Friday, 10 June 2016

Par Pain Polperro

Day Thirty - Par to Polperro 22.6km (14.1 miles).
Time on route 7:05hrs, walking time 6:20hrs.

Tuesday 07 June 2016
Day 30 map
My back was stiff and sore this morning so I decided to see how far I'd get.  I started off at Par Sands and after winding through the back of Par Beach it was a good stretch of sand across Par Sands. Needless to say I was relieved when I moved onto more solid ground with the track around the back of the beach, and then it was an upwards climb towards Polkerris.
16 06 07 Day 30 (2) Par Sands
It was a beautiful day to be on the path.
16 06 07 Day 30 (4)
Polkerris appeared quickly. Another pretty unspoilt harbour. 16 06 07 Day 30 (5) Polkerris
I didn't linger but pushed on up and out of the cove towards Gribbin Head.
16 06 07 Day 30 (9) Gribbin Head
The 26 metre daymark is unmissable and was built by Trinity House to distinguish it from other South Cornish headlands.
16 06 07 Day 30 (8) Gribbin Head
Dropping down you enter Polridmouth Beach which is thought to be the beach that Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca is based on ('Mandeley' being Menabilly Barton which is close by).
16 06 07 Day 30 (9) Polridmouth
I bet this well appointed dwelling goes for a packet.
16 06 07 Day 30 (10) Polridmouth
Once around Gribbin Head the Fowey estuary appeared.
16 06 07 Day 30 (12) Towards Fowey
Wow, it really is quite breath taking isn't it?
16 06 07 Day 30 (14) Towards Fowey
I bumped into the start of the Saints Way here.  So acorns and crosses shared posts for a while.
16 06 07 Day 30 (15) Towards Fowey
As per many of these quaint and beautiful Cornish villages, they have been invaded by rich 'outsiders' who have either retired in the South West or bought a second home here. It is a contentious subject and pushes house prices up significantly forcing locals out. And then people wonder why there is no-one to service their cooker, or clean their house/car(s)? Anyway, I digress, but seeing these two cars side-by-side, obviously owned by someone who had enough spare money to buy expensive vehicles and then personalised number plates with the left over cash, made me think.
16 06 07 Day 30 (17) Fowey
And, now I remember, I saw a house on the Monday that was being renovated and had a sign outside stating "Joe and Liz are having an amazingly beautiful new kitchen and lounge fitted by Howdens!" Lucky Joe and Liz to have a spare house being renovated whilst they live elsewhere. Seemed a little pretentious to me.

Back to the walk.  Passed these creatures in a garden.  Think they are something to do with Wind in the Willows but not 100% sure.
16 06 07 Day 30 (18) Fowey
So pretty. Makes you want to move here :p
16 06 07 Day 30 (19) Fowey
I got a little confused with where the Polruan Ferry left from as its Fowey departure point moves depending on the time of day. First thing/evening it's one location and for the chunk of the day it's another. I had researched them but got them the wrong way round in my head but didn't take too long to find it. The price had gone up too. It was £1.80 on the web. £2.00 in reality.
16 06 07 Day 30 (22) Fowey to Polruan Ferry
It's a short hop across the river. Poor Mary was worried that she'd left something on the stove.
16 06 07 Day 30 (23) Fowey to Polruan Ferry
Alighting at Polruan.
16 06 07 Day 30 (20) Fowey to Polruan Ferry
I stopped for a short break in the Luggar Inn and then headed onwards. My back was not in good shape but my head overruled as it was such a glorious day.  It was a shame to waste it by giving in to a bit of pain.
16 06 07 Day 30 (25) Polruan
A few favourite things in one photo. Old road sign + Coast Path signpost + benchmark.
16 06 07 Day 30 (26) Polruan
Yes, a great day to be on the path. And a clear reminder of the direction of the prevailing wind.
16 06 07 Day 30 (27) From Polruan
Lantic Bay soon loomed.
16 06 07 Day 30 (28) Lantic Bay
The leg from Par to Polperro was branded "easy then strenuous" in the guide book which is exactly the wrong way for any day's walk, especially when you are becoming less abled with each step. And, indeed, the path upped the ante on the angle of the ascents and descents.
16 06 07 Day 30 (31)
I muttered and winced but kept going. By the time I spied Polperro I was limping but I was determined to get there: not that I had a lot of choice as I had to finish somewhere with a bus/semblance of public transport. As I hobbled into Polperro I spotted this Victorian outdoor pool on the cliff - magnificent! [Bottom right of photo].
16 06 07 Day 30 (32) Polperro
And then into Polperro itself.
16 06 07 Day 30 (33) Polperro
Polperro harbour: the village on jigsaws, calendars and fudge packets the country over.
16 06 07 Day 30 (34) Polperro
I was an hour early for the bus to Polruan.  Bus to Polruan.  Wait for ferry.  Walk to bus stop.  Bus to Par.  I cracked.  I rang for a cab.  I figured it wasn't going to cost oodles more to take a taxi than do the three legged public transport solution.  And I hurt.  And a cab was going to get me to my car over an hour earlier.  And why am I justifying this?!

