Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Cornwall Coast the night before and day one Newquay to St Ives

Well left Maidstone with help of my flatmate Ben. We drove to Gatwick where I caught the 430pm flight to Newquay. I arrived in Newquay just on dusk dropped my gear at the International Backpackers and went for a walk around and have dinner which was fish and chips on the beach. It wasn't long until I was in bed in anticipation for the next day adventure. Early morning start was on the bus to St Ives around 930am. Here I will spend a day going around the galleries visiting the Tate, Barbara Hepworth Museum and Leach Pottery were the main ones but there were many little ones in between. This Coastal Town was jam packed with so many galleries and artist studios. Its and artist haven. After that I headed down to the Sloop a 13thC Pub where I met Kirk and his Wife. Dam memory loss after to much beer. Well Kirk invited me back to go fishing during the summer. Naturally I said yes. After that we ended up at the Three Ferrets and then I headed back to the backpackers where I continued to session with the patrons Jamie and Laurie and a couple celebrating their marriage. Great night ended up at some other pub later on.


Barbara Hepworth sculptures

St Ives

Old Chapel St Ives
St Ives
Seagull eyeing up my Cornish Pastry

Me at the Sloop above and below Kirk and his wife (memory loss due to mead)

The couple that got married will find out their names
when my memory comes back, that Cornish Meade certainly
does something to the mind. Ok! found out its Robert and Milly.

Cornwall Coastal Walk, Day 2 St Ives to Sennen Cove

Left the St Ives Backpackers around 7am suffering from a big session on the beers the night before. This is the first time I have done open backpacking for 20 years and I was carrying around 15kgs plus. It was a slow start on the most strenuous part of the journey. Instantly I was hit with rugged and beautiful coastline. This stretched on for miles and I was going to walk it. All went fine on this first part until the first blister. On the plasters they go. I ended up going of the path at Zennor to go and get refreshments. (I heard there was a pub there) Never mind the pub I ended up at the cafe, after which someone offered me a ride to Botallack. This man and his daughter were on an adventure to visit the old tin mines. Naturally I said yeah why not I will walk on from there. At Botallack there are many remains of tin mine from the Industrial Age. When I first saw them I thought they were remains of Castles. Anyway after exploring these relics I carried on walking towards Kenidjack Castle Settlement. At this site is remains of what is believed a burial tomb from 3000BC a old castle from Norman times and a Victorian Shooting Range with Quarters (which looked like they are being repaired). Amazing how man just continued to use the same spot for many many centuries. From there I headed to Cape Cornwall had an Icecream got offered another ride this time to Trevedra Farm Camp Grounds. I didn't waste to much time here as the weather was closing in. After such an eventful day I was feeling somewhat jaded and had an early night.

Along that way

Tin Mines
Tin Mine
Tin Mine

Kenidjack Castle Settlement

Cape Cornwall

Cornwall Coastal Walk, Day 3 Sennen Cove to Porthcurno

Wow!!!!...this is the part of the journey I have been waiting for. I awoke after a restless night sleep in my tent. Most of the night was fraught with high winds and rain and I was dreading waking up in the morning and packing away a wet tent. Lucky for me that was not the case. I had a light breakfast packed up and left. I headed down the hill from Trevedra Farm Campgrounds into the Northern end of Whitesand Bay. And what a sight. Instantly I thought of my mate Rob should be here surfing. Anyway headed down and along the beach towards the coastal settlement of Sennen. Along the way was remains of settlements that may be centuries old and old World War 2 Battlements. I stopped at the Breakers Cafe meet the owners Andy and Penny who are planing a trip to NZ. Andy asked if I knew some great spots I ended up drawing a map of NZ with road included. (this will be coming soon as soon as I recieve it via email) after that I had a tasty Englishmans Breakfast then carried on my way. Up the hill I went to a lookout at the top manned (womaned) by person from the National Heritage Trust. From there I headed towards Land's End. This place I have wanted to visit since buying an old oak frame 8 years ago (this frame had a tatty photo in it which was Land's End during 1890s or so). Lands End well lets say there is this amusement park there, that in my mind shouldn't be. After hanging around for a half an hour or so I headed on my way. Visited a small Craft and Farm settlement and headed back onto the Coastal Path. Well the weather was looking pretty shocking I doned on my raincoat and leggings and carried on regardless. I was lucky to be on this planet as the wind was so strong. I needed to head inland so I did. I went looking for a short cut to Porthcurno but never found it. It seem that I missed a turning and come out onto the coast further back than I expected. Nevermind I walked into Porthgwarra and found a small shop that sold hot pasties YUM!!...just what I needed to warm the cockles. Not far now getting exhausted with the rain heavier now I headed towards Porthcurno hoping to find a bed. An hour or so later battered by the weather I made it to my destination, found a B&B had a Pub dinner and headed to bed.

North End Sennen Cove, Whitesand Bay

Sennen Cove

Pedn-men-du (or Irish Lady)


Ship Wreak, Castle Zawn

Lands End from the North

Sea Gull Nest
Me for goodness sake hold on I'm about to
get blown of this cliff.

