South West Coast Path: Porthleven

Last day on my Christmas weekend trip. Thanks to the combination of weekend timing and Boxing Day, I’ve had an unusually long long weekend. I thought I’d be ready to go, but as the time goes by, I find myself more and more enamored by Cornwall.

I squeezed in a last hike. I started late, taking advantage of the fact that St. Michael’s Mount is open for the holiday, a rare winter availability.

I drove to Porthleven to try to finish up my segment. As I started to warm to the idea of completing the entire South West Coast Path as a life goal, I decided to try to tie my segments to the ones listed on the SWCP website. I was to connect the bit from where I left off on Christmas Day when I just couldn’t seem to get closer to the village within my sight- Porthleven.

It wasn’t even far. It was ridiculously close, where I left off that day. But it was far more scenic from the direction I walked today.

Highlights– West End: N50 05.581 W5 20.798
– East End: N50 11.292 W5 26.191
– Entire Distance walked: 5 miles
– Weather: dreary grey, but dry. Muddy, I now understand why people stroll in Wellies.

Porthleven: Charming town that grew from a fishing village and port. Views are much prettier walking east to west, with the rolling cliffs and varying landscapes.
I was every so reluctant to start my drive inland.

Year in Review: 2012

I put one of these slide shows each New Year’s (see 2011, 2010).. but with this week’s Photo Challenge topic, I’ve decided to publish this year’s a few days early.

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As you can see, I had a fantastic year. Hope you all did to, and that 2013 would be a continuation of a wonderful adventure.

Please, moooooooooooo-ve

I resumed the Southwest Coast Path on a short weekend in early May, basing myself at Porthallow (detailed on the walk to be posted at a later date).

On my last day, I got caught in high tide and couldn’t walk the cliff path back around to my B&B. With my route blocked, I had to cut through a cow pasture to get around. As I approach the road, the cows all beat me to the gates, crowding around, hindquarters to me.

In all my reading about hiking etiquette and safety, I never ever saw anything about the proper way to walk around cows. The closest knowledge I have is in riding horses- and I know to never approach one from behind. Cows, horses, close enough, right?

I tried stepping closer, seeing if they would scatter. Nope. One started to come
towards me. crap.

Literally. I looked down and my left leg was shin-deep in wet fresh gooey cow poop. Ugh. I backtrack to a narrow walkway that the cow didn’t want to approach. For some reason, she didn’t follow me further.

Reassessing, I decided to try to scrape off my leg first to kill time and make myself feel better. Reaching into the shrubs, I grabbed a large-leafed plant. Instead, I got a nasty stinging surprise, jerking back to see my hand bright red and throbbing. I had not just touched but used my whole palm to grab a
stinging nettle plant.That might be why the cow was smarter to not approach.

I grabbed my water bottle to try to rinse my hand and that didn’t provide any relief. So I tried pouring the rest of the water on my shoes to wash the gunk away. Instead, the wet seeped into my socks.

I don’t remember how I finally got to the gate… just that I was grumpy as can be and also discovered, a mile away later, the sunglasses and gloves I kept at the same pocket as the water bottle had fallen out in the ordeal. I refused to turn back around, marched to the sea, and waded thigh-deep into the bitterly cold water, begging the sea, sand, current, and grit to rub my shoes and pants cleaner.

What an ignominious end to a long weekend. It might be a while before I go back…

South West Coast Path: Marazion

Ever had one of those “meh”days? Days when, even though you know it could be a good one, you’re feeling rather uninspired? It’s worse when it’s a day in the middle of traveling. Today was such a day.

I started in Marazion town. The town itself is absolutely adorable. A winding street of old buildings colourfully painted. And most homes has a plaque nailed in its exterior face identifying what that structure used to be in the old days, so signs such as “Old School House,” “Marazion Institute,” “Quaker House.”

Marazion faces St. Michael’s Mount, the castle topped island I have been admiring from my first day’s walk. What I didn’t realize was there was a causeway, a stone walkway linking Marazion to the Mount, walkable during low tide. Quite a view. Just like what I imagine a castle should be.

Nikon D90, f13, 1/20s

The walk between Marazion and Penzance is linked by a concrete walking path. Rather dull. It weaved through some sand dunes. With the Christmas holiday, vacationers came out to enjoy the air. While it was unseasonable warm, the wind was blowing up a storm, enough to lift the gritty sand to whip on the face. The parasurfers seem happy with that, their colourful sails a cheerful contrast to the otherwise grey day. The walk was literally around the bay, so other than the Mount, the view remained rather monotonous.

Total Tally:
– Weather: Cloudy. Gusty gritty winds
– End points:
N50 05.581 W5 20.798
N50 07.164 W5 31.992
– Conditions: dry concrete pathways, or pebbly beach (good for cleaning hiking shoes as you walk!)

Highlights: St. Michael’s Mount, worth a visit. I went a couple days later. Be sure to catch the causeway at low tide.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Ready

I packed everything.. I think. My first day hiking the South West Coast Path in Cornwall, end of December, dead middle of the winter. I expect cold, rain, gusty winds. And breathtaking views. So I wanted to make sure I got everything covered.

And this doesn’t even cover the load I left in the boot. I *did* say in my intro that I tend to overpack. And somehow everything fit in the small daypack, except for the tripod.

Except for shoes. Those of you astute enough to pick that omission out, I left them in the car I wouldn’t trail mud through the little B&B.