Monday 20 June 2016
Coverack to Helford Passage
Wendy and Brian’s house, Falmouth
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
I had a lovely evening with Wendy and Brian, and got to wash all my kit. Bliss.