Porthcurno to Penzance

20th May 2007

11 miles

When we went down for breakfast there was not only our American friend but also a Scottish man, also walking the entire South West Coast Path in one go. We collected our (large!) packed lunches, left Sea View House and walked back down to the Path, which climbed up behind Porthcurno beach.

The first part of the day was dry and we were walking on narrow paths, through colourful undergrowth, with quite a lot of clambering over boulders on the path, and steep decents into coves...and ascents the other side. Penberth was lovely, with cottages and fishing boats - rightly described as 'totally unspoilt', and St Ley was indeed 'almost tropical in its lushness.

We passed the pretty lighthouse at Tater-du then had lunch sitting on some rocks at Carn Barges. It started raining soon after lunch and this made the path difficult, especially when clambering over rocks. The descent to Lamorna Cove was particularly difficult and the cove itself (which I know was a favourite of my parents' before I was born) was a disappointment. Perhaps our judgment was coloured by the rain and by the fact that the cafe by the cove was full!

The weather improved as we walked towards Penzer Point and we had a second lunch at a very convenient granite bench. Then onto roads, but the remainder of the walk was far more interesting and enjoyable that we had expected. Mousehole (pronounced 'Mowzul' and named after a cave) was lovely with a pretty little harbour, and we stopped for a welcome cup of tea. The route from Mousehole to Newlyn uses a broad footpath and cycleway beside the road but was nevertheless interesting. We passed the old Penlee Lifeboat Station, with its memorial to the crew of the Penlee Lifeboat, lost in a failed attempt to rescue the Union Star in December 1981. Newlyn, with its working harbour, was fascinating.

We turned left at the Wherry's roundabout on the way into Penzance and found the Pendennis (now a guest house not a hotel, owned by Russell and Hazel Curtis). After having a shower we headed back out to look around Penzance. After walking right around the town we settled on Sophia's Fish Restaurant on the promenade. They were very busy, so it was a bit chaotic (and the Scottish man from the footpath got told to come back later - twice!) but the food was delicious. It made a suitable end to this leg of the South West Coast Path.

The following morning we wheeled our suitcases to the station (not difficult), meeting the American for one last time on the way. He was heading for the onward stretch of the Coast Path which goes along the back of the beach towards St Michael's Mount. We took the train, past St Michael's Mount and (eventually) home.