Day 304 St Just Mining District World Heritage Site and Cape Cornwall

Saturday 4 June 2016

Zennor to St Just

13 miles

Cot Valley Youth Hostel (camping)

Mary made me some lovely scrambled eggs with cream and her neighbour’s fresh eggs. 

looking back at Zennor Head
at every turn the rock formations are amazing
It was a hot day again; sunny and still. As yesterday the scenery was amazing, with a perfectly clear sea and large, rounded rocks studding the cliffs. The rocks made it a tough walk as you constantly have to adjust your footing and scramble over ankle-breakers. I enjoyed it, although by the end of the day the terrain and the heat were taking their toll. 

walking towards Gurnard’s Head
Pendour Cove
Gurnard’s Head stuck out enough to be visible all the way along the coast as far as Pendeen. 

Gurnard’s Head
the view along the coast towards Pendeen Watch
It seemed to take me ages to get barely a couple of miles to Porthmeor Cove. Walking around it I spied a pool in the rocks that a family had been swimming in. There was no one else around so I took the opportunity to clamber carefully down the cliff (leaving my rucksack behind) and go for a dip. The water was lovely, and I didn’t bother with a swimming costume, anyone looking would have just seen my lily-white shorty wetsuit with matching ankle boots!

the rock pool at Porthmeor Cove…
…big enough to swim in and so clear
There were lots of rugged little coves, mostly inaccessible and all very beautiful and unspoilt. 

the sea was such a beautiful colour
Pendeen Lighthouse
Around Pendeen Watch, with its lighthouse, the St Just Mining District comes into view. There are lots of abandoned mine workings that are now part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Mining is believed to have started in this area as long ago as 5000BC, but the visible mine workings were mostly built in the 19th Century. 

Geevor Tin Mine; a scar on the cliff
Geevor Tin Mine is the largest preserved mining site in the UK, it closed in 1990. It is open to visitors 6 days a week (closed on Saturdays). To me it looked like a huge man-made scar on the landscape; functional rather than beautiful. 

Levant Mine
The whole area is littered with mines and right next to Geevor Mine is Levant Mine, with its restored beam engine houses that still steam (not on Saturdays). Copper and tin were extracted from up to a mile out to sea and 500m underground. Amazing to thing all this was dug between 1835 and 1930. 

Kenidjack Valley, complete with ruined mine
Probably the most dramatically situated were the Crowns engine houses of the Botallack Mine, low on the cliff, sticking out. 

The Crowns Engine Houses, Botallack Mine
I arrived at Cape Cornwall, a promontary with a hill, a tiny ruined chapel at the bottom and a chimney stack on the top, built to serve the Cape Cornwall Mine. It is the point where the waters from the Irish Sea, the English Channel, and the Atlantic Ocean all meet and churn around, making for some great stormy winter seas. 

Cape Cornwall, The Brisons in the background
I have officially completed the Cape-to-Cape, Wrath to Cornwall. 

standing atop Cape Cornwall, Land’s End behind me
Before I climbed up the hill and stood on Cape Cornwall I spied the refreshment van and sat down for a much needed mug of tea and slice of cake. It had been a hard walk today. 

the Cot Valley
I still had a couple of miles to go. I had already crossed the Kenidjack Valley and had to walk up the Cot Valley to the youth hostel. Both these valleys are overgrown with trees and plants so their rivers are barely visible. They used to be full of mine workings, but now are full of birds enjoying the tranquility. 

another beautiful beach, this one next to Pendeen Watch
There was no room in the youth hostel so I camped in the garden. I walked the extra mile or so into St Just for dinner in the King’s Arms. 

St Just is a granite town founded on mining in the heart of West Penwith. It is surrounded by moorland that is dotted with stone circles, quoits and hill forts; the Romans and the Saxons never really made it this far and West Penwith remains Celtic. 

It had been a lovely day and I slept well. 

stunning views, along the coast and inland as well

8 thoughts on “Day 304 St Just Mining District World Heritage Site and Cape Cornwall

  1. Chris Frazer June 7, 2016 / 8:05 pm

    Glorious views and equally glorious weather….all the ingredients for skinny dipping! Lily white shorty…..uhhhhm really Juice everybody carries one in their day sack just in case……don’t they? NOT!!!!

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  2. jstumm June 7, 2016 / 8:07 pm

    the sea looks lovely, and I am glad to hear you were skinny dipping!

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  3. npbm42 June 7, 2016 / 9:30 pm

    Lucy – very envious of this stretch of walk in particular – I grew up in Cornwall and my Mum is still in Truro, so know those bits of coast quite well. I hope your walk is going to include the Scilles – my favourite place in the whole world, and get over there a couple of times a year. A walk around the UK wouldn’t be complete without it ! Some stunning walks around the 5 main inhabited Islands and, if you time it right for big Spring tides, you can walk between St Martins, Tresco and Bryher. Detail all available on visitscilly.com – but happy to advise if you do plan to get over and want any further info.

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    • Lucy June 8, 2016 / 10:59 am

      Hi Nigel. Cornwall has been beautiful so far. Apt you should message me as I caught the ferry to Scillies yesterday. Had no plans but ended up camping on St Martin’s. hired a kayak today and paddled to Bryher. Thinking I’ll go to Tresco tomorrow and hopefully St Agnes on Friday. Not sure about my timing for Spring Tides – I shall ask. Such a wonderful, relaxing place. Unfortunately I think I will have to leave on Saturday and carry on walking but I think I could quite stay here for longer!

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      • npbm42 June 8, 2016 / 10:49 pm

        Lucy – delighted you made it over ! Scilly is just the most gorgeous place. Am back over for a week at the end of Aug with elder daughter and my walking companion – my 16 month old Black Lab ! St Agnes is my favourite Island – unspoilt and rugged – and the Turks Head probably (IMHO !) the best pub in the world, although the Seven Stones on St Martins is up there too ! If you get over to Agnes say hi to Nikki who runs the pub ! Tresco is pretty and worth a visit, but (again IMHO) over manicured, expensive, exclusive and a bit fond of itself ! If you have time on St Mary’s before you go on Saturday, the walk around the Garrison is good – or the path from Old Town to Porthcressa, around Penninis Head and the lighthouse. Alternatively – Island Sea Safaris, run by friends of ours, Mark and Susie Groves, do a great RIB tour around the Islands. Enjoy, and I look forward to reading the Scilly blogs !

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  4. James Sawyer June 8, 2016 / 8:03 am

    Hi Lucy

    I’m enthralled by your activity and the pics of where you’ve been. When you will be reaching the end of the trail? Until then, please keep the mails coming in. Take care and God bless.

    Jim Sawyer

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  5. Val K June 8, 2016 / 9:46 am

    Well Luc once again the most stunning photos, it just gets better and better. I never took you
    for a skinny dipper, underestermating you once again. You seem to be so enjoying this
    stretch may it continue. Val x

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  6. Spike June 8, 2016 / 5:03 pm

    Juice, I am loving the colour of the sea and that rock pool is just superb. Just think, you can see Lands End and after that its the big push for home!!!! Keep it up you are doing so well. XxX

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