So I whizzed back to Par quickly, although we had to await the Bodinnick car ferry which I didn't mind at all.
16 06 07 Day 30 (35) Bodinnick Ferry
I haven't been over this since about 2000 so it was time for a revisit.
16 06 07 Day 30 (36) Bodinnick Ferry


Day Twenty Nine - Mevagissey to Par 17.1km (10.5 miles).
Time on route 4:40hrs, walking time 04:25hrs.

Monday 06 June 2016
Day 29 map
I left the car at St Austell and caught the bus to Mevagissey.  I wasn't sure how far I was going to walk today due to my pesky sciatica.  I was flexible (except for in my lower back sadly) re: timing and where I came off route and returned to my car later. Charlestown seemed do-able.  However I met a fellow walker at the bus stop in St Austell who, too, was walking from Mevagissey.  He was stopping at Charlestown. When I suggested I may go further he raised his eyebrows "ah, that's a long way then," he replied.  Game on.  Past Charlestown it was then.

Mevagissey is a very pretty harbour. The tide was out and someone was tending to their boat.
16 06 06 Day 29 (1) Mevagissey
16 06 06 Day 29 (2) Mevagissey
Pentewan was the first bay I came to.  You skirt behind a large caravan park along the road into the village.  I was stopped here by a couple in a kit car where the retired chap barked "Heligan!" at me.  No, I didn't know the way to the Lost Gardens either.  However, his car was at least pointing in the right direction.
16 06 06 Day 29  (3) Pentewan
There was a plethora of wildlife on view today.  Much of it was flying (hence the title of today's blog - it reminds me of a made up name for all things that fluttered in a children's story book).  Brown and blue butterflies/moths flitted in and out of my route, along with birds of prey soaring above and beetles scurrying past.  There were cows aplenty and I even bravely walked within 2 metres of one enroute.  I was relieved I only spotted the nearby bull once near the stile [that would have been emotionally messy otherwise].  And the only thing that stood still long enough for me to bother taking a photo was this interesting, teenage-giggling-inducing, fungi.
16 06 06 Day 29  (4)
There are quite a few land/sea defences around here - par for the course I suppose on the south coast of the UK.  A deserted lookout sat forlorn in a field.
16 06 06 Day 29  (5) Disused lookout
There weren't too many climbs today.
16 06 06 Day 29  (6) Porthtowan
And they were infinitely preferable to descents which jarred my poorly back every jolt of the way.

More fungi.  Fewer giggles.
16 06 06 Day 29  (8)
Charlestown appeared earlier than expected, probably because I was plodding on with no stops.
16 06 06 Day 29  (11) Charlestown
It is still a working harbour and seems to have a penchant for rigged boats.
16 06 06 Day 29  (12) Charlestown
Oodles of maritime history here. Bliss (sigh).
16 06 06 Day 29  (13) Charlestown
But of course I didn't linger as I'm walking, not touristing.

The National Coastwatch has a lookout just to the east of Charlestown.
16 06 06 Day 29  (16)Charlestown Coastwatch
My back was really annoying me by this juncture but I wandered on, not wanting to admit early defeat. Once past Charlestown you near Carlyon Bay and a huge golf course which you hug for a kilometre or so. There are few glimpses of the beach but this one amused me. I wondered what was going on here with its imported pot-plant palm trees and kitsch tropical nirvana. It turns out this is the former Cornwall Coliseum ('entertainment capital of the SouthWest'). To say it's in redevelopment would be generous. But I'm sure it'll come good.
16 06 06 Day 29  (19) Carlyon Bay
It was pretty flat by now as I neared Par Sands. Thank goodness. The whole of my back was grumping and I limped on past the China Clay factory into Par Sands.
16 06 06 Day 29  (20) Par China Clay Factories
I caught the bus back to St Austell from Par and had a night on the town in St Austell that evening. If you've ever been to St Austell on a Monday night you'll know that perhaps I added a little panache to my former sentence...