Sunday, November 15, 2009

Gurnard's Head to Botallack (Oct 1st)

We were up at 6.30, making a quick porridge for breakfast, setting off for the bus station at about 7.30. Other than the main road which we had to cross, it was still and quiet, and a beautiful morning :-) Penzance sunrise

There were only fishermen, workmen and some early morning swimmers out...

Mount's Bay Sunrise

... and bus drivers of course! We had the same driver as yesterday, Steve, and picked up the same children for school, it was interesting watching their dynamic! We were dropped off near Gurnard's Head, and walked out onto the coast path, picking up where the path was open again.
Treen Cove
This cove was once the site of a pilchard business, (called a 'seine' - 3 boats, 2 nets and a fish cellar where the pilchards were processed) and more tin mining. I thought it was a lovely spot.

From here we walked out on to Gurnard's Head with its cliff castle and remains of round houses a rugged little headland that is bigger than it looks!Gurnard's Head

The path is mostly cliff walking from here with only a couple of coves, lots of scrambling over granite boulders and along narrow tracks, demanding on the body again!

New bridge

This bridge had been re-made after the storm damage, there were tracks from the diggers etc, it must have been difficult work as access was very tricky.

Porthmeor Cove - I liked the X!

The path leads on to Bosigran which is a one of the best climbing cliffs in Cornwall. The next picture I've included because it gives an good idea of how steep the cliffs are, the path you can see wending its way half way down the cliff on the far side was NOT the one we took!

When I was at college, I came here. It was the first time I had ever abseiled and I was scared stiff, as the sea was crashing far below, but I was in safe hands.

Bosigran Cliff

You can see a couple standing on the cliff top! I didn't climb all the way up there, just the pink coloured section!

Whirl Pool

The path was very tricky and uneven and a real scramble in places, we caught glimpses of a beach up ahead and I decided I hadn't paddled at all yet on the walk, so I would do it here, despite the challenge of drying feet and getting back into my boots etc!! I was so hot and tired, and the white sand and turquoise sea was so inviting :-)

Portheras Cove

You knew there was going to be a 'however' didn't you? As we descended the path, there was this notice...

... I could hardly believe it... and the sand was SO inviting...Portheras Cove

Tim had visited this beach years ago and it had just been boulders and stones,

the depth of sand was amazing, and the stream cut into it as we watched... beautiful :-)
I hope you enjoy this video.

After Portheras we walked on to Pendeen Watch,

Pendeen Watch

where there is another lighthouse, and sat and had some food, before walking on to Botallack via Geevor and Lelant Mines. We looked out for choughs but to no avail, by now we were very tired and were glad to stop.

Lelant Mine
We caught the bus into St Just, went for a hot chocolate, tea and carrot cake - very nice.

About to go and make my Chrstmas cake ...

... it's in the oven, :-) so just time to finish off this entry...

After catching bus back to Penzance and a shower in the Youth Hostel before the school kids got back, we returned to The Alverne for another lovely meal. We plumped for a starter and a pud for Tim, a frangipane which was so delicious he also wanted to skip down the road!

Tim's pud

The restaurant had a lovely welcoming atmosphere and a lounge area where you could sit by the fire - my pic does not do it justice.

We'd walked about 9 or so miles on the coast, but it had been a hard path, for me harder than yesterdays which Tim had found difficult. Parts were scrambling over boulders etc, but the final section had been on the gravel roads of the tin mines, and they make your legs ache! We had been blessed with wonderful weather again and were beginning to look a little tanned!

Thursday, November 12, 2009 Zennor

I meant to finish this yesterday, but got sidetracked by soup and over-worked teachers!
The picture above shows how clear the water was, even though it was cloudy over the land,

View from Zennor Head towards Gurnard's Head

We decided to stop at Zennor as the path had been very tricky and we were both tired. Also, we could not have walked further on the coast path there as between Zennor and Gurnard's Head the path was closed with big signs telling us if we did cross the barriers we would be turned back! This was as a result of the strom damage I mentioned earlier, and it will have to be a section we do sometime in the future when it has reopened.

The bus took us to Penznce, picking up a wonderful, elderly gentlemen called Russell, who chatted away to us and the driver (who knew him well). He kept calling me "my handsome" and "my love" in such a wonderful Cornish burr - it was a pleasure to travel with him. It was school run time so we picked up littlies for their journey home - it was lovely.

Why to Penzance? We had booked into the Youth Hostel there for several nights to use as our base on this part of the walk. It was huge (sleeps 100) and had school groups in, but was clean and very pleasant. It was a mile and a third from the bus stop to the Youth Hostel, and after we'd settled in we set off back into town to find somewhere to eat.

