Sunday, 19 April 2015

My First Adder?

Day Fifteen - Porthcothan to Newquay 19.8km (12.3 miles).
Time on route 5:20hrs, walking time 5:00hrs.

Saturday 18 April 2015
Day 15 map
I parked in Porthcothan and headed off around the headland.  It was a glorious day but with a fierce easterly wind.  It was nice to have it behind me rather than in my face.
15 04 18 Day 15 (1) Porthcothan
My first excitement of the day was an Environment Agency benchmark, a few minutes climb out of the bay.
15 04 18 Day 15 (2) EA
The waters around Cornwall are stunningly clear. The photo of Trescore Islands doesn't do it justice.
15 04 18 Day 15 (3) Trescore Islands
I was quite taken by Porth Mear. The geology and slope of the beach reminded me of a whaling flensing pan. Not something I believe Cornwall has even been renowned for. And it's a bit over the top for pilchard flensing.
15 04 18 Day 15 (4) Porth Mear
I stopped for a pot of tea in Trenance. Sun, sea, tea - what more do you need?
15 04 18 Day 15 (6) Trenance
Costas? ;-)
15 04 18 Day 15 (5) Trenance
The rocks of this section are the oldest on the path between Padstow and Falmouth (notwithstanding the Lizard).
15 04 18 Day 15 (7) Geology
I enjoy spotting wildlife whilst I'm walking even though I'm no zoologist.  It mainly consists of gulls, sparrows, sheep, scary cows, slugs, the odd robin and the rarer red kite.  I stopped absolutely dead in my tracks, though, when a snake slithered across in front of me.  It was about 50cm long, silver with strong black markings and quite thin.  It moved too fast for me to snap a photo.  I've researched and think it was an adder.  It certainly wasn't a grass snake or slow worm.  I did wonder if it was a smooth snake but these are very rare and mainly in the SE of England excepting a project to reintroduce them in Devon.

Just north of Porth is Trevelgue Head, site of an Iron Age Fort.  I missed the turning of the path just before the bridge and walked over to the island before realising my mistake.  A nice detour though.

The presence of the fort indicates that Porth would once have been a key port.  It has since silted up and is now just a pretty surfing beach.  Its maritime importance is reflected by some of the bling the Mermaid Inn has bagged.
15 04 18 Day 15 (8) Porth
Including a 12 pounder naval gun.
15 04 18 Day 15 (9) Porth
The path's route through Newquay is mainly down the high street amongst numerous holiday makers.  It was therefore a pleasant break to walk down the route of the old tram line dating from the mid 19th Century.
15 04 18 Day 15 (11) Newquay
I liked the look of this des res - although suspect you won't get your on-line shopping delivered to your front door.
15 04 18 Day 15 (12) Newquay
Tide's out.
15 04 18 Day 15 (13) Newquay
I had a spare hour before my bus so continued to walk on around Towan Head; leaving the coastpath halfway down Fistral Beach and following a footpath east through the golf course back to Newquay. I returned to Porthcothan sitting on the top of the double decker peering down on the route I'd walked that day.

I'll leave you with chiropodist humour Newquay style.
15 04 18 Day 15 (16) Newquay

Friday, 10 April 2015

2015 Season Commences - Picking up from Padstow

Day Fourteen - Padstow to Porthcothan 21.6km (13.4 miles).
Time on route 5:20hrs, walking time 5:00hrs.

Friday 10 April 2015
Day 14 ma
Ah, 'tis good to be back on the Coast Path.

Today I was joined by Rog, my husband, Caitlin (car driver) and Morgan (official cake eater).  It was a cool and breezy day so we started with warming coffee and cake in Padstow.
15 04 10 Day 14_1 Leaving Padstow (2)
15 04 10 Day 14_1 Leaving Padstow (7)
Rog and I then headed out north, past the War Memorial with moody views to the south.
15 04 10 Day 14_1 Leaving Padstow (8)
15 04 10 Day 14_1 Leaving Padstow (9)
I loved the beautiful Cornish cottages...
15 04 10 Day 14_1 Leaving Padstow (12)
small private slipways...
15 04 10 Day 14_Leaving Padstow (13)
and a cute weather vane.
15 04 10 Day 14_1 Leaving Padstow (13)
Not to mention an incredibly hairy guinea pig - yes, there really is an animal under all that.
15 04 10 Day 14_Leaving Padstow (14)
We passed signs of war fortifications at Gun Point dating back to the 19th Century.  Although in fact coastal protection from this point must date back to the at least the 17th Century as this was named Gun Point on an 1801 Ordnance Survey map.
15 04 10 Day 14_1 Leaving Padstow (10)
The daymark tower at Stepper Point was built in 1832 to help guide ships into the Camel Estuary.
15 04 10_2 Lookout at Stepper Point (1)
The estuary has shifting sands, and a particular menace aptly named The Doom Bar.  The lifeboat station was based nearby until 1967 when, after the loss of the third of its boats on the Bar, it was moved around the corner.

The going was easy today with only around 400m of ascent/descent.  And good lungfuls of Cornish wind.

A wonderful view toward Trevone.
15 04 10 Day 14_3 Trevone (1)
We stopped for a welcome pot of tea at the Harlyn Inn before heading out across the sands towards Trevose Head.
15 04 10 Day 14_3 Trevone (3)
You get fine views of the new Padstow Lifeboat Station across Mother Ivey's Bay.  It looks like a glorified beach hut with a furnicular behind it (for tourists?).  It must be awesome to watch a boat being launched from this.
15 04 10 Day 14_4 Mother Iveys Bay (4)
You walk in a pretty straight line behind the lifeboat station. Hard to get lost on this.
15 04 10 Day 14_4 Mother Iveys Bay (3)
We rounded the bay and Trevose Head Lighthouse came into view.
15 04 10 Day 14_5 Trevose Head (7)
Not only a lighthouse, but a trig to boot - TP 0330.
15 04 10 Day 14_5 Trevose Head (5)
The geology of this stretch of coast is wonderful.  Mainly slate but occasional limestone.  And a few sink holes - not sure if caused by mining or some underground erosion?
15 04 10 Day 14_5 Round Hole Constantine Bay (1)
You can just about make out a wreck stranded on Constantine Bay.  If you look carefully you can see its mast lying prone in the sand on the seaward side.
15 04 10 Day 14_5 Round Hole Constantine Bay (2)
We used the facilities at Treyarnon Point and when I came out of the toilet Rog was leaning over the cliff saying "why don't you climb up here?"  He has a penchant for dogs so I presumed he was cajoling a local labrador to chase up the slope towards him.  And then I too peered over the edge.
15 04 10 Day 14 C&M cliff(37)
So that's where they'd got to.

The guidebook suggested stopping at Treyarnon Point but it made sense to push on a few more km to Prothcothan.

15 04 10 Day 14_7 Porthcothan (2)
It has better bus services from Newquay which will be my next leg.  So I'm already geared up and ready for Day 15.  Can't wait.