Friday, 22 April 2016

Horns and Rule Following

Day Twenty Eight - Porthole to Mevagissey 19.8km (12.3 miles).
Time on route 6:10hrs, walking time 05:30hrs.

Tuesday 19 April 2016
Day 28 map
It was a prompt (for us) start after an overnight stay in Porthole. Stuffed full of eggs and toast we left Portloe in the sun.

I smiled at the creativity of the house decoration.
16 04 19 Day 28 (1) Portloe
And the post topper.
16 04 19 Day 28 (2) Portloe
It was another morning of undulating SWCP. We weren't as prepared as we should have been for the sun - unforecast I hasten to add. I'd forgotten a sunhat (I had woolly hat, gloves and waterproof as any Brit on the move would rightly carry) so had to improvise with a buff, and Caitlin had left her sunglasses in the car at Probus.

We'd had a mini cow encounter yesterday, but they were afar across the field and not too scary. Today was different. As we approached a gate east of East Portholland we saw a herd of bullocks tightly huddled. We then saw a couple walking through them and some stamping of feet (from the cows) and arm waving (from the humans). As they extracted themselves from the field we noticed they had a dog, which explained the discombobulation from the cows.

I was pretty anxious at this point, dog or no dog, and asked the couple about the animals. "I'm really nervous about cows," I explained trying to sound like a slightly normal person. "Oh, don't worry about them," the lady grinned. "Nothing to worry about". "Indeed," replied the gentleman. "They're fine. Oh, just watch out for the one with horns."

HORNS? That bullock had horns? That makes it bull-like in my head.

Caitlin nudged me towards the gate and we waited whilst the animals drifted off. We hatched a plan involving doing 3 sides of the field, and I was mentally planning how quickly I could jump over the barbed wired gorse hedge.  However as we entered the enclosure the mind-reading bullocks wandered towards the corner we were heading for. So we reverted to Plan A and took the direct route across. This I did, briskly, head down, with Caitlin behind me responding to my rapid questioning "are they following us? are they still there?"  Honestly - what a mother.

It transpired that Plan A wasn't actually the official route but, purist that I am, there are times when I overrule myself. And cow avoidance is far higher than sticking to the rules. Caitlin did roll her eyes, though, at me retracing as much of the path as I could and doing two sides of a triangle to ensure I didn't 'cheat' too much.

The next beach, Porthlune Cove, had a treat in store. It is home to Caerhays Castle, designed by John Nash who was also responsible for Buckingham Palace and the Brighton Pavilion. Approaching it from the west it is hidden, it's only as you pass it and climb out the east side of the cove that you see how majestic it is.
16 04 19 Day 28 (3) Caerhays Castle and Porthlune Cove
16 04 19 Day 28 (5) Caerhays Castle and Porthlune Cove
We had had Dodman Point in our sights for the whole morning. Initially it had seemed far to far away to be our pre-lunch goal but, km by km, it edged closer and the cross came into focus.

And finally we reached it.
16 04 19 Day 28 (7) Dodman Point
However, that wasn't my true goal at Dodman Point. There is a trig pillar up there so we glanced briefly at the cross then went in search of our Holy Grail. It was easy to spot just behind the lookout hut.
16 04 19 Day 28 (12) Dodman Point
I did the obligatory hug (I suspect these things don't get many) and wished it a happy 80th birthday for the day before. [Read all it on the Ordnance Survey page here and the BBC, here].
16 04 19 Day 28 (10) Dodman Point
I was slightly conscious that we weren't making over fast speed.  However, I said the magic words to my teenager and, zoom, she was off.  The magic words?  "Oh, I hope we make Gorran Haven before the pub stops serving food".

And we did.
16 04 19 Day 28 (15) Gorran Haven
We ate in the lovely Lawnroc Hotel however we didn't linger as we had a bus to catch.

It was 5.6km to Mevagissey and we had 1:45 in which to do it which was plenty but we didn't linger.

Chapel Point looked gorgeous in the sun.
16 04 19 Day 28 (16) Chapel Point
We descended into Portmellon.
16 04 19 Day 28 (18) Portmellon
What beautiful shadows from the gate.
16 04 19 Day 28 (17) Portmellon
Mevagissey is a classic double harbour - I know given the choice between Portloe and Mevagissey where I'd sail to in a storm.
16 04 19 Day 28 (19) Portmellon
16 04 19 Day 28 (21) Mevagissey
The boats glistened in the sun.
16 04 19 Day 28 (23) Mevagissey
We arrived in Mevagissey with 30 minutes to spare.  Which was just as well because the bus stop wasn't obvious.  Mevagissey sits at the termination of a route served by only one bus number.  We asked the car park attendant where the bus stop was.  "Which way are you going love?" he asked.  Umm, out of Mevagissey?

