St Ives to Zennor

17th May 2007

7 miles on Coast Path, total of 7.5 miles walking

It had sounded very wet and windy in the night, but Jenny Marks at Chy-Roma Guest House assured us that this was not windy by St Ives standards! In any case, it was fine by the time we left Chy-Roma, though it turned increasingly misty as we bought provisions for lunch and walked round 'The Island', then across Porthmoor Beach and past the Tate. By the time we reached the cliffs around Clodgy Point it was distinctly atmospheric, with the mist swirling around us - we were close to the sea most of the time, but the mist meant that we couldn't always see it! However there were many pretty flowers to admire - bluebells, primroses, red campion, thrift and others.

Some sources advise you not to go further than Zennor on the first day out from St Ives, on the grounds that this is a 'short but testing stretch'. We didn't actually find the going that hard, and suspect that a more compelling reason for the recommendation is the lack of suitable accommodation past Zennor. On the occasions when the going was difficult, it was more because of the roughness of the ground underfoot (with boggy bits and boulders to scramble over) than because of the steepness of ascents and descents. We stopped for lunch just before Trevega Cliff and the weather cleared as we were eating, and there were excellent views back the way we had come.

After passing the trig point at Trevega Cliff the views opened up in front of us, towards the Carracks, and from this point we were walking close to the sea for most of the time, with occasional big boulders to scramble over and occasional ascents and descents.

We rounded Zennor Head to Pendour Cove - no sign of the mermaid! (see next paragraph) We turned inland at this point and followed the track to Zennor, a lovely little village, described by D.H. Lawrence as 'a most beautiful place: a tiny granite village nestling under high shaggy moor-hills and a big sweep of lovely sea beyond, such a lovely sea, lovelier even than the Mediterranean..... It is the best place I have been in, I think'

We were staying in a house owned by The Tinners Arms, built in 1271 to accommodate the masons who constructed St. Senara's Church. The house itself is called 'The White House' (for obvious reasons) and was very easy to find, between the pub and the church. It used to be called 'Bos Cres' ('the house in the middle' - again for obvious reasons).We were in Room 1, with the first floor window clearly visible on our photographs and on all postcards of Zennor. After a shower we went for a walk around the village, having a cup of tea in the backpackers hostel but giving the Wayside Folk Museum a miss. Later on we visited the church and admired the 'Mermaid Chair' (with a carving of a mermaid on one arm). The mermaid is reputed to have lured a tenor from the church choir to Pendour Cave. We had lovely meal in the Tinners Arms and went to sleep easily, with less disturbance from the bar next door than I had feared we'd have.

Following day