BOGOF …. Buy one get one free!

Today was the day of two walks, which bearing in mind the last few days was something of an achievement!  It’s the weeekend where we’re travelling to London for a family get together so it was necessary for the logistics to get another day knocked off the list.  Volunteers were called for this epic journey of almost 20 miles and the ‘big fella’ stepped forward to take up the challenge.

Now it’s fair to say that before starting the walking lark I had been under the impression that either before or after the walk I would also run a few miles, to keep my hand in you might say?  There is absolutely no chance of that happening as the terrain we cover is so draining physically that once finished walking your last ounce of strength is required to drag yourself off to the pub.  This is a graph of the ups and downs of the walk from Lamorna to Porthleven yesterday, a tad under 20 miles, spectacular scenery but in a lot of places treacherous under foot, so a real case of one foot in front of the other and watching every step:-

Within the 20 miles I did manage to run a couple of miles and between us covered the distance in about 5 hours, the lovely Dee joining me for a celebratory march along the promenade between Newlyn and St Michaels Mount, where very cleverly she turned right and became a tourist for the rest of the day.  The ‘big fella’ then continued for another 11 miles taking loads of beach pictures, you can never have enough can you?  Luckily I’m not posting many of those but a few of the different things I saw on my illustrious journey, the first being a field of newly planted cabbages (I think),  there’s something about the straight lines:-

Also came across the equivalent of what us “inlanders” would consider as crop circles, couldn’t resist a beach shot either:-

Having completed the extra miles can you imagine my delight in walking into Porthleven to find a bus coming round the corner that I was able to jump on for the return journey to Penzance for our overnight stay.  Whilst out and about yesterday you come across some sights of great individual/team efforts and I include randomly a couple of personal highlights, the first being a two houses in a very narrow Marazion street (buses pass within inches!):-

Finally as I’ve mentioned a few times before this coast has incredible history of shipwrecks, plane crashes and contributions towards the two world wars and locally there is considerable effort put into remembering these heroic feats, this latest memorial being on a cliff top just outside Porthleven commemorating Mariners lost over the years along this coast:-

Onwards and upwards we now move on for a few days to the family function in London, we are flying into Gatwick from Newquay, how cosmopolitan does it get, although we are carrying our rucksacks so reality is not far away!

Enjoy your trip?   

So our hosts Prue and Nigel had promised us that we would really enjoy today’s walk … that compared to the last two days it would be a pleasurable one.  What is wrong with these people – do they mean to be well-intentioned or are they actually sadistic!!?  It was not a pleasurable experience by any way shape or form!   You readers must be thinking, why are they doing it?  I can assure you after today we are seriously questioning ourselves too!!

Again a delicious breakfast served up by Prue and some interesting chats before we headed off to find the Coastal Path, Sennen Cove to Lamorna – 12 miles.  Made sure we had fully engaged with the correct path at the start today.

An easy start with some grassy paths and wide gravel paths – in fact quite a smooth exercise right up to Lands End, arriving early enough to beat the crowds.  

Shortly after that, the path started to get a bit more bumpy and several times both Steve and I took a tumble – the minute you take your eyes away from the ground it seems to result in a trip, it’s so annoying.  At one point a young guy came athletically strolling towards us with his sheepdog on a lead – just before he reached us he did the old flying ‘trip’ – so tempting to say that childish ‘enjoy your trip?’ – but I know I would have punched someone if they had said it to me earlier!!   And the terrain got worse and worse and the day of trips continued.  We were on one of the many descents, Steve striding ahead, when he caught his foot on a tree root and literally flew – he had looked up momentarily as a family were approaching and ‘the trip’ was in full motion – his hat and glasses went flying!!  How he recovered himself I don’t know, he managed to stay upright – quite a shake up though.  

Late morning we stopped for a delicious cream tea, although overrun with wasps.  Turned out to be a sensible decision as it boosted the energy levels to get us through the next 4 hours of hellish walking.  

It was from about this point that the constant ascents and descents started and they were tough … and it was getting hotter and hotter.  At one point Steve spotted some walkers ahead and commented that they must have taken the wrong path as they were walking so close to the cliff edge – “there’s no way I’ll be doing that” he said!!  But oh yes, you’ve got it, 10 minutes later we were on that path.  I’ll called on all my angels to sit on our shoulders during this day.  Just past the Minnack theatre we had to walk down the steepest of boulder steps – well I had to do some of it on my bottom – I can’t describe how steep and scary it was.  And the day went on and on like this – the last mile or so was cliffside bolders – there was no let up.  We reached Lamorna after 7 hours of walking – so relieved to eventually find our gorgeous airbnb for the night.

