Friday, 7 July 2017

A hot walk from Polruan to Polperro

What to do on a hot day? Take a strenuous walk along the Coastal Footpath, that's what. In retrospect, perhaps a cooler day would have been better but, nonetheless, it was a great day to be close to the sea. It was also quite an eventful day.
Our route: we parked at the top end of Polperro and caught a bus to Polruan where we joined the Coastal Footpath. At just under 7 miles, it was as up and downy (take a look at the elevation profile) as any walk we've done for a while. The path climbs and zig zags over cliffs and dips down to small rocky coves, providing fantastic scenery but challenging walking. 
Clear blue skies all the way around, with just a few clouds. 
Looking due west, the beacon tower on Gribbin Head can be made out. It was erected in 1832 to distinguish the Gribbin from Dodman Point and St Anthony's Head, and thus make navigation into the harbours of Fowey and St Austell Bay safer. It was never a lighthouse but is painted in broad red and white bands as a day mark. 
Looking down onto the sands and the blue sea at Lantic Bay. Looks positively tropical and it's a great shame that the water temperature will be anything but tropical.
Looking ahead of us eastwards with Lantic Bay and Pencarrow Point to the right. Lantic Bay is a relatively isolated spot and only the most determined will hike the 1/2 mile from the National Trust car park and then take the very steep path down to the beach. No facilities but just the spot for a relaxed day on the beach with few other people to bother you.

Ideal conditions for taking a ride in a boat with a powerful outboard and making pretty patterns in the sea.
About a mile inland from Lantivet Cove lies the church of St Ildierna in Lansallos. The present church may have replaced a Norman one built on the site of a Celtic “lan”, perhaps the hermitage of St Salwys after whom the village of Lansallos (Lan Salwys) is named. We didn't visit this time but we really must do a tour of the churches in the area, of which there are many, some with associations with Mrs P's forebears.
Another day mark for navigation, this one to help mariners find their way into Polperro Harbour. It's easy to forget that, until comparatively recently, a lot of coastal navigation was helped by what the sailors' could see, and hear. I wonder what they would make of today's GPS equipment.
 It was just after this point that our party of three deviated from our original plan, with a duo eventually ending up near Lansallos (curses upon farmers who prevent access to footpaths with barbed wire) and the other continuing on to Polperro to pick up the car.
One, just one, of the sets of steps going up, and down, the steep valleys punctuating the coastline. There is a technique for negotiating these - short steps with the feet planted firmly on the ground. The stability this gives is marginally easier on the leg muscles.
A male Stonechat. Lots of them around but this was the only one that perched long enough for me to get a photograph.
Every now and again the path goes through a tunnel of trees, mainly blackthorn, shaped by the wind. A welcome, but brief, respite from the sun.
Not quite at the end of the walk but Polperro Harbour comes into view as we come around the corner of Chapel Cliff. There was another 1/2 mile back up to our starting point in the Crumplehorn car park.

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