2016 Falmouth- Plymouth
London Heathrow Holiday Inn
Meeting time: 9am Drop off time: 6 pm
Additional Single Occupancy Lodging Cost: $1,200
Part two on the Southwest Coastal path route is characterized as having some of the most romantic, quaint fishing villages in the country along this section of path. The entire time you will be hiking with the ocean to your right, along cliffs, down to sandy surfing beaches and back up to the high cliffs. Make no mistake that this path is a challenging path and is not an easy walk. The trail can be muddy, slippery and rocky. There are kissing gates along the way and some steps along the trail. Tourism is now Cornwall’s primary industry; the tin mining and fishing industries have long since declined. During the summer months, the Cornwall coast is considered England’s Riviera, and once you have experience the region’s magnificent white sand beaches and pounding surf, you’ll understand why. At times, with the throngs of surfers riding the waves off the shores, you might think that somehow you’ve been transported to the California Coast. Another feature to anticipate as we hike the Cornish Path will be the frequency with which we stumble upon (figuratively, of course) beach side pubs, cafes, bakeries and the like---further evidence of the importance of tourism to this region. Consider yourself fortunate, or, more accurately, excessively self-disciplined, if you can limit yourself to one Cornish pasty per day or one Cream Tea. In other words, forget this hike if a primary goal is weight-loss.
Saint Ives, where the tour begins, is an enchanting seaside town full of light, art and ambience. The town's heart by the harbour is filled with cafes, restaurants and tourists. The Tate Gallery is located above Portioner Beach. There are also many small galleries to wander into as you explore the town. Day 2, as we leave Saint Ives, we will have the pleasure of walking downhill through town and to the coastal path. The coastal path will lead us away from the hubbub of the town onto a pleasant trail. Be sure to look back at the view of the graveyard, beach and town as you say good bye and move on. The trail will take us past Zennor. Zennor is a tiny granite village that seems to emerge fro the landscape itself. It is surrounded by rocky granite. We will depart the coastal path and head inland 10 minutes to Gurnard's Head. Gun nards Head is know for its award winning meals. We will enjoy an evening here at the pub and inn and then the next day will return downhill to rejoin the coast path along the sea and continue on our journey.
Day 4, from Cape Cornwall we will retrace our steps back to the coastal path and continue with more ups and downs. The coastline here has many interesting clefts, caves and arches such as the natural land-bridge of Tol-Pedn-Penwith. Don't be surprised if you see some seals in the water or resting on the beaches below. We will pass by Lands End a very popular tourist attraction. As, I mentioned we will be passing through. If you need a treat, this would be a nice place to stop. Many tourist buses make this a popular destination for the day. On to Porthcurno we go. Porthcurno is home of the open air Minack Theatre. The theatre is carved into the granite cliffs above the sea. It was built mostly by one woman named Rowena Cade. She worked with her own hands using picks and wheelbarrows to shift the granite. There is a museum to enjoy if you so choose. We will spend the evening at a local B&B and enjoy dinner in the "one" local pub. Day 5, the hike from Porthcurno to Wherrytown we will see a shift in vegetation. We will pass the town of Lamorna and it is one of the few wooded areas on the coastal path. On to Mousehole (pronounced "mowzl") we go. This is a special spot! The entrance to the harbour was so small that for a boat coming in to the harbor, it was like trying to fit through a mouse hole. Mousehole was once a very busy fishing village. Now it is a popular tourist destination with a variety of spots for lunch and tea and little shops. The next four miles are all on pavement which is hard on the legs and a little less interesting that what we have done the past few days. As we get closer to Newlyn a large fishing village we will leave behind some of the open spaces and realize we are entering more of a city setting.
Penzance is a busy coastal city. On Day 6, our lay over day, there are museums to explore such as the Penlee House Gallery and Museum also the Cornwall Geological Museum and the National Lighthouse Museum. If one wants a walk, the walk to Marazion, (3 miles one way) is all paved and it is fun to visit the town (although the next day we will pass through this town). Going out to St. Michael's Mount Castle is popular and a great opportunity to explore an old castle and the gardens of the estate. Shopping and exploring Penzance is good activity for the day too.
Day 7, reenergized from the layover day we will have a full day hiking the coastal path to Porthleven. This thirteen mile day is filled with sights. Six miles into the hike we will come to Praa Sands a coastal beach community. After passing Praa Sands the hiking gets tougher for the last four miles to Porthleven. In 1807 a deadly ship wreck happened in the sea outside this town. We will stay right on the harbor. Day 8, Porthleven to Mullion Cove is a 5 mile hike. If we want to add mileage we can add 5 more miles and hike around the lake at Loe Bar. There are many bird watching opportunities in this area.
The hike from Mullion Cove to Lizard, Day 9, is on the cliffs. As we hike closer to Lizard the scenery becomes more and more breathtaking. In the town of Lizard there is a tasty pastry shop to try and a great pub and a few restaurants, my favorite being The Witch Ball. There are some great stores that have carved stone souvenirs such as jewelry and vases. We will stay and dine at a hotel right on the coastal path, making the next day such a pleasure to get up, enjoy a full English breakfast and head out to the trail.
Day 10, from Lizard to Coverack, the first 4 miles are easy, the trail can be rocky and slippery when wet so watch your steps. The next 7 miles from Cadgwith to Coverack are a series of ups and down. Coverack beach is famous for being only one of three places where you can walk along the moho, what was once between the earth's crust and the earth's mantle. The village of Coverack is very quaint. On Day 11, we leave Coverack and hike along the road at first and then by the beach, then on to more of a walk as we get closer to Helford Passage. Two ferry rides later we arrive at our destination- Helford Passage. Day 12, the final day of hiking will take us into Falmouth with views of large ships and boats in the harbor. It is in Falmouth that we will enjoy our last evening together. Day 13, explore the area or relax at the beautiful hotel and then our tour concludes with a shuttle back to London/Heathrow-mid day.
|Day 1||Assembly at London-Heathrow Holiday Inn (Bath Road); shuttle to St. Ives; overnight at Chu an Albany.|
|Day 2||St. Ives-Gurnard's Head||7 miles|
|Day 3||Gurnard's Head- Cape Cornwall||11 miles|
|Day 4||Cape Cornwall - Porthcurno||11 miles|
|Day 5||Porthcurno - Wherrytown/Penzance||9 miles|
|Day 6||Wherrytown/Penzance - LAYOVER DAY||(optional 6 miles)|
|Day 7||Wherrytown/Penzance - Porthleven||13 miles|
|Day 8||Porthleven - Mullion Cove||6-11 miles|
|Day 9||Mullion Cove - Lizard||6 miles|
|Day 10||Lizard - Coverack||11 miles|
|Day 11||Coverack - Helford Passage (2 boat crossings)||13 miles|
|Day 12||Helford Passage - Falmouth||10 miles|
|Day 13||Falmouth- mid day departure to London-Heathrow|
Total Hiking Mileage 97 - 108 miles
Routes, mileage and accommodations are subject to change due to safety, road/trail conditions, weather and availability.