The only thing that kept me going through the day (because I felt on many occasions that I couldn’t go on) was telling myself that I would never do this again.  

Headed out for a meal at the local pub – Lamorna Wink – lots of wine to aid the recovery and a giggly walk home in the dark. 

Where’s the coastal path!!?      Tuesday 22nd August 2017

Well today I cried for the first time, full on tears (and I’m not ashamed) – this was heart-thumping fear!

Today’s 9 mile walk from Pendeen to Sennen Cove promised to be a moderate one, so after a delicious breakfast with our host Mary we set off full of purpose and joie de vivre!   Sadly on two occasions we made the wrong decisions and ended up off track, in unchartered territory.  Now we’ve been through some testing situations thus far but finding ourselves walking long stretches up to our necks in overgrown ferns, brambles and all things prickly, not being able to see anything underfoot, shortly followed by narrow paths at the cliff edges with wind blowing from all angles – I’m afraid it was all too much for me.  Poor Steve had to guide a quivering wreck by the hand as we inched our way along, finally having to scramble up the side of the cliff on all fours where we were reunited with the coastal path.

Big tip:  If there’s no Coastal Path sign – don’t go there!!

After the initial disasters, the majority of the day turned out to be manageable and stunningly beatiful – really hot too.

The heathers are a stunning spectacle – vivid yellows, orange, pink and purple

And all continued well to near the end when we had a final beach to manoeuvre across – we thought we were so clever in taking off our boots and paddling so that we could avoid clambering over the rocks.  Unfortunately the tide came in a bit too quickly – once we were up to our bottoms in water we had to rethink our plan, resulting in having to tackle the rocks barefoot.  

Anyway, we finally reached our destination for the night and all was well.  Lovely people, a room with a view, stunning garden to enjoy our sundowner, washing and drying facilities and the house to ourselves for the evening.

This little project of ours takes some twists and turns and emotions fly up and down.  I’ve likened it to finding yourself in childbirth for the second time – once you sleep on it you forget the pains and go back for more!!  So tears all dried up now – we’re off to Lamorna in the morn! 😊

St Ives to Pendeen

Top day today as we started in bright sunshine which in itself was a great boost for our spirits, well needed after a couple of beers the night before with visitors Warren and Sam, lovely surprise!

A short rail journey into St Ives to reach the start of this section and a quick breakfast was the order of the day before Steve set off on the ‘strenuous’ walk whilst Dee got her miles in around town and The Tate Gallery, now what would you do?  This is a picture of the lovely harbour, yes the tide is out!

The guidebook was very honest with today’s description other than understating the 12 miles or so that I covered, through grasslands, heather, rocks, boulders, mud and ferns along with of course the now regular descent followed by ascent repeat repeat….  This stretch is supposed to be the hardest and I think it probably qualifies, what I can gaurantee is if this had been the first day I would have gone home!  A couple of the pictures from today’s walk maybe give a little idea of the types of walking facilities available:-

This whole journey has been amazing but way beyond anything we were expecting, in so far as not just the miles covered but how extraordinarily hard each one of those miles has been, along with some days spending 7 or 8 hours on your feet.  We are approaching though a very significant part of the journey as Lands End is just around the corner and we then start the return along the south coast.  That’s all folks I need to raise a glass to Dee and myself and of course to you all…Cheers

A rest day in Hayle

A Sunday – day of rest!!  And catching up with all our admin – you’d be amazed the amount of tasks you have to do on this walking lark – organising luggage transfer, checking out how to get to the next night’s accommodation, completing reviews on Airbnbs stayed, blogs – the list goes on an on!!  Treated ourselves to a lie in and a leisurely breakfast and then hit the admin.  Great excitement though when we heard from Warren that he and Sam were going to drive down from Bude – planned to meet up in a pub in Hayle.  Spent a lovely late afternoon/evening with them – great meal and fun company – so special to feel a touch of home ❤️

When we got back to our airbnb, John and Shirley invited us to join them for a drink which was a fabulous way to end the day – such lovely lovely people.  xx

Hayle to St Ives …. feeling at home 😊

So today we just had a moderate 4-5 mile walk to complete, nothing threatening!! Treated ourselves to a lie in in our luxurious pad!  Set off with a skip in our pace (especially for Alice ❤️) and hiked through footpaths, roads, dunes, muddy woods, beaches – all different terrains that make up the Coastal Path.  Some stunning gardens in St Erth… came across this unusual specimen …. name that plant!!

