Welcome to the rollercoaster!
It’s taken me a while to finish Top Walks in West Cornwall. The reasons have been obvious. Covid, stopped play and I pivoted from writing walking guides to writing fiction, and then writing fiction really overwhelmed my timetable. The other issue has been location. I’m based in mid Cornwall, my friends live mid and east, so I don’t spend much time down west. Which has been a problem in terms of logistics. I like to investigate a walk, which can result in a lot of trial and error and back tracking. I then need to walk it again making sure it works and then I need to walk it with someone following my instructions to make sure all is in order. So that’s a lot of driving up and down the A30. It’s a three hour round trip for me to get down to the end of Cornwall, then a five mile walk, is a couple of hours. I need a full day for a walk and really I need good light so the winter months are out, unless I’m already staying in the area.
Cue The Gurnard’s Head. It’s the most perfect place. Right on the edge of the world and a perfect location for me to try a few walks. It’s also an incredible pub, with the best food and gloriously comfortable bedrooms. As I said, perfect.
Having explored a few walk locations on the way down, we arrived at the Gurnard’s Head, checked in, then slipped into our walking boots and headed towards the coast path.
The path headed downhill past some amazing houses perched on the side of the hill, one in particular was down a particularly challenging track and we decided deliveries drivers gave that address a hard pass. We reached an abandoned mine working and turned right, heading towards Zennor.
Steve really loves coast path walks and wasn’t keen with the proposed loop when we got to Zennor, he wanted to turn around and head back along the sea and I could see his point of view, the scenery was spectacular, the weather was lovely and we were having a great time.
The path deteriorates
After about a mile though I began to have misgivings. No matter how much you study the terrain on a map and look at 3D profiles, nothing tells you what a walk is like other than your boots on the ground. This section is a roller coaster. Not the worst in the world but after a while it was beginning to take its toll, plus large sections of the path required scrambling or stepping from rock to rock through muddy streams. We were already into the late afternoon and the thought of retracing our steps in reduced visibility was not appealing.
Despite the protests from my legs I was loving the walk, we passed so many streams tumbling down through the valleys that I could only image how pretty this would be in spring when the flowers are in bloom and the trees in leaf.
Eventually we made it to Zennor. It had only been two miles but wow, we felt them. Steve, in a decision that had nothing to do with the setting sun and aching thighs, decided that he would go with my decision to return via the fields. How noble 😀
The route back through the fields from Zennor to Treen was lovely. And flat. That’s quite an important selling feature.
The moon was beginning to rise as we walked back into the pub and felt that even though it was a short walk, just four miles, we had earnt our place by the fire and a glass of something cold.
The following morning after the most glorious breakfast, sardines and capers on toast, poached eggs and salmon , yoghurt and berries, we felt we probably needed to walk some of the food off. So back on with the walking boots and this time we headed south.
As we set off along the lane, the rain started in earnest. Grumbling, we pulled our coats close and headed on. One of us may have muttered something about going back to the pub to read his book. There may have also been comments about life choices and the fact that he could have married anyone. There may have been further words! 😀 Moods were not improved as we left the road and the footpath cut through a farmyard. The timing was unfortunate as the cows were also in the yard having their breakfast. One of us was convinced that the other one was lost and she had also lost her marbles and needed to stop taking photos.
Scattered spells and sunny showers
In the next field the rain stopped and in the field after that the sun came out. All was good in the world and we turned right and headed down to the coast path through another abandoned mine workings. We had fun exploring the place trying to working out what each structure did, the area had been scrubbed clear so it could all be seen and felt like a massive puzzle.
At the bottom of the hill, the tide was in so we couldn’t explore the beach as we had hoped so we continued along the coast path back toward the pub. Just as we hit to the headland, it began to rain again so rather than walking out onto the promontory we headed back up the hill and away off to our next walk.
At two and a half miles and a lot less hilly, this was a nice and easy stretch and would work really well with yesterday’s half.
Two excellent pubs, a great café, the best ice cream Moomaid of Zennor, a standing stone, mine workings and glorious coastal views. This one is absolutely going in the book!