Day 045: Polperro to Charlestown

Distance: 18.20 miles

Ascent: 5649 feet

Weather: Mostly Sunny

Accommodation: Antonia's Pearls, The Studio (Kindly Complimentary)


Well the day started with a fabulous breakfast in Milly’s, before Dick and I headed of for the days walk. We headed down through picturesque Polperro, before heading up onto the cliffs. The sun was out, the scenery was great and the mud was out in force. We made good progress, though slow due to the mud.

It was not long till we reached Pencarrow Head and could see over Lantic Bay and Beach. This is a stunning expanse of remote sand (in fact my facebook cover photo is of this beach from a previous visit) though just close enough to a carpark that a couple of families were enjoying it in the half term.

After rounding Lantic Bay, we soon reached the edge of Polruan. This is a lovely village and its narrow winding lanes took us passed many quaint cottages/houses, and a few tight squeezes passed builders vans down to the quay. There was a surprising amount of people on the steps waiting for the ferry and looked like we might have to wait for the little ferry to do a couple of runs till we would get on it, but suddenly another one came into action and we fortunately got on within a couple of minutes of arriving.

We docked at Fowey, which is more touristy than Polruan its near neighbour. It is a lovely town, with a whole range of shops and restaurants. It was notably busier than any of the other towns I had been to in Cornwall so far, and the prices also seemed higher than other places. Dick was doing his best to wind up a true local about the makeup of a Cornish Pasty, who kindly directed us to a bakery where we got giant pasties to fuel us up for the second half of the walk. We found a lovely bench overlooking Readymoney Cove, where we had our pasties/snacks.

We carried on passed St Catherine’s Castle, which is a fort built by Henry VIII in 1530 to defend Fowey Harbour, and was modified for both the Crimean and Second World Wars. Then the path clung to the cliffs, dropping down to Polridmouth, before climbing back up to Gribbin Headland Daymark.

We had seen this Daymark (tower) for most of the day, and it had seemed to get no closer until suddenly we were at it. This tower was built so that sailors did not mistake the treacherous shallow waters of St Austell Bay for the calmer deeper waters of Fowey harbour.

The next section all the way passed Polkerris and to Par was the muddiest of the whole day, and for its longevity (if not depth) was possibly the worst I have had on the walk. ‘The coefficient of friction of this mud is just slippery’ quoted Dick. This significantly slowed our progress and made it much more tiring and I could tell it was having an effect on Dick as he got quieter with occasional grumbles. We had a very short sleet shower, when the wind increased but this passed very quickly before returning to blue skies.

We finally escaped the mud and reached Par, where Dick was catching his train back to London. We arrived just before 5pm, a few minutes before the direct train back to London. It was great having Dick on the walk for a day (about 16 miles), and very kind of him to come all the way down. He fortunately got good weather, and lovely scenery. What hasn’t been mentioned earlier is the 4 falls he had, though each and every time he appeared to fall elegantly (however that is possible) thus not getting completely covered in mud. Nor have I mentioned the birds we saw which Dick seemed to be a bit of an expert in including: buzzards, kestrels, skylarks, goldcrest, stonechats and many, many more.

I had a short stretch left to get me to Charlestown, which I arrived just after dark so did not get to appreciate its beauty. I look forward to seeing it in the light in the morning. I met one of my kind hosts at Antonia’s Pearls who had let me stay in one of their properties ‘The Studio’. This is an absolutely stunning self-contained apartment, right on the quay and they had left all manner of food in the apartment including some cinnamon buns which picked me up straight away after the days walk.

So a very good, scenic day in great weather.

charles compton