Sunday, 8 June 2014

Kennack Sands to Lizard Point (South West Coast Path 55)

We resumed the Coast Path on a mild but cloudy afternoon and headed onwards from the cliff-top car park above Kennack Sands, where we stopped last month. It became dark and gloomy as we entered a National Trust area called Poltesco. A fine new footbridge with curving sides enabled us to cross a ravine.

When we reached Enys Head things had brightened up enough to take a view back, enriched by one of a few grazing ponies.

The view forward stretched as far as Bass Head. 

The cliff-top path soon brought us to Cadgwith Cove, with some lovely thatched houses and some substantial rocks jutting out into the bay. 

On the beach there were a surprising number of fishing boats and a very inviting shop selling their fresh catch. With a couple of pubs as well this was definitely our kind of place!

 We climbed to soon reach the Devil's Frying Pan.

Why? Oh well, who cares? It is apparently a collapsed sea cave. But soon after, I was delighted to see my first Small Skipper and then my first Meadow Brown of the year. Now there was a clearer view towards Bass Point.

And before long we reached the Lizard Point Lifeboat station. This featured an unusual funicular railway to link the cliff-top to the boat house.

Round the corner from Bass Point where a Coast Watch station took the place of a former Coastguard one the castellated building we had seen from afar could finally be identified. It turned out that it was the former Lloyds Signal Station. It dates from 1872 and was erected by Falmouth Shipping agent. It communicated with ships by semaphore and relayed their news onwards by telegraph. A thousand ships a month were using the facility five years later, according to Pevsner. 

Next we passed the Lizard Point Marconi Radio Station, just a pair of timber-framed huts, where a record for wireless transmission was established in 1901 when a signal was successfully sent to the Isle of Wight 186 miles away. We enjoyed the view across Housel Bay to the Lizard Lighthouse. 

The lighthouse is the oldest mainland lighthouse in Cornwall: the towers were built in 1752. The final stage requires a steep descent and ascent while traversing Hounsel Bay and the path then goes under the lighthouse and round to Lizard Point. The first sight is rather downbeat: a collection of huts straggle along the headland.

Today's dominant flowers were Red Campion and Sea Kale, with quite a lot of Thrift. At various points we saw Fulmars gliding by the cliff tops.

Conditions: warm, but quite hazy.

Grading: Moderate.

Distance: 5.5 miles (distance now covered 328.8 miles).

Map: Explorer 103 (The Lizard).

Rating: four stars.

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