As we left Praa Sands we were acutely aware that today was Scottish Referendum Day, but then forgot all about it as wonderful views of the Cornish coast took over.
The coast line now started to get interesting, and trickier, as the cliffs got higher and more craggy. At Rinsey Head there is an amazing house perched right on the edge of the cliff…
… and then just after, near Trewavas Head, the ruins of a number of engine houses where copper used to be mined.
On the way down near Porthleven we met a couple who were also doing the SWCP – FOR THE SECOND TIME!!! Having finished a couple of years ago they decided to do it again but in reverse – we can announce now that we will NOT be doing this again. On reflection this was probably the trickiest section of the whole week taking much longer than we had expected.
Porthleven is a very picturesque village with a 19th harbour constructed to house the fishing fleet and to enable coal and general supplies for the nearby mines to be imported. After purchasing a couple of ciabattas in the local deli and a cup of coffee on the harbour side we set off again for Mullion.
We stopped for lunch overlooking Loe Bar, a stretch of sand and gravel which separates the sea from The Loe and Carminowe Creek which is the largest lake in Cornwall. By now it was sunny and warm with a nice breeze.
Porthleven to Mullion was not as tricky as the mornings walk as most of the coast path high on the cliffs had some sort of vegetation on the seaward side. However, there was one long stretch where the land sloped steeply straight down to the edge of the cliff and with a strong OFFshore wind and no vegetation in sight this caused what is known to me as a “numb willy” moment! – I had to lie down on the path and then gingerly get up again and walk as quickly as possible just focussing on the path in front – scary!
We’ve learnt a few new names of plants etc one of which was Dodder, a parasite peculiar to the area which throws out a sort of red spiders web over the coastal plants. Among the people we met was a nice chap who we called “da doo Ron Ron” who tried to get us to join the Ilfracombe Walkers group. His wife and two other female friends were walking the SWCP and he was their sort of manager/roadie organising transport and accommodation and meeting up with them during the day and then getting to the end of the day meeting place to drive them back to wherever they were staying – boy could he talk!
Throughout the week we were amazed how many people were walking the path with their dod, sometimes two dogs – how on earth they didn’t get dragged over the cliffs we do not know. There was even one bloke on a mountain bike!
We had a welcome cup of tea at Church Cove (excellent value at £1 a mug) where the local Gunwalloe 15th century church with a detached west tower is constantly threatened by cliff erosion and suffers periodic storm damage.
With yet more ups and downs …
… and a detour to see the Marconi Monument (the monument is vertical – I blame the cameraman) marking where the first transatlantic telegraph signals were made from …
… we eventually arrived in Mullion where yet again we had a 3/4mile trek up a hill to get to the Mounts Bay Guest House which was attached to the Mounts Bay Inn, very handy for our evening meal.