Our route back to the car was via St Austell where we changed buses.  St Austell rail and bus station is a great place to swap transport as it has a cafe where you can plonk yourself over a coffee whilst waiting your bus.  And plonk we did with our sun-caught faces, weary feet, stiff legs and smiles.

Roseland Peninsula

Day Twenty Seven - St Mawes to Porthole 22.0km (13.7 miles).
Time on route 6:45hrs, walking time 6:15hrs.

Monday 18 April 2016
Day 27 map
I have recently changed employment and am far more flexible with my working patterns.  So instead of cramming a walk into a weekend I was able to enjoy a more leisurely affair mid week accompanied by my daughter who is home from university.

I paused my SWCP trek at St Mawes last November and couldn't easily restart until the Place Ferry opened again at Easter.  This is the ferry across from St Mawes to St Anthony's peninsula.   My public transport hub has shifted to St Austell and our best option was to park at Probus and take the bus to St Mawes.

We didn't have long to enjoy St Mawes as the ferry was just about to leave.  However this old style of garage interested me.  And, as it turned out, I saw quite a few further around the Roseland Peninsula over the next couple of days.
16 04 18  Day 27 (1) St Mawes and Place Ferry
We left on the Place Ferry.
16 04 18  Day 27 (4) St Mawes and Place Ferry
Its only a short 10 minute hop across.
16 04 18  Day 27 (8) St Mawes and Place Ferry
Hair and smiles.
16 04 18  Day 27 (6) St Mawes and Place Ferry
St Anthony Church at Place is late-Norman with a beautiful door.
16 04 18  Day 27 (10) Place
Being spring there were daffodils aplenty.
16 04 18  Day 27 (9) Place
A medieval coffin.
16 04 18  Day 27 (12) Place
It was an overcast day but dry.  Ideal walking weather.  As eagerly anticipated (by me at any rate) St Anthony lighthouse was winking away in the gloom.
16 04 18  Day 27 (15) St Anthony Head
I love the way the wind shapes the direction of shrub growth.
16 04 18  Day 27 (13) St Anthony Head
My final glance at Falmouth looking back across Carrick Roads.
16 04 18  Day 27 (16) St Anthony Head
We walked past St Anthony Head and around the peninsula being, at one stage, only 300m from our landing point an hour or so earlier.

Being by the coast is wonderful.  It's sensory heaven - the sound of the waves and gulls, the sight of the sea and horizon, the smell of the littoral zone, the taste of salt on your lips. I try not to touch much.

I was fascinated by this south facing cove where all the kelp had washed up.
16 04 18  Day 27 (19) Into Portscatho
Our lunch spot was Portscatho.  The cafe was closed however the Plume of Feathers was up and running so we popped in for coffee and a snack.
16 04 18  Day 27 (21) Into Portscatho
It served us the best chips I've had for a long time.  She even shared.
16 04 18  Day 27 (22) Into Portscatho
We marched off, replete, and passed the Lookout Station which looked remarkably like a green wheelie bin from a distance.
16 04 18  Day 27 (23) Portscatho Lookout
There wasn't much flat walking today.  The path was dry and well marked, just not level for much - all too soon we'd descend into a cove and sweep back up onto the cliff tops.  And repeat.

This was a sad sight.  I think it's around Pendower: a forlone closed pub.
16 04 18  Day 27 (24) Pendower Beach
We watched a 'port and starboard' couple stroll across Carne Beach.
16 04 18  Day 27 (25) Carne Beach
16 04 18  Day 27 (27) Into Portloe
We arrived late afternoon in Porthole, a small fishing village with a southwesterly harbour.
16 04 18  Day 27 (29) Into Portloe
Apparently the harbour is so narrow that during the course of 17 years the local life boat had nothing to do.  The approach is too tricky to attempt in a storm so any ailing vessel would shelter elsewhere.
16 04 18  Day 27 (30) Into Portloe
Shame the harbour was empty of locals ;-)
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Porthole Pin-up