Friday, 28 March 2014

Lower Porthpean to Mevagissey (South West Coast Path 46)

St Austell Bay

We set out from Lower Porthpean beach, which had struck us as a nice one for kids, and made the inevitable climb to the cliff top. We were very struck by how calm the sea was and by its pale turquoise colour. Out to sea, a couple of fishing boats were moored and around both of them hundreds of cormorants were floating in the sea. Sadly, they were too far out for  a photo

We walked along the cliff top and were surprised by a notice warning of a badger set ahead. It was a helpful warning however because there was a large hole in the middle of the path.

As we approached Black Head we were concerned to see another notice advising of a diversion because of a cliff fall. For the first time ever, this actually made the walk shorter as we were directed slightly inland from the Head itself. Once round the corner the next section of coast stretched out before us.

At Hallane, we admired this cottage part way up the winding valley.

A bit further in there was a fine view across St Austell Bay towards Mevagissey, with its furthest extremity, Chapel Point, clearly visible on the left. We were please to see the blackthorn blossom in the foreground.

Soon there was a classic coast path combination of a steep climb down steps to sea level, followed by an equally steep climb up steps back to the clifftop. We were rewarded with a great view of the coast stretching back to Black Head.

From a little further on, you could see across Black Head to Gribbin Head with its beacon surprisingly clear amidst the cloudy sky.

This was a particularly indented stretch of coastline.

But as we reached Pentewan things changed. First we passed an intriguing group of buildings: a chapel (with a cross enriched with light bulbs outside), a fine terrace of houses with a splendid veranda in front and then a handsome Georgian house with lovely windows.

We descended to sea level and walked through the village and along the road to skirt the large holiday village which is set back from the lovely sandy beach. This is the view looking back once we had regained the cliff top.

This cliff top section contained a further badger warning: this section of path was being "undermined" by badgers. It seemed a bit extreme, as if the poor old badgers were waging a military campaign.

Eventually we reached houses on the outskirts of Mevagissey and descended to enjoy this lovely view of the Outer Harbour in the evening sunshine, with Chapel Point in the background. The Inner Harbour was built only in 1774, with the outer one following in 1888. It had to be rebuilt in 1897.

Conditions: cloudy, but bright and quite warm

Grading: Strenuous. 
Distance: 6.5 miles. Distance now covered 269.6 miles.
Map: Explorer 105 (Falmouth & Mevagissey).
Rating: three and half stars. A pleasant but not very distinctive section. We saw quiet few typical seasonal wildflowers (celandine, stitchwort, red campion, violet, broom) and a few Small Tortoiseshell and Peacock butterflies.

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