Posts Tagged With: Long Distance Hiking

South West Coast Path: A Walk Through History

The morning after our arrival at Land’s End presented a sunnier picture of this iconic landmark.

Our soggy, arrival at Land’s End will forever be imprinted on our memories, a goal we worked extremely hard for some days. However, our last day of walking was filled with visions of the historic remains of the region’s tin mining industry. Fortunately, the rain caused me to pack my good camera deep inside my pack, or I’d probably still be out on the bluffs snapping photos.

The BBC series Poldark films on location along this stretch of coast.

Much like the Doc Martin series put the little village of Port Issac on the map, the BBC series Poldark brings the world to the Pendeen Coast, where the Geevor Tin Mine (closed in 1990) remains open as a tourist attraction.

As we walked out of Pendeen, we were surprised by the number of crumbling remains of a once thriving mining industry. While it all seems very romantic now, history tells a different story of the dangers that lurked underground.

The coast path meandered past a number of remains. We couldn’t help but take a closer look.
Other scenes were best viewed from afar.
Eventually, the path required our full attention.
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South West Coast Path: We Made It!

Land’s End.
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South West Coast Path: The Checkered Flag is in Sight

We arrived in the touristy town of St. Ives Saturday afternoon.

As pleasant as the above scene looks, Sunday morning brought horrendously strong winds to the area, foiling the plans of any walker in his or her right mind. Our host was kind enough to keep our packs for us until we could catch the afternoon bus to Pendeen, our stop for the night.

The photos really don’t do the wind justice, but trust me, it was howling. Fortunately, St. Ives is home to the Tate, where we wandered through 10 galleries of modern art, pretending to understand what we saw.

St. Ives has a rich history as an artist colony, and in addition to London, is home to one of two Tate museums.
We discovered Geevor Tin Mine, a Cornish Mining World Heritage Site in Pendeen.

The mine closed in 1990, but a museum and underground tour (complete with hard hats), are both available to the public. We skipped past the big ticket items and wandered down to check out the ruins of the original North Levant mine.

Tomorrow we will arrive at Land’s End, our stopping point and the end of our South West Coast Path adventure. We really hope to walk the last section…rain or shine. We’ll see what the morning brings.

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South West Coast Path: Wind and Weather Continue

The incoming tide put on quite a show in the Portreath Harbor yesterday evening.

Our days have been a wild mix of gusty winds and drenching rain showers. Unfortunately, blustery conditions have kept us off the trail. Evenings, on the other hand, have been fairly calm and quiet.

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South West Coast Path: I may be an American, but…

We cut across the headlands to Holywell Beach, hoping to dodge the rain cloud coming our way.

As we came over the rise, we saw a crowd of folks gathered down on the beach. Many appeared to be sporting medieval costumes, some were perched on horseback, others just milling about. There was also a small fleet of rickety, wooden boats ready to launch. I pitied the poor stunt men or women who had to set sail in today’s weather!

We knew the crew was filming something. My guess was Poldark.

When Reg asked one of the staffers, he told us it was an episode of East Enders. Well, I may be an American, but my British pop culture is not that rusty! Definitely not East Enders. We were later told it was a Netflix film, but the name escapes me.

We spent the rest of the walk into Perranporth simply trying to remain upright. Winds whipped off the ocean at 30-40 mph (depending on which weather report is to be believed), the worst we’ve ever walked in.

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South West Coast Path: Making Memories

There are so many more memories to capture beyond the beautiful scenery of the South West Coast Path. Here are a few of our favorites.

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South West Coast Path: Porthcothan to Newquay

We expected rain, but today was a beautiful day for a walk.

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South West Coast Path: Rainy Days and Mondays

We tried to walk yesterday…we really did. We left our B&B at 9:00 in the morning under gray skies and threat of rain and strong winds. After a quick stop to pick up lunch at the local SPAR store, we left Padstow, wishing we could have spent more time poking around the upscale harbor town.

By 10:30, we were sipping tea at the Trevone Beach cafe, cold, wet and frustrated that Mother Nature had whisked away our beautiful weather. We had a nice chat with an older couple who were traveling in their camper van. As he told story after story of his exploits, swimming, hiking and mountain biking, she would continually remind him, “That was 40 years ago.”

The bus shelter provided a semi-dry spot for lunch.

We eventually decided our best option was to catch the bus back to Padstow where we could relax with a nice glass of wine while waiting for a later bus to drop us at our next lodging. As we watched to flag our bus down, our friends in their camper van drove past, tooting and waving.

To be allowed to sit in the restaurant with wine, the server told us we had to have food on the table, but it didn’t have to be a lot.

It was a long crazy day, but we eventually made it to Old McDonalds Farm, where our room awaited. Many thanks to the Atlantic Coaster – bus line A5

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South West Coast Path: Old Friends and New Friends

We enjoyed a spectacular afternoon today with our friend Ian, who just happened to be on holiday, visiting with longtime friend Julie and her family in the big white house pictured above. The photo on the right is the view from the front room. A gorgeous setting that is situated right along the South West Coast Path.

We took a short walk to Polzeath Beach, a popular surfing beach. Then, Julie treated us to a delicious home cooked mid-day meal, a wonderful treat after 2 weeks on the trail. We felt terribly spoiled as Ian later drove us (through the pouring rain) to our B&B in Padstow. A great big thank you to Ian, Julie and her family for sharing the afternoon with us!

The Padstow Harbor.
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South West Coast Path: For All You Doc Martin Fans

Perhaps this scene looks familiar to you.

Today we arrived in the fictional village of Port Wenn, home to everyone’s favorite television doctor, Doc Martin. It’s been awhile since we’ve watched the show, but we remembered enough to have a sense of having been here before.

Doc Martin’s small cottage draws crowds of people who pay for tours to see the television show locations.

In reality, we are settled for the night in Port Isaac, home to the many scenes and location shots of the long-running series. It’s given this little port village quite a tourism boost. Our B&B host told us that locals can donate a certain sum to charity for the opportunity to appear as an extra on the show.

We ate dinner at The Old School House Hotel and Restaurant.

For as bustling a village as Port Wenn is, Port Isaac rolls up the sidewalks when the sun goes down, returning to its quiet coastal village roots.

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