3 October 2009


Monday 28th September: Fowey to Polperro

All pics of the day

D had a large kipper for breakfast (stinky and tasty!), and J had lots of fruit and no cooked breakfast – you know what they say, a change is as good as a two week walking holiday. We were glad it was going to be a short walk, especially as everyone wanted to tell us that it would be a particularly strenuous stretch of coast and the guidebook described one section as having “severe gradients”. We jumped on the ferry to Polruan for the short crossing, and began the inevitable climb.

men, women, toilets

fowey from the ferry

garrett steps, polruan

Despite the stunning views on offer, the most exciting sight that greeted us this morning was an inquisitive and ottery stoat! A STOAT! Hee! This was extra exciting because in Fowey we'd seen the house on which Toad Hall was based. To recover from this excitement, we stopped for a rest and a cup of tea at the lovely Lansallos Cove. J took the opportunity to de-boot, and for the first time this trip he dipped his feet in the sea. A group of walkers in their 70s showed up and had a thoroughly good time skimming stones; one of them even went for a swim, then rolled around on the stony beach to exfoliate.

the path around the edge of the country

lantic bay

j on top of pencarrow head

j paddling at lansallos cove (landscape)

walkers watching

paddling in the sea FTW!

After some upping and downing (steep, but with plenty of time to recover), we knew we were nearing civilisation – there was a dramatic increase in traffic passing us in both directions. We stopped for flap jacks and tea at the top of our last climb, and then arrived at Polperro at the ridiculously early time of 2.30. Polperro was a cute little village, even if it was full of tourists.

boat and matching house, polperro

fishing paraphernalia

wonky house, polperro

After checking into our B&B we explored the village for an hour or so, looking at art galleries, buying postcards, drinking the worst cider J has ever had the displeasure of encountering (seriously, it was warm and flat and like some horrid combination of off apple juice and cow urine!), sticky-beaking and scouting out potential venues for dinner. We found a number, but when we went back at 6:30 (the advertised start of dinner time) we discovered that pretty much every place was closed on Monday nights. We ended up at the Three Pilchards, which was inevitably quite crowded, and ordered our food: fish pie and mushroom stroganoff (J also got a glass of wine ON TAP!). A few minutes later, a nervous, awkward teenager in chef's uniform came over to us and announced that they were “out of the stroganoff”. J had “Luxury Burger” instead. Yes, that is what it was called. No, it didn't have turrets.

view from the window of chyavallon b&b

Tuesday 29th September: Polperro to Crafthole

All the photos!

An amazing breakfast greeted us in the morning – mountains of fresh fruit and nuts, home-made spreads, well-cooked and fresh hot food... a lovely start to what would be a long day. In fact, we decided that to play mind tricks on ourselves and make it more manageable, our walk would only officially start in Looe: the first 8kms of our journey would just be travelling to our real walk.

morning reflections, polperro

We started our not-walk by climbing out of Polperro past many, many benches, overgrown plots once used by residents as vegetable and flower gardens (the plots thicken...) and through Talland, where we first noticed the purple slate rocks in the cliffs. By the end of the day the colourful rocks had convinced J that a career in geology was calling.

purple rocks, talland bay

In Hannafore we chatted with some walkers who were just finishing their stint on the path, and entering Looe we passed a statue commemorating Nelson, a bull seal who had been something of a celebrity in these parts – the inscription described him as being “a fine ambassador for his species”.

nelson the seal

markers: red flags and weeds

We came across the about-to-depart ferry (the boat, for those interested, was called Merlin), parted with the 40p each for the crossing and sailed over, saving ourselves several hundred yards of walking in the process. Well, maybe two hundred. After stocking up on food had coffee/tea and cake before commencing our walk proper. This, of course, began with a climb up a steep hill.

day fourteen: path 2

Millendreath, despite its fun-to-say Middle Earth-sounding name, was a bit of a dump. Its dominating feature was a run down old entertainment complex. It felt like the badlands, and we hurried on, even though our knees were not so keen. We approached a stretch of coast which our guide book described as “undulating”. We now know that “undulating” means “lots of upping and downing with no flat bits, which will lead to tired legs and sore feet”. However, there was some stunning scenery (as well as a dead mole, which was not so nice). There was a monkey sanctuary marked on the map, but no monkeys were forthcoming.

After all that upping and downing, what we really wanted was a nice flat stretch on soft, even ground. Imagine our joy, then when what we got was a steep descent from close to the highest point on the South Cornish coast into Seaton (on sea level) on steps (ow, my knees) and then tarmac (ow, my feet). We sat in a park and took off our shoes, eating food, drinking drink, and watching the many ducks, seagulls and jackdaws amusing themselves around us. From Seaton to Downderry, there was a choice of routes: up a hard road or across the beach. The beach is not passable at high tide, but the tide was just going out so we decided to risk it. It was mostly easy walking and J further developed his purple rock geology obsession before we had to scramble across large boulders to avoid the lapping waves.

purple and green slate

finely striped pebbles x (and x and x and x) marks the spot red and white striped pebble

db on the rocks!

nix on the rocks!