Left Hayle behind us as we headed off to St Ives.

After less than an hour we got talked into popping into a fund-raising tea and cake session at St. Uny’s Church, Lelant – delicious Victoria sponge!!

And the sun shined all day … I know, this is unheard of in Cornwall.  Passed stunning beaches – some remote and deserted, others packed with families making the most of the weather.

Walked as far as Porthminster Beach and settled there for the rest of the afternoon.  Tried to tuck into lunch on the beach but the seagulls won!!  I had a fabulous swim, quite chilly but as they say ‘beautiful once you’re under.’  I loved looking over at the town of St Ives as I floated on the waves.  Steve chose not to participate in the swimming – relaxed on the sand instead, ruling the seagulls!!

Enjoyed this most relaxing of days – got the train back from St. Ives to Hayle – went to 6.30pm mass and had a surprise meet up with Father Philip Dyson who used to be the parish priest in Weymouth.  Then back for another cosy night in at our nest in St.Erth.

Somewhere over the rainbow…… off to our beloved Hayle

Had spent a chilled evening in our airbnb in Illogen, care of our lovely hosts Mike and Anna.  Snacked on homous, olives, pate and pitta and of course lashings of wine.  Polished off with a competitive game of scrabble.

It rained heavily during the night but we woke up to a drier morning … however, of course being Cornwall, this didn’t last.  Mike drove us down some very narrow country lanes to the start of today’s 12 mile walk from Portreath to Hayle.  

Leaving Portreath

There was a stupendous climb on leaving Portreath, at many parts a hands and knees job!  The first couple of miles was quite heavy going – ups and downs ‘a plenty!   Steve has become quite the expert on weather conditions – in fact we’ve renamed him the ‘stormtrooper!’  He can spot a storm arriving from over the seas before the BBC get an inkling.  And there were many spottings and horrendous downpours during the day – we got drenched and then the sun would appear and we’d dry off instantly, only to go through it all again almost on an hourly basis.  But the mixture of weathers brought the most stunning rainbows.

After the initial climbs, the majority of the walk was pretty easy going and we were able to appreciate some stunning coastline scenery.  Still didn’t see any seals but being periodically rain blasted didn’t support the observation process.  


And then we came upon our beloved stretch of beach – from Godrevy, down through Gwithian Towans and on to Hayle.  The weather was bleak on arrival so photos of St Ives Bay do not do it justice. 

St Ives Bay

We trudged for miles over the towans, although overjoyed to be back in our old haunt, it was a long slug in what was pretty dreary weather.  Many families still braving the storms to settle onto the beach for the afternoon, surfers still surfing!  

At times the sun came out and brought back all those happy memories of our family holidays here.  Memories of bodyboarding, fishing with nets in the rock pools, losing Tom, flying kites, sand-modelling, losing Tom, digging holes and trenches, playing cricket, picnics, doing cartwheels …. oh and losing Tom!!!  Such simple and economically-challenged days but boy were they fun.  Thinking of all all our fellow-campers today (you know who you are – we were so lucky in being able to share these experiences with many family members and friends.

Walking through the dunes got a little tight at times in terms of squeezing through narrow paths overgrown with brambles, grasses etc.  I’m pretty petrified about adders so try my best not to think about it – but I take heed of Kaye and Greg’s advice offered to me when in Australia, and stamp my feet so that the snakes will know I’m coming and will stay away!!

It was fabulous to reach the town of Hayle which has changed considerably since I was last here – quite up and coming!  We then decided to walk on … to our airbnb destination .. this took another hour!!  But was worth it, quite palatial – we have two whole rooms – a lounge/diner/kitchen plus an ensuite bedroom.  You can’t imagine how amazing this feels after nights in rooms where you have to take turns to walk around!!  And the sun was shining.  Every cloud, and rainbow, has a silver lining. 🌈☔️☀️

And so to Portreath, farewell Perranporth 

Another downpour occurred,luckily this time whilst we were in bed, to think we spent years enjoying summer holidays in Cornwall, all is seems to do is rain and blow a gale.  I sit writing this at 5pm in the garden of our lovely AirBnB in August with a fleece on!  

