This is surely one of the flattest walks on the whole cliff path for much of the curve of Mount’s Bay from Mousehole to Marazion is reclaimed land. It also contains a great deal of man-made surfaces: tarmac, concrete and then gravel.
There are not many walks on the coast path where you can pretty much see where you started when you get to the end. This is (almost) one.
It is spectacular scenery and we would very much recommend doing it west to east. In some ways it was as if one was attached to a gigantic bungy cord with St Michael’s Mount at its centre. It pulls you round the bay from the first sighting after rounding Carn-du, until, with the bungy at full stretch, it flings you around Maen-du and releases you into Perranuthnoe.
We parked at Lamorna, close to the Wink pub. The valley was greener than any valley could possible deserve to be, the light fresh greens of spring dappled by sunlight. The Open Studio scheme was on and Lamorna is clearly still full of artists. We were pleased to note Birch Cottage where Lamorna no doubt once worked. The rocks had the warm golden colour made famous by Laura Knight’s work.
The stretch of path between Lamorna and Mousehole was traditional cliff path stuff: winding, and over some high boulder steps. It was obviously Rosamunde Pilcher time for we met several Germans walking in the opposite direction.
Mousehole was as charming as ever although over-full of visitors over the half term. From here to beyond Penzance the surface is on tarmac or concrete.
We stopped for coffee overlooking the oldest pier in Newlyn, watching the fishing boats unloading their catches. Less consciously pretty than its neighbour, Newlyn contains some lovely traditional granite buildings. A very short detour into the Fradgen behind the fish market is highly recommended, especially if you enjoy the works of the Newlyn artists.
The promenade between Newlyn and Penzance was in the final stages of repair after the winter storms over a year ago. We passed the Queen’s Hotel and re-enacted ‘The Rain it Raineth Every Day’ (from memory) to show that it did not, then on past the Jubilee Pool Lido which is also still being restored.
Every town has its ups and downs and we have plotted Penzance’s over the years. The number of people and developments around the waterside car park made it hard to believe that it was not heading upwards once again. Some of the restoration has even been quite sympathetic.
The walk around the railway station was hardly inspiring but it did remind us just how much money the Victorians had ploughed into the construction of the railway system we take for granted. The station is carved out the cliff and all the old marshalling yards – now mostly given over to light industry housed in depressingly cheap modern buildings – lie on reclaimed land, protected from a stormy sea. The engineering works to construct the station alone would be regarded as a large investment today but this was just the start of something which was going to stretch all the way to London.
Passing Long Rock we could see three church towers – Penzance, Gulval and Ludgvan and almost Paul – which is relatively unusual in a Cornish landscape. We could also see three large supermarkets which is rather more typical. At this point the going changes to gravel and the marshes open up on the left. The Mount gets ever closer.
Marazion was even fuller of tourists than Mousehole. Being high tide, the Mount boats were shuttling back and forward as fast as they could, fetching and delivering people across the short stretch of water. We lunched where we could watch them before escaping back to the cliff path.
Eventually leaving Marazion, the path turns back into a ‘proper’ path and winds its way eastwards around the low headlands. An unusual view of the Mount opened up, with Penzance and Newlyn in the background.
Cudden Point started to dominate the view. Long known in the family as the sleeping dragon, its nose was well down in the water, watching for invaders. The sight of very familiar landmarks like Acton Castle drew us on and we rounded the corner into Perranuthnoe and a welcoming cup of coffee after four hours and 11 very easy miles.