Cornish Cliff Walking: Porthleven to Lizard Town (14 miles)

20 Sep

Stuart’s knee had not improved at all so he did the sensible thing and took the day off walking for the final day of the seven day walk. If the rest of us were to do a 14 miler it had to be today.

Marg, John and I agreed we’d give it our best shot and set off at 8:30am past the town hall and up the cliff above Porthleven beach. The town hall clock tower typically features in Porthleven storm photos of huge waves crashing over the sea wall that reach half way up the tower. We planned to rendezvous with Stuart at Lizard town for our pre-arranged transfer to Falmouth.
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Once again it was a steep climb out of base and then a descent into the Loe sandy foreshore past the largest body of fresh water in England. Two hours into the walk Poldhu Cove and beach was a welcome morning tea stop. We counted four life guards and three bathers on the beach. Not a bad ratio.

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Commemorative marker on the spot Marconi wired that famous ‘S’.

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Two hours later we made striking Mullion Cove and ordered fresh cut sandwiches through the cafe hatch. Yet another climb to the highest point above Mullion Cove and we found the perfect panoramic lunch picnic spot.

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Everyone was feeling fine so we pushed on to Kynance Cliffs. This is touted as the most beautiful part of the walk but actually I enjoyed the earlier days more. We encountered groups of six and more people wanding all over the path and sitting on cliff edges. I preferred having the path to myself or sharing it with cattle or sheep.

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Afternoon tea at the National Trust cafe at Kynance Cove was busy, at least 50 people. We felt like we were back in civilisation and it was not a welcome feeling.

Our feet got a rest in preparation for the final slog while we watched kids jumping from high rocks into the sea and kayakers setting off from the cove.

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The cliffs are badly eroding on this section. The geology had changed from hard rock to crumbly earth and the path has had to be moved back into farmers’ lands.

A welcome figure came into sight as we reached the one mile point out of Lizard Point. Stuart had strolled out to join us. We took the obligatory Lizard Point group photo to mark the most southerly point of the walk and trudged up the gravel path into town for more tea and scones. An uneventful taxi transfer to Falmouth had us in a hot shower in the guest house by 6pm.

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Falmouth has an active dockside refitting all kinds of vessels and a lively arts community. A short walk down the high street and harbourfront settled us on Samphire as the spot for our final group dinner. Again we were lucky as the young chef offered an interesting locally sourced menu.

We said our farewells to Marg and John as next morning we were catching the train to Newton Abbot and then on to Brixham. They were flying up to Edinburgh to continue their travels.

We agreed that the week’s walking was rewarding and started to discuss the possibility of tackling some or all of the UK’s famous ‘Coast to Coast’ some year soon.

Stuart’s brother James was did us a huge favour by collecting us from the train station and transferring us to Brixham, Devon. Stuart was finally going to be able to do the voyage he had to pull out of last year. Brixham to Brittany under sail on the good ship Provident!

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