Having finished filling some missing stretches of the coast path, we turned our attention to extending eastwards, picking up where we had left off on the south coast.
A bright sun and wonderful south easterly sailing wind greeted us as we headed down to the bottom of the Roseland at Bohortha. It really is untrodden ways down there. As usual, Froe Creek was a delight with its little half tide dam.
We picked up our previous trail at Porthbeor beach and headed around Porthmellin Head from where we could see our objective for the day: Nare Head and its accompanying pyramidal Gull rock, the Dodman hovering in the background.
After our walks in Penwith and on the North coast the going seemed almost tame. The path was easy going and largely on the level. The landscape rolled but there were none of the towering cliffs to which we were accustomed. Beaches were extensive and had sand in abundance, interspersed with rocky outcrops.
Alongside us fields of winter wheat were ripening; grass was standing tall unaware that the harvesters would soon be on their way; and the surface of a great field of oats rippled like waves, creating the illusion of a magic-eye picture. Later we would pass an equally large field of fresh-green bracken. The long days of summer did not feel far off.
Portscatho appeared very suddenly as we rounded a corner, heralded by a wonderfully planned and kept garden. It is a smart village, remarkably similar in conformation to Coverack and a mini version of St Mawes. Its houses, no doubt largely holiday cottages, were well-painted: almost painfully white in the bright sun thanks to Mr Dulux’s excellent products.
We were slightly surprised to find a memorial to the Burma Star Association with which we have a family association. We have yet to find a link between the Association and the village, but here the memorial stands on the edge of a Cornish sea.
We walked on, past the Hidden Hut at the end of Porthcurnick beach which was predictably popular, and towards Pendower beach which beckoned us on, two windsurfers making the most of the conditions. An occasional distant rumble suggested that the Navy was ‘conducting exercises’ over the horizon: no doubt rattling sabres to reassure us that they would protect us from lone terrorists.
On these walks we have often remarked on the placing of some of the benches, especially those which commemorate someone special. Despite the National Trust’s generally excellent work keeping the paths in order and the vegetation cut back, not all these benches are intelligently maintained. We came across two wonderful examples of benches which gave a detailed view of a blackthorn hedge instead of the intended sea view.
We had a slight loss of charity about the unnecessary small detour around the Pendower Hotel. It would have cost them nothing to allow us to cross the 100 yards or so of frontage. It was a reminder of some of the diversions along Carbis Bay.
I am sorry to say that we took it out on the Nare Hotel a little further on and marched through their garden ‘confused’ by the conflicting messages alongside saying ‘Non-residents welcome’ and ‘Residents only’.
A ruined cafe on Pendower beach was a stark contrast to the buzz of Porthcurnick beach with the Hidden Hut. Here, the cafe had gone and the beach was strewn with rubbish and broken glass. A real lost opportunity.
The sandy stretch of Carne beach is glorious and was filled with walkers and dogs. Nare Head looked close enough to touch.
The guidebook had said that this stretch was going to be ‘Strenuous’ but we had seen nothing that was not ‘Easy’ or at best ‘Moderate’. There were dark warnings about the climb to Nare Head but this turned out to be mild compared with the area around Zennor. It was helped by being a simple path without unevenly-spaced and high steps which require an added umph to raise the aching body.
Breathless, we flung ourselves onto the top of the Head and nibbled some sandwiches admiring Gull Rock which had changed shape since we had last seen it.
Behind us were some weird green tubes which we recognised as the entrance to a nuclear bunker. Unless it had been permanently manned, it would have taken its team some time to reach such a remote spot. Like some of the wartime pill boxes around the coast, one could think of worse views to spend the hours waiting for disaster to strike.
It was a short step from here to our car. We had covered 8 miles in under three hours.
There were more treats in store for us because we then visited the churches at Gerrans, St Anthony in Roseland and St Just in Roseland with its holy well: the last two churches being each given one star by Simon Jenkins. We also dropped in on Tregony church to capture some missing photographs.