Being a two day walk, we stayed in the area. This allowed us to make an early start which was lovely. The cool morning mist was still clearing, the sun breaking through the clouds and the clear early morning area filled our lungs as we set off from Freathy on our last leg of the south Cornish coast.
Trying to get a meal in a pub the night before we had been turned away from several pubs because ‘the wedding’. We never did discover whose but it was good to know that business was still brisk in October.
The shack-land continued as we walked along the cliff beyond Freathy, the military road our constant companion, following the contours. The open-air nature of these, with their little patch of green seemed so much more appealing and genuinely ‘green’ than the rows of houses at Looe, Millendreath, or Downderry. It was as though the planners were refusing brick and stone; well done them.
In the distance loomed Rame Head and, tucked underneath it Polhawn Fort, scene of the big wedding. In no time, we were crossing the Iron Age ramparts and climbing the slopes up to the little chapel of St Michael on the headland. Here, the remains of a very exposed WWII anti-aircraft battery sat alongside a possibly Norman chapel within an Iron Age fort.
In the distance, the shadowy shape of another place – we think it must be Devon – stretched into the distance. Somewhere out there were Start and Prawle points, scenes of childhood memories for some.
Shortly after the Head, we turned inland for a brief detour to admire lonely Rame church with its little spire and restrained woodwork.
Onwards, around Penlee point and the twin villages of Cawsand/Kingsand hove into view. Cawsand is dominated by the mighty bulk of a former fort, now converted to flats, which hovers like a spaceship over the tiny harbour.
On the harbourside we admired the institute building, a smaller twin of that at Porthleven, which was almost undermined in the great storms of February 2014. From here it was a step to the former boundary (until 1844) between Cornwall and Devon at Devon-Corn house.
By now, we were all too aware that the colour of the geology had changed again. The familiar red sandstone of Devon was everywhere and it was understandable why Devon once thought that this areas should be theirs. Despite the close-packed houses and narrow lanes, this no longer felt like Cornwall and the view of bits of the city in the distance hinted at the real loyalties of the area.
Around the corner was the first sight of the city across the water as we entered the enormous Mount Edgcumbe park. The contrast between the close-packed houses, tower blocks and defences of Plymouth and the rural nature of the landscape through which we were passing, was very marked.
We passed a succession of small ruins and follies and made another brief detour around the back of the less-than attractive red stone house before descending though incongruous and distinctly un-Cornish formal gardens.
From here it was a step out of the park to the Cremyll ferry where we rewarded ourselves with some lunch and well-deserved refreshment at the Edgcumbe Arms. We had walked about 9.5 miles in 3.75 hours of easy walking.
And so we had reached the end of the beginning, or was it the beginning of the end? We had completed the south coast of Cornwall – but for one tiny bit of about 500m which remained on our consciences. Our attention will now turn once more to the unwalked sections of north coast which is said to be rather more in the ‘challenging’ category.