Sunday, 20 September 2015

Day 22 - September 15th 2015 - Newquay to Padstow

In contrast to yesterday I woke to a pleasant sunny Cornish morning. I made my out of Newquay, skirting around Tolcarne Beach, Lusty Glaze Beach and Porth Beach. All were pretty to look at, all still very quiet at this time of the morning, just a few local dog walkers sharing the coast path. At Trevelgue Head I saw the only mine shaft of the day, dropping vertically into the headland, it was covered by a metal grill.

After leaving Newquay via some easy cliff-top walking I soon found myself looking over the gorgeous sandy beach at Watergate Bay. Pebble beaches that are common in my local area don't seen to exist in these parts. The views were fantastic, the sand looked great in the sunshine, I took many photographs. There were more people on this beach than at Newquay. Unusually for the Cornwall coast there was mobile phone reception here too. I used it to tweet a picture of the view to my friends and family. In the middle of Watergate Bay the path drops down to pass a car park, an upmarket-looking hotel and apartments. The path back up was one of few steep uphill climbs I'd need to make today.

As I skirted Beacon Cove, where there was nobody on the beach, perhaps there is no way down, I saw a man in a field next to the path searching with a metal detector. I wondered if he'd found anything interesting. Soon after I emerged above the beach at Mawgan Porth. There were lots of people in the water here including a large group with matching yellow surfboards. Once again the RNLI were there keeping watch, ready to help anybody who gets in trouble. They seem to cover the beaches in North Cornwall very well.

After passing another couple of scenic coves I arrived at Bedruthen Steps Beach. This was a real 'wow moment'. The stacks and islands on the beach were a wonderful sight in the sun. It reminded me of The Twelve Apostles limestone stacks I once saw in Australia. I took my time here, in fact I could have quite happily stayed and admired the views all day. Many people were enjoying this beauty spot, a coach party among those who'd stopped at the nearby car park. A visit to this one place alone is more than enough to justify a trip to Cornwall.

As I approached Porthcothan on the cliff-tops I saw a natural arch and the first big hole of the day, where the land has collapsed above a cave. I passed straight through the small town and back to the cliff-tops. There were more pretty coves and islands. In one cove I noticed a rock that looks like a beached submarine. Then next to it part of what was probably part of a shipwreck. The views were superb, the sun was shining, the sea air wonderfully fresh. It was a great day, it felt amazing to be here.

Lea was waiting for me on a bench next to the path where it enters Treyarnon Bay. Moments after I'd sat down I heard an usual buzzing noise, then a small drone with four rotors took off from a nearby garden and flew above us. We watched it darting around quickly above the beach for a few minutes while we ate our lunch in the sun. I've often enjoyed watching drone footage online, this was the first time I'd actually seen one in action with my own eyes. Being at the controls must be great fun.

Moving on I had a pleasant walk across the sand at Constantine Bay. Wonderfully named Boobys Bay, where there is more a lot more rock than sand, came next. The walking was easy in this popular area, the path well worn. Ahead of me I could see an island in the shape of a sharks fin. In my mind I named it 'Jaws Island' and imagined a giant shark in the water. I also noticed clouds were gathering, it looked quite gloomy south and east of me.

After passing another huge hole in a hillside above a collapsed cave, I came to Trevose Head Lighthouse. It is automated these days of course, but apparently the lighthouse keepers cottages are available to let. It must be a wonderful place to stay, the coastal views are magnificent.

The walking was still easy around to Mother Iveys Bay, I passed yet another collapsed cave. The Padstow Lifeboat Station is here, several miles from Padstow. When I arrived the lifeboat was at the top of the it's slipway. I wondered if it had been out on a rescue, or was about to be launched. A few minutes later I noticed it had been pulled back inside the boathouse. By now I'd reached Harlyn Bay, the point where I joined the coast path back in 2010. More happy memories. I followed the path across the sand of Harlyn Bay, including leaping over a fast flowing stream. From here until Minehead the path would now all be new to me.

At Trevone Bay there was a small a group of surfers in the waves. At last I was delighted to see two of them actually ride a wave properly, standing-up. The first time I'd seen real surfing this week. Though typically, when I took my camera out they couldn't manage it. Leaving town I passed another huge hole at Roundhole Point, this one was even marked on my map as 'Round Hole'.

On the approach to Strepper Point I saw the fifth collapsed cave I'd seen today. They're a wonder of nature, marvellous to peer into. Strangely none of the five were fenced-off, or had any sort of warning signs in place. I wondered why not, and if ever dogs, livestock, or even people ever fall in. The navigational tower on Strepper Point looked just like an ordinary industrial chimney. Surely it must have been whitewashed when it was in use guiding boats to The River Camel? The entrance wasn't bricked over like they usually are, I couldn't resist looking inside. Nearby I passed the NCI Lookout Station. There was a sign saying 'visitors welcome'. The man inside and I exchanged friendly waves but I didn't have time to stop.

Heading inland up The Camel Estuary now it was getting grey and hazy, I could see it was raining inland, though only a couple of spots fell on me. The approach to Padstow was probably the least interesting walking of the day, easy, much of it behind hedgerows, though some was on the sandy shore. It seemed to take a long time to finally make it to the pretty harbour where Lea was patiently waiting. As usual just about everybody in the crowds of tourists in Padstow seemed to be eating either fish n' chips, an ice cream or a pasty. They must turn over a huge amount of food for a relatively small place.

As we left Padstow to head to our next B&B in Bude-Stratton I reflected on another exhilarating day of walking. I didn't want Cornwall to ever end.

Distance Walked Today 24.41 miles (39.28km)

Walking Time; 7 hours 28 minutes

Average Walking Speed 3.3 mph

Cumulative Distance Walked 497.30 miles (800.33km)

GPS Track;

View over Trevelgue Head and Newquay

Watergate Bay

Bedruthen Steps Beach

Natural arch south of Porthcothan

Porthcothan, I stopped for lunch here near where you see the three parked cars
while a drone flew around overhead

Rocky landscape at Boobys Bay, a group of teenagers are playing football on the sand

Trevose Head Lighthouse

Padstow Lifeboat Station at Mother Ivey's Bay

A dog walker peers into Round Hole above Harlyn Bay

The navigational beacon that looks like a chimney at Strepper Point, I went inside

Padstow Harbour

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