Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Seals and Slogging On

Day Seventeen - St Agnes to Hayle 32.5km (20.2 miles).
Time on route 8:35hrs, walking time 8:10hrs.

Saturday 09 May 2015
Day 17 maps
Today was a wonderfully long day.  I'd driven to Hayle the previous evening and caught the train/bus to St Agnes first thing on Saturday.  This meant I was on the path for 0915 which I needed as I had a long walk ahead back to Hayle.

St Agnes is just as quaint and pretty the second time round.
15 05 09 Day 17 (1) St Agnes
A call booth with a view?
15 05 09 Day 17 (2) Trevaunance Cove
Just as I climbed out of the bay I heard signing - a deep, male voice, resonant and sonorous.  It was coming from a small boat heading out of the cove.  What wonderful freedom this man had - just to throw back his head and sing his heart out on the sea.
15 05 09 Day 17 (4) Trevaunance Cove
And continued evidence of the mining activity of this region.
15 05 09 Day 17 (3) Trevaunance Cove
My first major landmark was Wheal Coates.
15 05 09 Day 17 (5) Wheal Coates
15 05 09 Day 17 (7) Wheal Coates
Before I dropped down Chapel Porth, one of the many beautiful coves on the path.
15 05 09 Day 17 (9) Chapel Porth
I stopped for a drink in Porthtowan wondering if I'd bitten off more than I could chew for the day.  I didn't seem to be making decent headway and the 20km+ ahead of me felt somewhat daunting.  I then remembered the kids on Dartmoor for the Ten Tors event and stopped pitying myself.  After all even the youngest kids were managing 35 miles in two days: 30km for me in one is nothing.  [Sorry - lots of unit swapping there].
15 05 09 Day 17 (10) Porthtowan
The path flattened out and I was able to increase my speed.
15 05 09 Day 17 (11)
I pretty much marched straight through Portreath.  A fellow walker had advised me of a wonderful tea shop there from where he'd just come, but I didn't want to let up my pace just yet.

A really interesting harbour layout.
15 05 09 Day 17 (12) Portreath
Friends. On the other side of the fence. Happy days.
15 05 09 Day 17 (15)
I eventually cut myself some slack and sat in the sun at Hell's Mouth to munch lunch.
15 05 09 Day 17 (16) Hells Mouth
Next was a trig bag, the Knavocks.  It is basically a trig with a stone coat: a tubby trig.
15 05 09 Day 17 (17) TP6395 The Knavocks
My new animal for the day was seal.  The grey seals use the caves around Kynance Cove to breed. They are usually there from October to April so I was fortunate to see a few sunning themselves this late in the season.
15 05 09 Day 17 (19) Kynance Cove
15 05 09 Day 17 (20) Kynance Cove
I rounded Godrevy Point with its lighthouse.
15 05 09 Day 17 (21) Godrevy Lighthouse
And turning the corner I saw my first view of St Ives Bay and its long, long beach.
15 05 09 Day 17 (22) St Ives Bay
It was a long slog down the towans (Cornish for sand dunes) behind the beach. The path was indistinctly marked so I frequently found myself making up my route and then seeing a marker 50m away from my path. The dunes went on for what seemed like forever. It was actually around 90 mins but after you've seen one dune, you've seen them all. And even when you near Hayle you are still in the towans.

You can imagine my relief when the Hayle Estuary came into sight and I came off the path just after an old swing bridge over a small river.
15 05 09 Day 17 (24) Hayle River
I stayed in Hayle that night again and as I was walking to my B&B spotted what looked like a very odd extension. Or rather, was the temple built first and then the row of terraces constructed behind it? Who knows.
15 05 09 Day 17 (25) Hayle

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