Passing a sign warning naturists to keep away from the school, we left the beach, and zigzagged our way up to the second highest point on the South Cornish coast, stepping gingerly over a small snake as we went. Topping one hill, we looked up to see Plymouth in the distance, gleaming white in the sunshine. It was our first sight of our final destination, as well as of the sun (for that day).

shining white in the distance

We rested our weary bodies, and ate a chocolate bar, and set off to brave the path as it edged its unfenced way along the cliff edge and into the delightfully named Portwrinkle.

where the feck does this path go?

portwrinkle hotel

From here it was another 2km inland along hard roads towards Crafthole, and slowly, hobbling in agony, we approached our destination (“206 yards ahead”, the sign announced, rather specifically).

evening sky, portwrinkle

At the Liscawn, we ate until we were full (J finally got his mushrom stroganoff), opened our desert stomachs for strawberry gateaux, limped to our room, and embraced sleep.

Wednesday 30th September: Crafthole to Plymouth – THE FINAL DAY!!!

Pics, pics, pics

Over breakfast this morning, we came up with an invention that will change the world of breakfast forever: a battery-powered toast rack that keeps your toast warm! No more cold toast in the mornings!

happy happy last day j!

Usually, road walking is neither particularly interesting nor fun, but this morning the road in question went passed a military training facility, and we saw many exciting warning signs (“Do not touch military debris. IT MAY EXPLODE AND KILL YOU”) which makes other warning signs seem, frankly, dull.


We also heard gun fire exploding around us, but we figured that they just played a loop CD of gun noises to keep inquisitive walkers and spies at bay. What we didn't see (honestly, guv) were all the cleverly camouflaged soldiers, jeeps and tanks hanging around the grounds.

firing range above the beach

We stopped shortly after this for some refreshments, and chatted to a couple who were impressed by the amount of sweat on our backs, before starting our walk (we tried the same trick as yesterday to break up the day). Today's walk, however, began with the path playing a nasty trick on us – the acorned waymark pointed us away from the road, steeply down a footpath towards the cliffs, before immediately (and again steeply) bringing us right back up to the road! We were not impressed, and were even less happy when it did EXACTLY THE SAME THING AGAIN almost immediately afterwards!

the kind of before picture


But we could see Rame Head getting closer – we'd been able to see it in the distance since the week before – and it was relatively easy walking up to the 600 year old chapel and the obligatory iron age fort (“No walker will be surprised,” says our book, when they find the ithsmus ditched and banked). It was another clear day, and we could see for miles and miles in each direction. There were expansive views behind us of headlands we had conquered, and headlands we hadn't (and wouldn't!) ahead of us. It was a nice spot to eat an incredibly healthy mix of different kinds of sweet things – hot chocolate, fudge, cake (we shared a carrot as well, so that's all right) – for lunch.

chapel on rame head

rame head chapel

d in chapel window, rame head

After poking around the hollow chapel, we headed off to Penlee Point, where we stopped for another break, because J had forgotten to remove his shoes at our lunch stop, and wished to rectify the situation as soon as possible.

On the other side of a sycamore wood, we found the twin towns of Cawsand and Kingsand (the former site of the Cornish/Devon border) then entered the Mount Edgcumbe Country Park, a large parkland of woods, gardens, deer enclosures, manor houses and follies. Follies are hilarious, the end.



what a waste of...

folly and possible lenticularis variety cloud?

We sat on a bench by a manicured lawn, overlooking the bay and Plymouth, drinking tea and airing feet. The path took us through some woods, but the route had been diverted at one point, due to a landspill, up a section of the woods referred to by the locals as “the Zigzag”. It was, as we soon discovered, aptly named. Much climbing, followed by much decending, took its toll on our knees and feet. Fortunatley after this point the path was almost universally and deliciously flat and we hobbled on through the formal gardens, past the estate house and up to the ferry port where we waited for about 10 minutes for the boat to arrive, talking to a group of people who had sped past us in the park earlier on.

the final residence of our cornish portfolio

FINISHED! finished and on the ferry.

Despite being incredibly tired, we felt a wave of elation as we left Cornwall behind: we had walked along its southern coast in its entirety. On arriving in Plymouth, we were greeted by a stencilled wall reading “POWSAWS AGAS DYNNARGH. WELCOME TO ENGLAND.” Definitely not in Cornwall any more!


That evening we celebrated with a very delicious and very expensive meal at The Thai Palace (the most delicious (for J) and expensive of the whole walk), drank Thai wine and beer, and proclaimed that if that was a 250km/150mi walk then we had done it.

They all drank lemonade. The End.

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