I wasn’t in a hurry to get up this morning after a busy couple of days walking. It was 8.30 when I emerged from my tent into the warm sunshine. The walkers who arrived last night had already gone. I made a couple of mugs of tea and bacon butties before I thought about walking anywhere. James came to ask where I walking heading to and suggested reaching Charlestown. The weather was perfect again so I just wanted to walk as far as I could.
When I felt ready, I walked back down the steep hill to the harbour and resumed my walk eastwards along the South West Coast Path. The path goes along the road past houses with new, modern and expensive looking ones being built around the village. Once on top of the cliff, it is quite easy going around to Chapel Point (where I spotted the man in the suit again sat talking with another walker) and into Portmellon. The path goes along the road around the cove, passing The Rising Sun Inn then over the hill and a short walk around to Mevagissy. A well known fishing village, it was very busy here this morning and businesses getting ready for the day ahead. Walking through here, you can’t miss the bright blue hydrangeas around the village. At the harbour, fishermen were busy sorting out their fishing nets, ready for the next trip to sea later. A steep climb at the far end of the harbour takes you up to some playing fields, passing some houses then along the cliff top to pass Portgiskey Cove where there is some steep up and down for a while then a view of Pentewan Sands. I meet a family with an older lady coming the other way. “Are there many more hills?” the mother asks me. They are heading to Mevagissey and just climbed a steep path over the fields and the grandmother was struggling a bit. The mother told me “Mum lives in Manchester and walks about but there aren’t any steep hills there. The sign said it’s only 2 miles so we thought that would be easy.” I told them it had taken me around 45 minutes and that was with walking poles. I told them “as much as I hate to put you off, it’s not easy going and wouldn’t want you to get to the point where you’re too tired to go on or turn back. Plus, it’s a very hot day and you need drinks.” They were grateful for my advice and decided to turn back and would catch the bus. “You’ll enjoy Mevagissy a lot more when you get there!”
Once at Pentewan, the path follows the road past the holiday park and into the village where there are pubs, shops and toilets. The path continues up a hill for a short distance to a turning on the right, passing some cottages and a church before through lush vegetation and out to the cliffs with more excellent views, passing Hallane Mill Beach and out to Black Head Point where there is a large granite memorial to a local poet and historian. Here, I met Shaun who was one of the walkers from the campsite last night. “You had an early start” I said. “I like to get going at around 5:30 and take it slowly” he told me. We chatted for a while before I headed on to Ropehaven Woods where the guides warns of ‘some confusing paths’ which did catch me out. There is a seat where a path goes off to the left but I carried on to some recently made steps going down towards the coast. Just as you get to the bottom, there are a couple of properties and a sign saying ‘No access to beach’. This was very unhelpful and the sign would be better placed at the junction with the seat where I should have turned left. I was careful to watch out for markers from here and continued to Polpean, another popular beach today. Here, the path goes along the top of the sea wall, past a refreshment building to the far end of the wall where steps lead to a new path which has recently been reinstated, avoiding a two mile diversion inland after more cliff erosion. It is an easy walk from here to Charlestown with it’s georgian harbour and resident tall ships. There are pubs, refreshments and toilets here plus bus service. I sat by the harbour and had some crisps and chocolate from my rucksack then bought myself a refreshing cider ice lolly to enjoy. In front, I spotted the couple with young son walking up the hill who I later discovered were from Germany and were spending a couple of weeks walking the cornish coastline. From here, after a climb up the hill, the path is quite easy along low cliffs passing through Carlyon Bay with it’s magnificent hotel and a golf course before arriving at Par. Here, the area is dominated by the huge china clay works. The path runs inland around the perimeter of the works, joining the main road and into the village. Once you reach the one-way system, Par Green is the road exiting the no entry. Walk along here to house no. 52 where the path turns off.
This was the end of my walk for the moment. I walked to the main line station to catch a train to St. Austell (£2.70) and bus to Mevagissy from where I had to walk back to the campsite. Passing back through Porthmellon, I couldn’t resist calling in at ‘the Rising Sun Inn’ for a pint. As I ordered, I noticed on the ‘Specials Board’ that Liver and Bacon was on the menu. I don’t get to have that as the family don’t like it so I decided this would replace some calories and give me energy for the walk back to Gorran Haven and that steep walk to the campsite.
Today’s Stats: 47,101 steps. 21.01 miles. 5560 cals burned. 379 ‘floors’ climbed.