful day and was halfway round. You can't beat that.

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Into the Wind (Again) Lizard Style

Day Twenty Four - Cadgwith to Coverack 11.5km (7.1 miles).
Time on route 3:25hrs, walking time 3:15hrs.

Monday 28 September 2015
Day 24 mapping
When I do a two-dayer on the path I always load the distance upfront so I can have a leisurely start and shorter walk on the second day. After all, this is mean to be a fun hobby rather than a route march.
15 09 28 Day 24 1 Cadgwith (2)
So I had a relaxed breakfast and headed back up the cliffs from Cadgwith Cove.
15 09 28 Day 24 1 Cadgwith (1)
Interesting flora today.
15 09 28 Day 24 2 The path (1)
And beautiful wooded streams to cross.
15 09 28 Day 24 2 The path (2)
One of the things I love about the South West Coast Path is finding unexpected treasures. And this wonderful carved bench was just one such find.
15 09 28 Day 24 2 The path (3)
Looking onwards towards Coverack. Yet another walk with wind in one's face. So much for this being the 'sheltered side' of the Lizard.
15 09 28 Day 24 2 The path (4)
The eastern side of the Lizard Peninsula is quite verdant (which is the posh word for boggy I'm beginning to realise) and I was grateful for the occasional board walk.
15 09 28 Day 24 3 Coverack (3)
The nearer I get to the deep water anchorages of the Helford and Carrick Roads (east of Falmouth), the more of these mighty ships I'll see. This one wasn't going anywhere for today.
15 09 28 Day 24 3 Coverack (2)
Coverack is yet another wonderfully beautiful Cornish village.
15 09 28 Day 24 3 Coverack (4)
I dithered here. I had about 2 hours until the next bus and circa 6km to do to the next bus stop at St Keverne. It was a bit of a dilema; put my feet up for a couple of hours in the local pub or march on (still fighting a sore back) to the next stop. The pub won and I sat in a wonderful location, overlooking the sea, drinking tea and reading. Sometimes it's good just to stop.
15 09 28 Day 24 3 Coverack (1)
Anyway, next time it'll be a push on up towards the Helford River and a river crossing which I must complete by 31 Oct as the ferry then shuts down for a 6 month period. Can you imagine - 6 months without getting onto path? Horrendous!