Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Porthallow to Coverack (South West Coast Path 53)

The midway marker at Porthallow

It was a great thrill to arrive in Porthallow last night and know we had completed half the South West Coast Path. Today we start the second half! Unusually, this means climbing the road out of the village and walking inland for a couple of miles. It is the consequence of quarrying along this section of coast. After a while there is a nice view across a field - perhaps surprisingly, of daffodils - towards the church of St Akeveranus (!) at St Keverne.

We rejoin the coast briefly at Porthoustock. The entry to the hamlet features these lovely thatched cottages, but the cove has the look of a loading bay for stone rather than a pretty beach.

Again, the route heads inland and missing a path across a field enables us to pass the the Giant's Quoins. These great stones one stood on the coast, but were moved here in the 1960s when they were in the way of quarrying.

Reaching the hamlet of Rosenithon, a footpath brought us down to the private - and totally secluded and unspoilt - beach of Godrevy Cove.

We climbed up the south side and began to notice some butterflies on a sunny hillside. So far we had seen the usual Specked Woods, Green Veined Whites and Walls, plus a late Orange Tip, but now we saw the first Common Blue of the year.

And moments later, the first Green Hairstreak.

Eventually, I tore myself away from this promising butterfly site and we carried on through the vast disused Dean quarry to approach Lowland Point. It is a pretty spot, covered in wild flowers, notably thrift and bluebells, and just a few metres above sea level. We have passed many Points and Heads on the coast so far and this is definitely the lowest. Dean quarry can be seen in the background in this picture.

The path on towards Coverack was rich in wildflowers and surprisingly steep and rocky in places. We saw a splendid example of a distinctive Cornish type of stone stile where you climb a series of step parallel to the fence you are crossing, rather than at right angles as in a wooden stile.

 Gradually we approached Coverack in its curving bay.

And eventually arrived to find the tide in and work still underway on repairing damage caused by the February storms.

Conditions: warm and sunny.

Grading: Moderate.

Distance: 5 miles. Distance now covered: 318.3.

Map: Explorer 103 (The Lizard).

Rating: four stars.

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