6/7/2015 – Harlyn Bay to Porthcothan (6.6mls)

We are back in Cornwall to pick up where we left off last month after our couple of days in Padstow. Driving down to Porthcothan in the morning we left the car at our B&B for the night and caught the bus to Harlyn Bay, a vast expanse of sand when the tide is out and the location of a popular surf school.

Harlyn Bay

We ate our lunch on the beach and then found the access to the cliff path at the back of a little cove and walked along the headland towards Catalews Point, continuing on to Mother Ivey’s Bay where there is a Modern Movement listed house called Polventon House (the white building in the left of the picture) designed by Crowe and Careless for the Stein family in 1936 – Rick gets everywhere around here. It has an unusual feature of a winding staircase within a glass turret. Here also is the Padstow lifeboat station built in 1967 to replace the old station in Hawker’s Cove.

Polventon House & lifeboat station at Mother Ivey's Bay

Continuing around to Trevose Head there is a lighthouse which was built there in 1847 because surprisingly Trevose Head projects further north than the average for the whole of the North Cornish Coast.

Trevose Head lighthouse

The walk along this section of coast is relatively easy and very attractive with magnificent flat beaches – most beaches are sought after for the surfing opportunities, but not necessarily safe for bathing. Constantine Bay is a prime example and like most of the beaches on this coast is well monitored by the RNLI – we have never seen so many RNLI vehicles and lifeguard stations! All along this stretch of the coast there are many areas with restricted access to protect the nests of corn buntings and skylarks (“the sound of summer”). Arriving in Porthcothan with the tide out …

Arriving at Porthcothan (tide out)

… we made our way to the B&B called Penlan, run by Mary Neale, a very welcoming and friendly lady and local photographer (Mary’s nephew is Joss Buttler the England wicketkeeper and about to face Australia in the first test). She and her husband Tim have some land behind the bungalow where they keep sheep and ducks – they did have chickens as well but Mr Fox got those, which was a shame as at breakfast the next morning we found the duck eggs a bit too rich! Also staying that night were a Swedish couple who were on a walking holiday from Padstow to St Ives, organised by a walking holiday company rather like we used last year from Penzance to Falmouth.

In the evening we walked round the other side of the valley to the Tredrea Inn, an unusual pub!!!! The outside area is extremely scruffy with all sorts of assorted debris and then the entrance is by the side of a smokers tent on one side and a relatively large slot machine and electronic games room on the other. The inside has a bar and a seating area that is rather like a canteen with very tired decor, but outside is a veranda with wonderful views down the valley to Porthcothan Bay. The whole place is crying out for a complete rebuild to take advantage of the views but we understood from Mary that there have been several such planning applications in recent years which have been rejected by the locals who want to retain a local pub. Anyway, the food was perfectly good and we timed it perfectly in that the expected rain didn’t arrive until we were in sight of the B&B where we slept like logs.

When unpacking the small overnight bag that we had brought with us, we discovered we had had another senior moment (aka the “wrong boots” on the Exmouth walk). Prior to packing the case Fiona had put her pile of clothes on a side chest in the bedroom. I subsequently transferred them to the case not realising that underneath Fiona’s clothes were my gardening clothes – I thought the case was surprisingly full for a one night stay!

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