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Cornish Coastal Ramble

Listed under Walking in West Country, United Kingdom.

  • Photo of Cornish Coastal Ramble
  • Photo of Cornish Coastal Ramble
  • Photo of Cornish Coastal Ramble
Photo of Cornish Coastal Ramble
Photo by flickr user ThisParticularGreg
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This is a wonderful walk for the fit and not so fit along some of the most stunning coastal areas in the UK. We arrived in St Ives around mid-morning and, after sampling some of the seafood delights set off along the coastal path towards Zennor, our stop for the first night.

The going was easy - fortunately as were were carrying 17kg backpacks complete with a tent, insurance in case we were unable to find B&Bs for the night. The countryside was relatively flat so you could see for miles out to sea and inland across farms. Ground orchids were plentiful as was the mint which we picked to chew as we walked. We were thrilled to see seals "bottling" on the rocks at The Carracks only a few miles from St Ives. The countryside offered so much we thought that at the rate we were walking we would never reach Zennor (only about 6.5 miles from St Ives) by nightfall!

We had read some of the history of Zennor and had decided that we had to have a pint or two at the old Tinners Arms where D H Lawrence wrote much of "Women in Love". I can still remember the thrill of walking through the low door into a dark room replete with old tables and benches and feeling the atmosphere of bygone years. Although now quiet it was not hard to "hear" the racous laughter and chatter of the men as they came in from the fields or from their work.

We stayed in a charming B&B at the top of the hill and left refreshed for our next day's more adventurous hike - but not before we had visited the old 12th century church with its carved Mermaid's Chair, where legend has it a choirister was lured a beautiful woman into the sea at Mermaid's Cove where you can still hear them singing. We decided to visit mermaid Cove or Pendour Cove at dusk and we were excited to hear badgers snuffling around beside the path.

Our second day's walk took us from Zennor back to the Coast Path towards Cape Cornwall, about 10.5 miles away. Quite close we saw the spectacular royal fern, nationally rare but quite common in Cornwall and some beautiful species of orchids. The path was "hairy" in some places as much of the area has been eroded and the cliff falls steeply to the sea. The area had been mined for tin in times past so we also needed to be cautious around the many shafts that dotted this area of the coastal cliffs.

Many paths also end up at the top of sheer rock faces and we saw some intrepid abseilers enjoying their climb! We saw the aftermaths of many shipwrecks and marvelled there were not more along this rocky stretch of coast with its sheer cliffs. We explored the village of Pendeen, just missing a tour of the 18th century mineshafts, before heading inland from Cape Cornwall to St Just, for our second night. We were surprised at how few people we saw on the coastal path, even close to the towns.

The third day saw us walking the 6 miles to windy Lands End. The coast on either side is some of the most spectacular in the UK. It is quite a magical experience to gaze out at the vast expanse of the Atlantic Ocean and we decided that since we had come all the way from sunny Australia we just had to have a paddle in the icy Atlantic waters!

Back to St Just for a second night and then on to Penzance about 9 miles away on day 4. We were disappointed we had not allowed more time to continue our walk from Lands End along the coastal path to Penzance via Cribba Head and Mousehole - we had not realised the scenery would be as spectacular, stunning and interesting.

Our 4 days were a never to-be-forgotten venture, experiencing some of the most spectacular and rugged coastal areas we have ever seen- this coming from Australians who have back-packed in the beautiful high country in the Snowy Mountains of NSW and Victoria, climbed Cradle Mountain and explored Wineglass Bay in Tasmania, hiked in Kakadu National Park in the NT and the Bungle Bungles in Western Australia and walked along the coast of NSW.

Written by  vernamack.

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