Day 320 Halfway Point on the SW Coast Path and the Helford River

Monday 20 June 2016

Coverack to Helford Passage

12 miles

Wendy and Brian’s house, Falmouth

Coverack’s harbour
It was still raining when I left the youth hostel but it was easing. Still, it was a wet and slippery walk over rocks, through mud and undergrowth as I made my way to Lowland Point. I had to negotiate not only the terrain but also find a way past the cows and ponies. 

looking back towards Coverack from Lowland Point
Just around the point I found myself along a section with small towns and Gabbro rock quarries. As a consequence the path weaved inland around Manacle Point, near The Manacles, the cause of too many shipwrecks. 

Dean Quarry
Godrevy Cove and “Shark’s Fin” rock at Manacle Point
There was a very steep road descent into, and ascent out of, Porthoustock. A tiny village tucked in the hillside. 

As I walked along the tiny country roads it began to dry up a little, although it remained damp and very muggy. I saw a sign for Fat Apples Cafe so thought I ought to investigate and dry out a bit over a coffee. The owner took pity on my soggy state and gave me an extra large slice of cake. 

Porthallow beach
It was only a short walk down the hill into Porthallow. I was surprised to find a marker highlighting this town as the official mid-point of the SW Coast Path. 

6 weeks to get halfway (was supposed to take 4 but I kept stopping)
Rounding Nare Point all of a sudden the Helford River and the coast around Falmouth Bay came into view. There were boats everywhere, particularly sail boats. 

walking to Nare Point
I stopped at the Coast Watch Station on Nare Point. There were 8 big tankers visible, all ‘bunkering’ between Falmouth and Lizard. Apparently lots will remain at anchor for a while, awaiting orders. 

Nare Point Coast Watch
During WW2, Nare Point was transformed into a “fake Falmouth” by Ealing Film Studios. I couldn’t see any obvious bomb craters so I don’t know whether it worked or not. 

a small cove around Gillan Harbour
I made it to Gillan Harbour an hour after low tide and just about got across the stepping stones, which were mostly at water level and very sloppy. It saved a 2 mile walk around the roads, or alternatively a paddle. 
slippery stepping stones across Gillan Harbour at low tide
St Anthony-in-Meneage seemed like it might be the first of many quaint little ‘boaty’ villages. There was a nice walk around Dennis Head, with great views on the right day. 

St Anthony-in-Meneage
looking back up the creek at Gillan
Helford was incredibly picturesque. There seem to be quite a lot of thatched cottages on this side of Cornwall, and Helford was no exception. Such a beautiful village means lots of tourists. 

I popped into the excellent village stores and bought a delicious homemade flapjack, then walked to the quayside and opened the wooden sign that signals the ferry boatman. 

the Helford River ferry arriving to pick me up
Overhead views of the Helford River look rather spectacular, but I had no intention of walking around every creek in South Cornwall. I like ferries. 

lookin across Gillan Harbour from Dennis Head
As there was no accommodation anywhere nearby I had already decided the best option was to catch the bus to Falmouth. Here I was invited to stay with Wendy and Brian. Luckily for me they were happy to put up with me for 2 nights. 

a lovely little beach just before Helford
Unfortunately I had misread the bus timetable and thought there was a 3.15 bus to Falmouth, I missed the small print that this bus only runs in school holidays. So, I alighted the ferry at Helford Passage, walked straight past The Ferryboat Inn (which I’m told is really nice) and bust a gut to get up  a very steep hill in double quick time. It was only when I was sweating at the top that I realised my error and had to wait 1 hour 15 minutes for the next bus. I wished I’d spent that spare time in the pub!

approaching Helford, so many boats!
the view across the Helford River to Helford Passage
I had a lovely evening with Wendy and Brian, and got to wash all my kit. Bliss. 
a beautiful campsite right by St Anthony-in-Meneage

One thought on “Day 320 Halfway Point on the SW Coast Path and the Helford River

  1. Chris Frazer June 22, 2016 / 9:10 pm

    Skinny lady in Fat Apples Cafe…..sounds like a book title!! More lovely pics of a very picturesque part of our coast…….finally when reading difficult bus timetables if in doubt go to the pub! Spike wrote that rule!!


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