After a rough couple of days weather it was a relief to see sunshine once again and I was anxious to go and do a section of previously unwalked path. I headed over to Par and from there got the bus to Mevagissey. This was a bit of a long winded journey through St Austell and I think I saw every housing estate that exists in this corner of
. I was most relieved to reach my final destination after an hour or so. Cornwall
As I wandered around the harbour I could see a couple of boats receiving some attention at the far end. They looked faintly ridiculous out of the water and leaning over on their keels but I guess this is the only way in which they can be painted. I wandered out on to the harbour arm of the outer harbour, a rather curious arrangement that I suppose was built to reduce the worst effects of the winter storms.
Ahead the bay at Pentewan soon came into view, with its large expanse of holiday caravans behind the beach. As a spectacle I am not a great fan of these places, but the location of this one must make it extremely popular during the summer months. There wasn’t a great deal of activity on the park this early in the season, but there were a few people on the private attached beach. I passed by an abandoned fishing station, one of many on this stretch. I believe most of them were involved in the pilchard fishing industry. I am not even sure this exists any longer?
I passed along the back of Pentewan caravan park and headed into the adjacent village. This was a peaceful and attractive place with the inevitable water sports shop as well as village shop. What was unusual though was the artificial harbour built in the village. I am guessing judging by its appearance that it is no longer used but in its day it was used by china clay traffic. Now, the harbour is completely silted up and cut off from the sea.
The path left the village by a track that passed an old church and some beautiful looking houses that overlooked the bay. At the back I by-passed some chaps renewing a boundary fence to the properties and thought what a lovely place and day it would be to work. My way forward now was along the clifftops to Black Head, a promontory some distance ahead. Along the way the path climbed and fell along an undulating course that was quite tough going. The views more than compensated though and all along the way I was joined by all sorts of bird life and not just the expected seagulls but blackcaps, robins, blackbirds, sparrows. I even came across another stoat – the second that I had seen on this trip away.
|Black Head Cove|
As I approached Black Head I passed by a very large and unusually plain looking memorial to the famous Cornish poet A.L.Rowse. I took the opportunity to walk out to the headland even though it wasn’t on the official route. I passed by another pilchard station on the way and headed up on to what was once an Iron Age Hill Fort. These seem to be fairly common in
, something I hadn’t previously realised. I guess the metal riches and plentiful fishing opportunities brought many of the Iron Age people down here and these headlands made for easily protected places to live. Sadly I didn’t gain much from going out to the headland so I didn’t hang around too long. Cornwall
As with all headlands though a new view opened up and ahead of me I could now see the china clay hills that I have heard being referred to locally as ‘The Alps’. They do make for a rather unusual landscape that is unmistakably Cornish. Across the bay and I could see the candy striped marker at the Gribbin. As I looked I could see a helicopter buzzing towards me and as ever my immediate thought was that someone might be in trouble out on the water. It rushed by looking like it was making a longer journey and I felt relieved.
The onward route to
started out quite easy with some very pleasant cliff top walking. I got distracted by the wild flowers growing along the side of the path though and shortly after passing a rare walker I took a wrong turn and started heading downhill towards Ropehaven. I didn’t realise my mistake until I was almost at the shoreline and cursed as I had to retrace my steps up the steep path back to where I should have headed. The bright sunshine that I had enjoyed for a while also gave way to cloud and I prepared myself for a rain shower, which thankfully didn’t come. Charlestown
The onward path soon got a lot trickier with a couple of steep ascents and descents in quick succession including a pretty mammoth one at Silvermine Point. I passed a couple of old codgers here and tried to not to show myself up by crawling up the hill they were taking slowly and steadily.
Eventually I came to Porth Pean, a beautiful secluded little beach that had attracted a few visitors on this rather unsettled looking day. My guidebook suggested that I might need to head inland along a detour here, but to my relief the official path had now been re-opened. I climbed some steep steps and found a lookout tower at the top which I couldn’t pass without a closer look. A little further on and I could see the erosion that had precipitated the earlier closure and the fact that some of an adjacent garden had had to be commandeered in order to fashion a new stretch of path.
|Earl of Pembroke at Charlestown|
|Charlestown Shipwreck & Maritime Museum|
My last stretch of coastal walking for the day was alongside a golf course. A few hardy souls were out but I couldn’t imagine that playing golf on such a windy day would be much fun. The wind though did bring up some wonderful sea and skyscapes for the next couple of miles until I came to Par. At the china clay works the path headed abruptly inland and I had to negotiate around the edges of what now looked like a closed and derelict works. Indeed when I checked later I saw that the bulk of the operation had been closed since 2007 and I am guessing that there will be quite a challenging time ahead for the local planners trying to find an alternative use for the extensive site.
For me though my journey was done and the weather had closed in once again. Although perhaps not the most memorable sections of the coast path I really enjoyed my visit to Mevagissey and
was memorable too. The best of the coast line was between these two places and especially around Black Head. If time I would recommend the museum at Charlestown – despite the chaotic nature of some of the exhibits it is worth a tour around for an hour or so. Charlestown