Dear Readers: As I continue to work on writing my book from my 630-mile South West Coast Path journey, I share with you the second half of my day of walking on July 23, 2017. The first half of my day was spent walking from the town of Par to the town of Fowey, but since this was a six mile walk that took me 3.25 hours, and since the weather for today was warm, sunny, blue-skies, perfect weather, and since I had missed the section from Pentewan to Porthpean Beach the previous day, I had the very nice gentleman of the Inn I was staying at drive me from Fowey to Pentewan so that I could also walk the four miles to Porthpean Beach. This is a slightly modified excerpt from my book in which it took me 2.25 hours to do this walk, and little did I know just how many steps I needed to climb in that four miles after having already walked six miles…
Now onto part two of my day…To do the four miles I missed yesterday! Since it was early enough in the day, and it was still a warm, sunny, blue-sky perfect weather day. What a great four miles it was, as the views were spectacular. Although there were many ascents and descents, and one “mix-up” that added to part two of my day.
Matt kindly picked me up in Fowey, and dropped me off in Pentewan at the Ship Inn where Linda and I finished two days ago. I put my purple shoes back on (note that this is a brand-new pair of purple shoes I brought with me, and since I figured I was more than half way done with the entire walk, I decided to change shoes entirely), and started walking. I stopped in the little All Saints Church in Pentewan after walking up a road a short bit. The outside of this church looked more like a regular old stone building than a church because there was no tall bell tower as most churches have. All Saints Church was originally built in 1821, and the town of Pentewan itself, according to the booklet, “Fishing and tin ‘streaming’ (panning for tin ore in streams) had taken place here for centuries before the harbour was built. The harbour was first built in 1744 and redeveloped in 1826, to improve the pilchard fishing facilities and to export china clay…Tin was also mined locally and exported and coal and limestone were imported.”**
The path started flat going around a cow field, and then a sheep field, with the first of the great beautiful views of the Black Head area that was closer to me, and views of the red and white Gibbon Daymark tower way in the distance, which I had passed by earlier today on my way to Fowey. Below me as I walked on top of the hillsides were some small rocky coves with those quiet waves that I could hear gently lapping against the rocks. The hillsides of the few small headlands in this area were painted with light green grass inland, darker green shrubbery on the edges, the brown of the rocks and coves below, the turquoise waters fading to darker blue waters, spotted with the white of sailboats, with the light blue skies, spotted with a few white clouds. Idyllic. So glad I went back to do these four miles!
I had a small uphill to climb, and then walked through some shrubbery. Then I had the first of several other ascents and descents – with steps! This first one, according to the booklet, which I did not verify by counting, was a descent with 106 steps. I noticed some kayakers in the waters below. Then 50 steps up, again not verified by counting. The terrain was then flat again. It was so beautiful warm and sunny out. The sun makes everything so much better! I continued to have more flat walking with some very tall ferns, taller than me, on the path which were blocking some of the views. At one point, there was a clearing of the ferns, and I overlooked a beach. It did not look like this beach was accessible by land, perhaps only by kayak or boat, as other beaches I have seen along the SWCP that seem like this might be the case. The view from here was spectacular of this little deserted beach and cove area just beyond with various shades of brown of the rocks, various shades of green of the hillsides, various shades of the blue skies, and one motorboat speeding by leaving a white line in the various shades of blue waters.
As I walked, the views seemed to get better and better, and they were great to begin with. Sometimes I could see the path ahead of me and the steps I would be climbing. Sometimes I would look behind me to see where I have been, both today, and the headlands of days past. The rolling hillsides, the rocky coastline, and the same colors of turquoises, blues, greens, whites, just all so breathtaking. I went up some more steps, which the booklet didn’t tell me how many steps there were though, and I didn’t count, followed by a gentle uphill without steps. Next was a long descent through a small forest of trees with 100 steps, and a zigzag around this area at the bottom still in the trees, followed by and another climb with more steps to which again the booklet again did not say how many, and again I did not count. Finally, I reached the actual area of Black Head, to which there was a side trail that went out on the headland, but I did not go out there.
A father and son showed up looking like they had just been fishing, as they were carrying fishing poles. I followed them for a bit as they were walking on the SWCP as well. I got to the Ropehaven Cliff Nature Reserve, to which somehow I got a bit turned around in this area. First, I took a left instead of a little downhill, and ended up on a dirt track. I had to back track a short bit once I figured out that mistake. When I got back after the downhill, I completely didn’t see the post at a bench pointing me left. I went downhill to some private house, and had to ask the woman there where the SWCP was since I no longer saw any signs, who said it was back uphill. Ooops. A short unnecessary uphill for the day considering, and then of course I saw the post. All that took about 10 minutes I would say, so I need to add an extra half mile for today’s walk. That was the first time in a long time that I have gotten that “turned around” it seems. The path went out to a road for a bit, with a sign saying one and a quarter miles to Porthpean Beach.
It was flat for a while, and then another yikes, another 170 steps down and 90 steps up out of Silvermine Valley. That was it. I was done. A lot of ups and downs, and nearly 10 miles today at that point. I tallied up all the steps I did, or at least the ones that the booklet told me exactly how many steps there were, as there were more than that total, and I came up with 516 steps. Whew! I descended a gentler grassy slope with views of the beach and the town of Charlestown beyond. I could hear the woman speaking on the bullhorn from here, just as she was doing yesterday during the triathlon, for more Regatta Week events that were happening in Charlestown.
It was relatively flat the rest of the way to Porthpean Beach, a sandy beach safe for families for swimming, windsurfing, and sailing. I hoped I would get mobile reception here to call Matt again. I did, although he could barely hear me, but it was enough for him to know that he could pick me up. That was a lot of ascents and descents in four miles, after my six miles earlier today, but it was worth it, even getting turned around at one point, for the spectacular views of the area, and the great weather!
Matt kindly picked me up and we were back at the Par Inn by almost 5:00, just in time for me to call Mom. I video called with Scott as well, and Matt kindly made me dinner once again. What a nice guy! Both nights were chicken (which I ate again), potato, and salad.
**Quote from the South West Coast Path Association series of directional and map guide booklets called “Exploring the South West Coast Path.” This is part of Walk 41, Mevagissey to Charlestown, written by Dave Westcott.