Walk #348: Porthcurno to Pendeen Watch
Map of the walk
Maps courtesy of Google Maps. Route for indicative purposes only, and may have been plotted after the walk. Please let me have comments on what you think of this new format. For a detailed table of timings for this walk, please see the table file.
Finally reaching Land's End after nearly 2,100 miles was quite an emotional moment for me. This target meant many things; it is me second right-hand turn, it is the start of my continuous Land's End to John O'Groats walk (which has always been an ambition of mine), and also completes a long circular walk around the south of England. Sam was waiting for me when I arrived, and we walked quickly over to the famous signpost to have some photos taken. Shortly after we had finished the man who runs the photograph booth arrived, and so we decided to pay to have my photograph taken with a sign saying 'Coastwalk 5,500'. The only slight problem with this is that I will now have to get a similar one when I get to John O'Groats! Land's End was also my second right-hand turn of the walk, and I now have a very long way to walk to get to the next one, at Cape Wrath in Scotland, which will be another 2,800 miles away.
After the photos had been taken we went to Mervan to pick up the sandwiches at Sam had made for me. After this I realised that I had plenty of time to complete the rest of the walk, and so I decided to go into the nearby pub and have a drink. The main reason for this was that we could see the clouds parting and blue skies ahead, so I thought it best to get out of the rain and dry off before setting out once again. This plan worked well, and I was much drier by the time I finally set off once again. In the pub we chatted to a few visitors, who seemed quite amazed by the distance that I had walked. It is exceedingly nice to get this reaction, as it makes me feel that the distance I have walked so far is impressive - strangely enough it does not seem very impressive to me. One of the problems with doing such a walk is that the entire previous trip becomes a blur in the memory - it seems like only yesterday that I was in Northumberland. This is one of the reasons that I am being so verbose when I write these journal entries - in future years they will give me memories that I would otherwise forget.
When I reached Cape Cornwall I was faced with a little choice - whether to walk up to the summit of Cape Cornwall or to just continue on along the South West Coast Path. After spending a couple of minutes prevaricating and wondering if I could justify the time (which is surely a contradiction) I decided to climb up to the chimney that marks the summit of the cape. The walk was short and easy, and the views from the top back towards Land's End and out to sea wee beautiful. I spent a few minutes beside the chimney, admiring the view and studying the map for the section ahead before reluctantly going down the hill back towards the car park and the path. As I neared the bottom of the hill I started to cry for some unknown reason, as the emotion of the day slowly worked its way to the surface. This emotion did not last long, and after it had finished I felt much better and started singing as I strode along the path.
As yesterday Sam met me a few miles from the end of the walk, and we walked side by side and chatted as we went I really enjoy it when Sam does this, and although it slows me down it is nice to be able to talk to her and share the views and landscapes. Along the last section of the walk north from Cape Cornwall I passed through a large area with the remains of many tin mines in it. The skeletal remains of the buildings actually complemented the harsh landscape, and I enjoyed studying the old chimneys and the remains of buildings that were being subsumed by vegetation, slowly falling down and becoming part of the landscape that they once dominated.
This makes a total distance of 14.6 miles, with 3274 feet of ascent and 3268 feet of descent.
The car park beside the lighthouse in Pendeen Watch has large signs stating no overnight parking, so we drove the short distance into the village of Pendeen and parked in the car park there for the night. There are some public toilets in the car park, and there is a pub just down the road and a shop directly opposite the entrance to the car park.
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And finally, enjoy your walking!
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