With this in mind, looking at the prediction for today’s trip of strenuous walking my darling Dee decided to take the bus, leaving Forrest Gump aka Steve to run / walk the 12 miles in just about three hours which considering the terrain I was well pleased with, also meant that we arrived at The Basset Arms for a couple of swift lunchtime pints, I needed to rehydrate you understand.  It’s weird they had a special beer in for me when we arrived:-

Considering the guide book rates this as one of the more difficult parts of the path I was surprised at how many people I saw whilst on route, most it seems intent on looking at closed / no longer working mines which I guess on chilly days is something to do, although they all looked at me running as if I was the stupid one, surely not?  Anyway for the record here is one of the closed mine heads, they are very close to the edge!
Also took a couple of snaps of a beach at St Agnes and a random rock as I passed through, amazingly not too blurred considering the speed that I was moving at (ha ha):-

However possibly the highlight of the day was yours truly Steve aka Forrest Gump going 🏄 surfing, not in the sea I’m afraid but in a muddy puddle on one of the paths (did I mention it’s been raining?).  There is no photographic evidence of the actual event but I’m pleased to show you my washing is drying on the line afterwards as something of a permanent memory XX

Windy all the way …. Newquay to Perranporth

Getting away from the crowds in Newquay … these guys had the right idea!

We left a sunny Newquay behind this morning as we headed out along the estuary to Crantock Bay for our 11 mile walk to Perranporth.  This included a section called the Gannel Poetry Trail and then through Holywell Bay.

 Today’s guide had indicated a challenging – strenuous walk so we had mentally prepared for the challenge.  Lots of uphill and downhill (what’s new!) – all in all a manageable but tiring day.  We had definitely hit sand dune territory which requires a whole new set of walking skills!  We took the alternative of walking across beaches wherever possible.  However, today it was the wind that proved to be the major force to reckon with. … either when walking shorelines, up and down in the dunes or along the edge of the cliffs … it was knock you sideways winds (fortunately inland direction!) and sunglasses were essential items for the sandstorms (Steve had not brought his)! 

The tides just about allowed us to walk the stretch of Perran Sands and thus we avoided a whole stretch of sand dunes – it took forever to get along it but we were rewarded at the end by a steep but manageable path up (it actually had a hand rail) and onto the final stretch to Perranporth.

This sign made us laugh as it clearly indicated that the lifeguards are sick of answering these questions!!

Reached Perranporth just in time to jump on a bus back to Newquay where we were staying for a 2nd night in our seaside B&B.  

Tip of the day:  Do not ask locals for details of the coastal path i.e. Distance, direction, severity of route – they ALL lie!!  The truth is it’s unlikely that they have ever walked it – I guess they’re trying to be helpful but you’re better off sticking to your maps and instinct (if you have either of those)!  

And so to Newquay …

Porthcothan looked so different this morning to when we had left it yesterday afternoon.  This morning we left it in glorious sunshine.  And although the weather had cheered up so dramatically, it was with a heavier heart that I set off – I had received news that our lovely friend Grainne had lost her battle with cancer on Sunday – such a vibrant person, amazing wife and mother and beautiful friend – rest in peace Grainne.  I thought of you every step of my journey today and felt you were holding my hand all the way. ❤️

And this turned out to be my favourite walking day so far.  All 12 miles of it.  So that was 13.5 yesterday and 12 today.  Some gentle slopes but lots of steps …. and more steps …. and yet more steep steps!!  But nothing particularly scary or life-threatening.  Some narrow paths where you feel you have to walk like a model – one foot placed strategically in front of the other – trying not to look at the drop on your right!  But the majority of the time we strolled over easier terrain – well when I say stroll, Steve prefers to speed walk so my little legs work hard to keep up!  And overtaking – well, Steve was positively triumphant when we overtook a younger couple climbing a hill out of Mawgan Porth just after lunch.  And this was quite a feat as we had just polished off a cream tea!  

Had hoped so much to lose weight on this journey but it’s just not happening.  So much exercise but then throw in full English Breakfasts, Cornish pasties, cream teas, fish and chips, wine/beer!!  I saw a great sign in a shop in Padstow which read  ‘Please God, if you can’t make me thin, please make all my friends fat!’

Passed through so many beautiful beaches today – Bedruthan Steps, Mawgan Porth, Watergate Bay, Porth – much busier beaches in this part of Cornwall and today being particularly sunny they were heavily populated.

After 5 hours of walking + a lunch stop we arrived in Newquay – seems like a metropolis compared to all our other stops so far.  Settled into our B&B, found a friendly launderette to service wash our gear (this is such a big thing!!) and then dined out in Senor Dick’s Mexican Bar and Restaurant.  Had a little wander round Newquay before retiring back to our room for the night.  And it’s still only 8.30pm.  We had thought we’d planned in a day’s rest tomorrow but just realised that we haven’t – so harsh!!  So another 11 miles to cover tomorrow and it threatens to be ‘challenging – strenous.’