Day 051: Lizard to Prussia Cove

Distance: 20.55 miles

Ascent: 6172 feet

Weather: Sunny

Accommodation: Coastguard Cottage, Prussia Cove (Kindly Complimentary)


So, I got up made some breakfast in the giant industrial size/style kitchen and was on my way. Within a few hundred meters I was the most southerly person in Britain, as I dropped down to the tip of the Lizard. Strangely I couldn’t spot a sign or plaque on the ground, but the various little huts/cafes with their ‘most southern …’ taglines made sure you couldn’t miss it. I had reached my first cardinal point, southernmost, and it will be many months till I reach my next.

The first part of the walk was fairly flat, with very dramatic scenery, and with the waves pounding against the base of the cliffs. I rounded Old Lizard Head, and my first steep descent took me down to Kynance Cove, where I had to take the very slightly longer high tide route to get to the cove. This was a lovely little cove, which in Summer would be heaving due to the small carpark and summer café. There is also derelict group of cottages, which seems very strange given their location and earning potential through letting.

Then I had the very steep climb back up the other side of the cove, and when I reached the top I was very out of breath and stopped to catch my breath for a short while. Then suddenly as I was looking at the rocks, I noticed something but couldn’t quite tell what it was from my distance but got the camera out to zoom in. And there in all its majestic glory, perched on a rock was a Peregrine staring right down the barrel of my camera. I had at last managed to capture one on camera. It was a lovely moment as he just watched me, and I just watched him. A few minutes later I decided I had to carry on.

Then a strange thing happened a few hundred meters inland when a massive fire just started presumably on the Predannack Airfiled, and two fire engines quickly attended. I then realised that this must be a test as the speed the fire started, the speed the fire engines arrived, the speed the fire was put out and the general lack of panic meant it must be a test.

The path was flat, though very damp/muddy in places until I dropped down the steep descent into Mullion Cove. This is a beautiful tiny little cove. The cove is under threat from an apparent imminent cliff/rock fall, and a couple of weeks ago the national trust closed the harbour arm off, and I was actually fortunate to be able to walk straight out of Mullion rather than on diversion as it appears they want to close this stretch of path.  There was a tiny little café in the cove that I had assumed wasn’t open but on pushing the door it opened and I stopped for tea and a quick break. A couple of minutes later the same couple came in who I had sat next to at the little shop in Coverack yesterday came in (though having driven), I wonder if we will bump into each other again tomorrow.

Back up on the cliffs, though now far less flat, I soon came to Poldhu Cove. This site is famous as the site of the Poldhu Wireless Station, where Guglielmo Marconi transmitted the first transatlantic radio messages in 1901. The impact of these experiments, and positive results, took the world and many scientists by surprise as they didn’t realise that radio waves could bend beyond the horizon. The technology was soon taken up by the British General Post Office, amongst others and in some ways started a new electronic revolution. Without intellects. almost always eccentrics, and who had the means to carry out these sort of experiments the world would have advanced at a much slower pace.

I headed back up onto the cliffs and made very swift progress to Porthleven Sands where as the tides were in my favour I was able to walk the entire couple of kilometres along the sandy beach. This made a lovely change and there were military planes above practising manoeuvres. Though when I came to the end of the beach, even though I had been warned about this one by several people (this one has made lots of local press) I came to the dreaded diversion sign, and a long diversion at that. Also at this point there were many massive temporary pipes which the environment agency had put in place, due to storm damage on the Loe Bar, to try and stop significant flooding.

So I headed inland on the diversion which though it added a couple of miles on was incredibly scenic, firstly following the Loe lake, then I passed Penrose House, before dropping down into Porthleven on a slightly scarily busy/fast lane though fortunately only for a couple hundred meters.

Porthleven felt like the first proper town (though may actually be large village) I had encountered for a long time. And it had a proper shop, a privately owned medium sized supermarket! This was like heaven for me as I could properly stock up. As I was only a couple of hours shy of my finish point, and the temperature was cool, I bought some mince to make a Bolognese that evening. As well as the shop, Porthleven looked lovely with its little harbour and numerous shops/cafes dotted around it.

I headed up onto the cliffs and my body like yesterday was feeling the effects of all the ascents. The path then descended down onto Praa Sands which is a long sandy beach, with a low cliff. Some of the houses on this cliff will be gone within 10 years as it appears they are fast being encroached by the retreating cliff. At the end of the beach I climbed back onto the cliffs for the final couple of kilometres to Prussia Cove.

I was so glad to arrive at my destination for the night, one of the coastguard’s cottages which Porth-en-Alls had kindly offered complimentary for the night. Its location was stunning and on stepping inside it was like stepping back in time. It was so quaint, with most features feeling original. The kitchen was brilliant and presumably as it would originally have been had a bath (that due to the wood cover I had though was an old school chest fridge until I opened it) in it. The loo was outside, and the views from the front were stunning. This cottage would not be to everyone’s taste, as in comparison to other lets it is more basic. But that is the point it’s location, and old-school features and charm is what makes it so beautiful and different and I will not forget my nights stay in the coastguard cottage.

So all in all a very successful and beautiful day.

charles compton