Nare Head to Gorran Haven

P1030724The rapidity of the windscreen wipers did not bode well when we set out and our nerve almost went. We went ahead, prepared to get wet, and had a wonderful walk on a sunny day.

The books had used the term ‘strenuous’ and this proved sound as it was probably the most consistently ‘up and down’ stretch that we have yet done. Some of the steep sections were stepped but most were simple paths.


We soon reached Portloe which is a lovely keyhole-sized haven which boasts a small fishing fleet as well as the Lugger hotel.

The books also used the word ‘remote’ and we were often reminded of this. There are small communities every couple of miles but nothing in the nature of a large village after Portloe.

West and East Portholland appeared lovely places for secluded holidays. The latter included the first of the Caerhays estate houses which are recognisable by their sludge-yellow windows and woodwork. Having an estate colour is all very well, but please not cattle-cake yellow.

Caerhays: there was once a hill here

Caerhays itself is completely bonkers, of course. It has been the cause of more bankruptcies than most large houses and what on earth possessed Nash, or the owners, to build such an un-Cornish looking house in a spot like this? They even ‘moved’ – more like ‘removed’ – a hill so that they could have a view of the sea; all in the interests of providing work during a recession.

The gatehouse looked more suitable for a railway station (or Pendeen church).

The going changed as we left Caerhays: much easier once we had climbed up some steps through a copse to the hilltop.

P1030746As well as liking sludge yellow, the Caerhays estate appears not to like SW Coast path signs and so we had to trust to our instincts and the map.

We also noted a stile to add to our collection of ‘really effective gates’.

Hemmick beach looked lovely, enhanced by a small secluded cottage set among the reeds. We made a mental note to rent it if we wanted to escape.

High point

By now a wonderfully craggy point, probably High Point, was beckoning us on towards Dodman with its Cross visible on the summit. One last hill and we could sit down and enjoy a well-earned lunch out of the wind. In the distance we could make out the white sails of yachts enjoying the fresh breeze.

The going changed again on the east side of the Dodman, a very ‘Daphne du Maurier’ house standing proud above the extensive and popular Vault beach. It could have stood in for Menabilly.

From here it was simple step to Gorran Haven and a refreshing ice cream. We had covered ten miles in four hours. Two churches needed visiting: St Michael’s Caerhays and Veryan.

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