Another inch or so of rain fell in Cornwall this morning. Luckily for me it all came down the early hours while I was still tucked-up in bed. I watched the last few rainclouds blow away while I ate my breakfast. Lea had left much earlier, skipping her breakfast, to make sure she would be back in Exmouth in time for work.
The days walking started with a stroll across the sands of Harlyn Bay, the first of several beaches I would tread upon on today, there were already surfers in the water. The coast path then climbed up and took me around Trevose Head. The coast here is rugged but spectacular. I hadn't been walking for long before it became clear that I was in for a day of amazing scenery. There was a stiff wind blowing off the Atlantic, huge waves and white surf were crashing over rocks everywhere. You are left in doubt of the power of the sea, mother nature is the boss in these parts.
The path was unsurprisingly covered by wide puddles in places, slippery and muddy much of the way, but this was a small price to pay for the amazing coastal views. As I headed south the path took me past beautiful coves and cliffs, occasionally dropping down onto golden beaches such as those at Boobys Bay and Treyamon. The South West Coast Path here really is true to it's name, it follows the coast faithfully. You can see, hear and smell the sea at all times. On some national trails earlier in my walk, The Great Glen Way and The Severn Way for example, I found myself walking through places that didn't really fit the title.
At Treyamon the heavy rain of the last 48 hours running off the land had formed a wide and fast river running across the beach. The only way I could see to get across was to take off my boots and socks, roll up my trouser legs and paddle through. That was fun and it worked fine, but unfortunately my camera dropped out of my pocket and into wet sand for a split second while I was pulling off a boot. It wouldn't switch back on afterwards. I'm not worried about the camera, I just hope the pictures from the last few days haven't been lost. The memory card didn't get wet. I swopped to taking pictures on my mobile phone, which wasn't really useful for much else at the time, I hadn't seen any network coverage since leaving Padstow the previous afternoon.
The breathtaking scenes continued as I headed south. The path is hard work, you're always dropping down into steep valleys then climbing back up the other side, but it's well worth the effort. I took my only break of the day at Mawgan Porth where I watched horse riders exercising their mounts on the sand.
The afternoon continued in the same vein as the morning, again and again I found myself stopping to admire spectacular views as Newquay slowly got closer. We all see places like the Cornish coast on TV, but that comes nowhere close to actually being there in the flesh and taking it all in for real. As I arrived in town there were dozens of surfers bobbing up and down in the sea at Newquay's famous beaches waiting for that perfect wave to ride.
Considering the relatively low mileage today had been fairly tough, but highly exhilarating at the same time. I rate the scenery on the South West Coast Path as good as any other I've seen on the walk, The Highlands of Scotland included. Why some walkers choose to pass through Cornwall on the awful A30 dual carriageway when there is so much natural beauty just a few miles away I will never know.
I'm so close to Lands End now I could easily hit the road tomorrow and get this over and done with in a couple of days. I've decided I'd prefer to spread the remaining miles over three days though. This means I won't have to hurry and can enjoy more of the coast path, also it will leave me an easy final day on Wednesday and plenty of time that afternoon to savour the climax of this walk.
GPS track click here
Mileage today; 17.82 miles, walking time 5 hrs 11 mins, average walking speed 3.4 mph
Weather; sunny spells, windy, max 18C
Cumulative mileage; 951.14 miles
|Trevose Head Lighthouse, built in 1847|
|Typical scenery north of Newquay|