7-8 September: More South-West Coast Path beckons us

Author: Mrs A

Location: Trewithian, Cornwall, UK

Leaving Pentewan we supposedly only had a 30 minute drive to our next campsite on a farm a few miles outside St Mawes. Unfortunately Google Maps lost GPS signal on the way and we ended up driving one way down a tiny lane, branches brushing the roof of Truffy, not knowing whether we could turn around anywhere at the bottom. Fortunately we popped out at the tiny little village of Portholland. With one general store, a post office and 40 residents, we got a few shocked looks as we appeared, turned around and returned back up the road. A tense journey!

Our unexpected white knuckle drive to the tiny village of Portholland…we didn’t stay long!

Luckily there were no further mishaps with the navigation and we arrived safely on our farm. Our location for the next two nights was purely for the walking – other than a farm shop a short walk away, there was little else on our doorstep other than another stage of the south-west coast track. Suits us perfectly!

After setting up camp and a little lunch we headed off, following quiet lanes and spotting footpath signs until we could see the sea. Our next decision was whether to turn left or right. We chose right and followed a track across the cliff tops (Strava link).

Another deserted Cornish beach…
Even on this cloudy day the water looks turquoise
Where are all the people?
Mr & Mrs A

The thing we love about hiking is that there are so few other people about, the fresh air is abundant, and sights so interesting. We picked our way down to quiet sandy bays, maybe one other person visiting, the oyster catchers and seagulls ever present with their calls.

After about an hour’s walking, we emerged at a tiny fishing village, Portscatho. Although it is clear there are several holiday homes here, it didn’t feel touristy at all. It is still an active fishing port, and has been for more than three hundred years, with pilchards the primary catch.

Portscatho Harbour – quite rocky, with little boats waiting for the tide to turn

We had a look around before making our way back. We’d spotted what appeared to be a helicopter making a rescue from a boat while walking over. According to the coastguard station volunteer we chatted to, it was the Royal Navy folks from nearby Falmouth conducting training.

They’re a long way out to sea! The helicopter whipping up the water looks a little like smoke

We called into Curgurrel Farm Shop on our way back and picked up some freshly cooked and dressed local crab for dinner – delicious!

A little copper butterfly

The following day dawned bright and sunny, so we pulled on those hiking boots again and made our way back to the coast path, this time heading east (Strava link).

Patches of shade briefly dot the path

We left earlier in the day and carried our lunch this time. The weather was spectacular – blue skies and sparkling waters beside us the whole walk. We enjoyed many blackberries from the plentiful bushes alongside the path, and collected some to take back with us as well.

Picnic lunch beside a quiet beach…again…and yes, that black dot in the water is someone swimming (17°C! Brrr). Off in the distance is Nare Head, our halfway point destination for today.
Me and my trusty tripod…
A rugged and unspoilt coastline

It was a long, hilly (and warm) walk, with Nare Head our intended destination, rewarding us with incredible views and a soaring osprey circling over us. We even braved paddling our feet in the water on the sandy Carne Beach on our way back.

On the top of Nare Head watching the osprey
The next land mass from here is France, way off out of sight
Mr A picking his way back along the cliff top
The fresh water makes your feet feel like new!

We now can hardly believe we almost decided to give visiting Cornwall a miss, anticipating it would be really busy, The absence of any crowds has been an absolute delight – avoiding the main holiday destinations has definitely helped. We can tell by the fully booked caravan sites around the likes of Newquay and St Ives that those areas would tell a different story, but by sticking to the little, less touristy spots, we have been enriched with a far quieter experience.

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