Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Portreath to Chapel Porth (South West Coast Path 70)

 Portreath harbour

We resumed the Coast Path by walking inland from the beach and harbour of Portreath to climb up out of the village. The view back shows them both.

Soon there was a diversion inland because of subsidence and we rejoined the Coast Path proper above Gooden Heane Cove.

We were struck by the amount of wild flowers: Celandine, Red Campion, Violet, Bladder Campion, Primroses. Soon there was a classic Coast Path descent and ascent at a seemingly un-named cove ...

 ... and later a fine view ahead over the broom towards St Agnes Head.

As we approached the famous Sally's Bottom, there were fine rock formations and a curious tower on the horizon. 

Sally's Bottom turned out to be a small cove requiring a steep descent from the clifftop at maybe 80 metres to sea level and back up again. The degree of erosion on the far side was striking.

But why Sally's Bottom? It had a very industrial look and a helpful plaque revealed that it was once the site of a bottom mine (presumably under the sea bottom) called Wheal Sally (for some reason many tin mines have women's names). It was plugged in 1998. So it seems like a rather fanciful piece of naming, guaranteed to provoke a snigger.

Earlier we had skirted MOD land and seen a curious round shaped structure. A giant tomato? A massive topiary? Who could say? But once it appeared on the near horizon behind us I thought I could get away with a photo without falling foul of the Official Secrets Act. Godrevy Island can be seen in the distance, with St Ives behind it.

Soon we reached the obelisk viewed earlier. Rather disappointingly it seemed to be merely another mine structure.

The coast towards St Agnes Head stretched out invitingly ahead ...

 ... And after passing through a disused quarry we reached Porthtowan, evidently a surfing centre.

 After a climb out of the village and a short walk along the clifftop we reached Chapel Porth and admired a selection of mining structures on the opposite hillside. It was a pretty cove.

Conditions: mild and quite bright. We were quite relieved as before we left home the forecast had been for heavy rain.

Grading: Moderate.

Map: Explorer 104 (Redruth and St Agnes).

Distance: 5.3 miles (distance traveled now 420.3 miles).

Rating: three and a half stars.

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