Walked from: Falmouth
Walked to: Gorran Haven
Walked with: Me, myself and I
Distance: 20 miles or so
Home for the night: Harbours Reach B&B
Photo: View from Prince of Wales Pier, Falmouth
I know from past experience not to plan 20 mile plus walking days in Cornwall. It’s too bumpy. And yet today I managed to plan a 23 mile trip along a stretch of coastline with quite a few ups and downs. When my B&B had given me a 5pm arrival deadline. I’m an idiot.
Started my long day by arriving at Truro, fresh off the sleeper train, just after 7am. Got onto the train to Falmouth and had breakfast there waiting for the first ferry of the day to take me to pretty St Mawes and then a second ferry (slight bigger than your average rowing boat, but not a lot in it) onto Place, where the days walk really started.
I’ll confess now, I started with a shortcut, skipping St Anthony Head in favour of walking straight to Killigerran Head, where my coastal walking ‘proper’ commenced.
Despite the fact that I was accompanied by rain and low-ish visibility, it was still clear to me that this part of Cornwall, the Roseland Peninsula, is very pretty indeed. I’d have taken all sorts of photos today, if it hadn’t a) been too wet to take my phone out and b) been for the fact that my phone died, unexpectedly as it had been claiming 15 per cent battery life just seconds before, as I was taking the ferry over to Place. That also meant that I had no idea at all what time it was all day…
Anyway, the walk into Portcatho was quick, easy and easy on the eye to boot. The path got a lot more undulating after that, with a series of short but steep climbs and descents on the approach to Nare Head (where I also managed to fall over in quite a spectacular fashion. No injuries but ended up with very muddy walking trousers. Oh, and of course I picked the one bit of the path where other people were around to witness it. Oh, how those workmen laughed…). By the time I got into Portloe I was pretty knackered – and still had nine miles to go. Good thing I was walking on my own today, because I’m pretty such that would have been the point where my normal walking buddies would have lynched me…
Still, Portloe turned out to have two things I really needed: a public loo (where I verified that yes, I actually was drenched through. Damn my so-called waterproofs) and a posh hotel/bar called the Lugger Hotel, where I drank a very welcome if eye-wateringly expensive pint of restorative lemonade (standing up – I was way too wet to sit on anything).
Got a bit confused about where to go heading out of Portloe but got there eventually and then it was on to West and East Portholland, where the seasonal cafe I’d been praying was open was very much shut. Woe was me: I’d have loved another drink at that point! I knew another cafe was coming up right by the entrance to the odd looking Caerhays castle… also closed. Boo. Eventually fell upon a lone bench just past the standing stone looking down on Pothluney Cove and sat there aching and chain eating chocolate biscuits for a restorative while.
Spotting fellow humans at the beach before the climb up to Penare, I ascertained it was 4pm and not the 3pm I’d been guesstimating, and decided to cut a mile off the walk by only seeing the Stone Cross at Dodman Point from a distance, and walked across the headland by Penare rather than go all the way round it.
My final weary-legged approach into Gorran Haven took me past Vault Beach and Maenease Point, all very picturesque and, most importantly dry – I walked the last hour of my otherwise soggy journey in sunshine!
A mainly wet and demandingly long day but I loved it. And slept really, really well.