Lands End from the South

Peber (don't ask it's what it say on the map)

The above and below images are
I believe to be the Lions Den or looking
out to Pordenack Point

Cornwall Coastal Walk Day 4 Porthcurno to Penzance

After a great night sleep and full on breakfast at the B&B at Rockridge House (highly recommended: rockridgehouse@aol.com) I wondered out rather late in the morning to tackle another day. I was going to take the bus but it never arrived so I walked and was glad I did.

Once I got going all was fine. It seems the my body is harden up to this endurance. So up a steep climb out of Porthcurno I go. Along the coastline once again. Then in a distance I spotted a crazy backpacker like myself carrying a heavy load. Is he a Kiwi, Ausy or Canadian I thought to myself. No I was both wrong he was a young English lad. We exchanged stories and parted ways. Up and down and around into tiny coastal villages that time forgot then I headed inland towards the Merry Maidens. It was rather confusing on which track to take on this inland journey but by my surprise I stumbled into the right one. Go the Ordnance Map. Up road I walk and within an hour I was standing by a tomb dating 3000BC and down from there the Merry Maidens a small stone circle from the same period. Wow. It was hard to tell if I felt anything as this spot must have been visited a million times so I sat in the middle and left a small offering a round gem found on the beach of Whitesand Bay. Walking away from this spot I didn't look back but I had a feeling of "thanks" for what I had done.
Right......back to the Coastal track. After getting the feeling I was walking around in circles to my surprise I ended up at Lamorna. Here the pub was packed with locals going on their Easter Walk from the Mousehole to Lamorna. It was called the "Rut" I think? After a helping of fish and salad at the cafe I left Lamorna on the last leg to Penzance. Wasn't a bad walk rather easy in comparison to what I have experienced. Up and down and along towards Mousehole pronounced "Mawlzole" another coastal village and then a killer footpath towards Penzance. Thanks to a couple I meet on this leg they offered me a ride to Penzance but that was after a 3/4 hr hike to their car.

I booked into the backpackers and went for a walk had my 2nd Cornish Ice Cream "Rum and Raisen and Coffe" YUM!!!! and watched the sun go down. Tomorrow is another day and my feet this time was killing me. I was in two minds if I should walk to St Ives on the St Michaels Way. I decided that I wont. I have done enough at this stage. Bed was blessing in disguise.


Burial Chamber and Merry Maidens



Cornwall Coastal Walk and Bus Day 5 Penzance to St Ives

Woke to a glorious day with massively sore feet. The pavement mission of the day before certainly done some damage. My mission today is to head to St Michaels Mount and that will require walking a couple of kms to the bus stop. It was a rather slow jaunt but I made it. Alex an German girl came for the adventure so it was nice to have company. Unfortunately when we got to the Island of St Michaels Mount the castle was closed on Saturdays. Bugger!!! After exploring around a bit we decided to walk along the beach towards Penzance and head back to the backpackers so I can then head to St Ives. After a long bus ride via Truro to St Ives I was nice to be in company of people I meet on the first visit. I dumped my pack and went for a wonder around. The place was packed. People every where. I suppose it was expected as it was Easter break. Meet a half a dozen Kiwis out on the wharf so we headed to the Sloop Inn this time I brought a cap. Hit the booze there and continued on at the backpackers. What a night.

On the way to St Michaels Mount

St Michaels Mount
Monkey Man
Saw these guys perform in a pub later on and what an performance it was well worth it. Check out there website.
St Ives
St Ives
St Ives Busker with amp-ed harp and it sounded choice.

Cornwall Coastal Bus Day 6 St Ives to Newquay

Ah! Day 6: Arrived back in Newquay to another wonderful day. I decided to catch an early bus from St Ives to Truro then onto Newquay. Was a nice journey through the country side. Was even nicer when I got to Newquay as it took a couple of hours. Back to the Newquay International Backpackers I go. During the evening I spent an hour in the sauna. Well deserved I reckon.

Both images are of Newquay.

Wow! What an experience and my body surely feels it.

(note that all highlighted text will link you to related web source)

Fresh in my memory I carried recent knowledge obtained from watching Francis Pryor's, Britain AD on Google Video and reading Britain BC. Here in this county-side I was once again transported back in time. Back to 3000BC. You could not help thinking while walking this trail of the many persons who have traveled it and why. Many for leisure and many for the purpose of survival. It is interesting to discover many spots that have had communities built upon it each one either utilizing the building blocks of the prior or building next to, in respect of their heritage.
Did I do what I set out to do? Yes and No but it doesn't matter. My 1st goal: Was to see Lands End (check). 2nd: Visit Barbara Hepworth Museum (check). 3rd: See the Merry Maidens (check). 4th Visit St Michaels Mount and walk the St Michaels Way (um yes and no). I am certainly not disappointed and have seen more than I expected. I have also experienced the warmness and openness of Cornish hospitality. I recommend this journey to anyone who wishes to take it.