Saturday, 22 July 2017

Another stretch of the Cornish Coastal Footpath done

Slowly but steadily we are ticking off the miles of the Cornish Coastal Footpath. Here's another piece of the jigsaw completed. Our aim is to complete what we have left to do by the end of this year. I'm feeling optimistic.
Our route was along the coast from Seaton to Looe, just under 5 miles and, although not too onerous, was a good exercise.
Our starting point was just by the beach in Seaton (Seaton, Cornwall, that is, not Seaton, Devon). Not a sandy beach but it's a good place for families as there's a river running onto the beach and the parking is easy. It never seems to be over-crowded.
The first half mile or so was uphill, leading to this flight of steps into the woods. As always, all distances on finger posts are best regarded as being approximate.
Looking due west towards Looe Island in the mist and our destination, Looe, directly opposite on the mainland. Luckily the weather brightened up from this point and we were not troubled by overcast skies.
A field of barley shimmering in the breeze. A few more weeks of sun and the crop will be ready for harvesting. I wonder if the growing number of micro-breweries in Cornwall is leading to increased acreage under barley? 
A female Meadow Brown butterfly, looking rather faded. Lots of these around but few had the decency to stay still long enough for me to get a photograph.
And the same applies to this male Gatekeeper, who steadfastly refused to open its wings fully. But I could see the characteristic two white spots and the broad markings on the forewings that help with the identification. The Gatekeeper is one of the short-tongued feeders, so called because its proboscis is relatively short and they can only feed on flat flowers. Fascinating, eh?
A pedant would argue that the grammar of this sign is incorrect. The grammar of that sign is incorrect, say I. There was no chicken crossing when we were there. Perhaps one had crossed just before we arrived and maybe one would be crossing after we left. But definitely nothing crossing at the time and we did keep an eye out for it, just in case we squashed it with our heavy boots.
There was about a 1/2 mile diversion of the footpath inland and this sign explains why that was. Erosion and slippage are not uncommon and it must be a constant challenge for those who have to realign the route, particularly negotiating with landowners for access rights. It's a pity that this diversion was where it was as it meant that we could not walk on the cliff below the Monkey Sanctuary. Yes, there is one and it has been there for at least 40 years. I was hoping to be able to photograph a 'Beware of the Monkeys' notice but it was not to be.
A pirate waiting for a bus. Looks like there hasn't been one for a while. Actually, he was sitting guarding the 'wishing pot' on the left and collecting for charity.
Lots of Bear's Breeches around at this time of the year, and most of them by the wayside and not in gardens. It's an entomophilous plant and it is pollinated only by bees or bumble bees large enough to force their way between the upper sepal and the lower, so that they can reach the nectar at the bottom of the tube. I find that fascinating. 
Looe: the end of this particular walk. We like Looe, even though it's full of tourists and has more than its quota of tacky shops. Despite these, it's still a nice place to walk around and savour the delights of a fishing village/town.
Where do we walk next? The map on the wall near our back door shows how much of the coastal footpath we've already covered - the bit we've just done is shown by the red box in the bottom right. We are getting there and, with a little determination, we should be able to complete the missing links this year. Our last stretch will be the one in North Cornwall that takes us to the border with Devon. After that, we'll turn around and start again!

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