The Alverne is where we ended up, about a mile from the YH, and they served the most wonderful food ever. I chose a fishcake and Tim a goat's cheese creation. I have never eaten anything to match it, the balance of flavours was perfect, and I felt like skipping all the way back to the YH despite having felt exhausted when we walked in through their door. The quality of the food was matched by Sandra who looked after us so well - we decided we would return!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

St Ives - Zennor (Sept 30th)

The early bus took us to Perran, and then we hopped upstairs on the next bus - double decker - for a great ride to St Ives - amazing what you can see from up there!
View from St Ives bus stop

We got to St Ives about 10, picking up a pasty as we walked through the town.

St Ives Harbour
It was lovely to be there without crowds of tourists!
Porthminster Beach

We walked out onto the headland, round to Porthmeor, and out onto the cliffs.

Porthmeor Beach

As we walked out beyond St Ives, there was a strange, mournful sound coming from somewhere. We looked round for the cause but couldn't see anything. it came and went very strangely and I began to think I was hearing things - but it was a seal, hauling itself up onto some rocks just offshore. It was a very forlorn, mysterious sound - you could see how tales have arisen about them.

You'll see from the pictures, this is completely different from the other parts of the walk.

Beyond Clodgy Point

The path was full of wild flowers, the smell of bracken, mist, granite boulders and views of a turqoise sea.

This section of the coast path was marked with these 'milestones' which we liked :-)

The path itself wound its way amongst the boulders, it was narrow and overhung with grasses.

The views were wonderful.

I'm going to let you enjoy the next pics without comment.

In April this year Cornwall had lots of bad weather and localised flooding, this resulted in roads and bridges being wahed away, and sadly three youngsters died in this area when their car was washed into a steam. You can see from the picture below how much erosion there has been by this little stream.

It was very damp underfoot in places when we were there, and it had been dry for about a month, so we counted our blessings that we weren't hiking through this in the wet.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Porthtowan-Gwithian part 2

I'm going to let most of these pics speak for themselves... the lighthouse is Godrevy.

We discovered that the crowd of people standing on the cliff edge which I mentioned earlier, were watching a congregation of seals (is there a noun for a group of seals?).We didn't join them, but lay down on the edge of the cliff nearby and peered over.

It was lovely watching them in the water and lumbering around over the stones... you'll see quite a few if you look carefully although the pic blurs a bit.

Other than Hell's Mouth, I do not remember walking this area before though I am sure I must have.
We spent a little while in Gwithian waiting for the bus back home, and visited these two lovely churches.

The Parish Church had this notice on the door...
The churchyard had a wonderful atmosphere...

We stopped for another coffee at the National Trust shop in near Gwithian Bridge, a lovely design for a building and served by a lovely girl. It had been a superb day again, better than I anticipated as I thought this part might not be as good as some of the other areas we have walked.

Porthtowan to Gwithian (Oct 8th)

Our routine on a walking day saw Tim up and about first just before 7am. We made our own breakfasts, usually a porridge of some sort and toast maybe, then packed some lunch things which we may have bought the day before, if not, we'd pick them up from the shop at the bus stop.

My usual rations were; a pack of ready salted crisps, an apple, a banana, 'exotic' dried fruit (apricot, coconut,papaya etc),a lump of cheese, rye crackers, and some form of chocolate! Also, about one and a half litres of water in a platypus.

I found these provisions ideal, and spread out through th day kept me going very well. I'd usually have something at about 11am, then pick at things through the day. Sometimes we had a proper stop for lunch, other times we wanted to keep moving - we seemed to agree about these quite naturally (or perhaps Tim just gave in - you'll have to ask him...).

We caught the 8.13 bus to Perran, it was still and quiet, high tide and just beautiful. We then caught the bus to Porthtowan and were dropped at the Turn, and walked down to the beach.

As we reached the top of the cliff path we started chatting to a chap who was looking at the surf, he told us about a mother and baby seal in the next bay. We were so glad he told us about them or we would've missed them, the cliffs were a woderful red, and very shaly, but we spotted the pair on the beach below.

Mother and baby seal

Looking back up the coast we could see St Agnes beacon, but the beach we'd walked on to Porthtowan had disappeared under the high tide.

View back up coast to Porthtowan and St Agnes Beacon
The weather was glorious once again. The path only had a couple of descents, this one was Sally's Bottom, and stunning it was too!

Sally's Bottom
I had never walked this part before, around the edge of Nancekuke which is still protected by high, barbed wire fences etc.Portreath has a lovely little harbour within a harbour and shows signs of lots of new development.

Portreath, the bath in the rocks
We walked across the beach to see the bath cut into the rock by The Bassets - the lords of the manor. Apparently there are 6, but we only saw this one.
Portreath sea-water bath

It was generally easy walking from here, along the tops of the cliff towards Hell's Mouth.
This particular part reminded me of a less touristy version of Bedruthan Steps.

North Cliffs

We stopped at the cafe at Hell's Mouth for coffee, and then headed on towards Godrevy lighthouse. The path along this part is well trodden, and paved in part. As we neared Godrevy we could see lots of people standing along one stretch of cliff.

This is a real headland and could see into the Hayle estuary, Carbis Bay and St Ives beyond.

Carbis Bay