Day 049: Falmouth to Manaccan
Distance: 23.30 miles
Ascent: 5265 feet
Weather: Overcast, Some Sunny Spells
Accommodation: Camping, Manaccan
I set of earlyish and it was completely overcast & misty and felt as though it could rain at any time, even though the forecast had said it would remain dry. The first part took me passed the outskirts of Falmouth, across Swanpool Beach and then up on to the low cliffs passed the golf course.
I soon reached Maenporth which is a lovely little beach but perched on the cliffs above it is a quite bizarre modernish development of holiday apartments. In some respects, one of the ugliest groups of buildings I have seen on the walk, but for some reason it sort of worked perched on the cliff.
From Maenporth the path climbed back onto the cliffs, and by now fortunately having not had any rain the sun was beginning to come out. I rounded Toll Point and began heading up the Helford River, and the scenery was beautiful and varied. The path headed through the gardens of the imposing Bosloe House, before dropping down to the quaintest hamlet I have seen on the walk so far Durgan.
I then reached Helford Passage where in Summer ferries head across to Helford on the other side, but as this was winter I had a long, long walk around the various parts of the Helford River, using little country lanes, before I would end up in Helford.
For the only time in my live I was happy to see a road closed sign, as this meant that I would have the ease of lane walking without the constant worry about cars. About 1 mile after entering the closed bit I came across the workers, who it turned out were fixing a gas main. This lane walking was actually really nice, as it was easy on the body, but also very scenic.
Just before getting to Gweek I came across my first daffodil farm, and it turns out it is big business. They must have been unlucky with the conditions as the daffodils were mostly out and they like to cut them when they are still a bud ready to open once put in water in your house. I took a quick break at Gweek before heading off on the country lanes once more. I started hearing lots of foreign voices through the hedge and it came apparent that I was now passing daffodil pickers. Seeing them in action didn’t quite sit right with me, they clearly did not have the right kit, no facilities (portaloos, temp shelter etc), and even carrying the stacks of boxes could have been made much easier if the tractor had been bought closer to them, and maybe this is just me being cynical but I bet they were not getting minimum hourly wage. All this so we have 50p daffodils in the supermarkets. I don’t know why this didn’t sit well with me, it just feels strange to bring foreign workers over here to work in clearly not great conditions just so we don’t have to do the work and so the prices can be lower in the supermarket, rant over.
I dropped down to Helford which is a stunning village, and popped into the pub to see if they knew anywhere near I could pitch. They appeared to not know anywhere, and as it was quite early (only just gone 4) I decided to carry on for a bit to get some more mileage under my belt. At Gillian Creek there are stepping stones that can be used to cross for about an hour around low tide. Unfortunately it was high tide this evening and the low tide would not be till early afternoon tomorrow which would not be ideal so decided best to walk up and around the creek.
I decided Manaccan would be the best place to stop, and as I was a little short on food (no real dinner stuff as shops had been shut when I passed them) I headed for the pub arriving just before 6pm. Unfortunately, it turns out that due to someone leaving, contrary to the website, they were now not doing food anymore. But the barman was very jovial, the pub itself was lovely and they kindly let me pitch in the beer garden. The food situation was not ideal, but I had enough snacks to get me through this evening, if not great sustenance, and could get more stuff tomorrow.
Then suddenly a gentlemen, Pat, reappeared in the pub who I had spoken to earlier and said his wife was happy to cook me dinner at their house. So we headed of to his house, where his wife, Steph, cooked me some dinner which was so kind and greatly appreciated. Hopefully I got their names right as I forgot to note them down at the time.
I then headed back to the pub and settled down in my tent for the night.
So a lovely day walking around the Helford River, followed by such an act of kindness.