Friday 24 June 2016
Boswinger to Carlyon Bay, St Austell
Carlyon Bay Campsite
It was raining this morning and everyone was glued to the television watching the results of the EU Referendum over breakfast. The rain fitted my mood. I found it very hard to motivate myself to walk today.
I set off as the rain eased at about 9.30am. There was no one about as I headed along to Dodman Point. The grey mist was starting to burn off and the views from Dodman Point covered such a wide area, possibly from Lizard to the Devon border. The Dodman Cross dominated the Point and was erected in 1896 “in the firm hope of the second coming of Jesus Christ”. I thought that might be a good thing today.
The Dodman Point promontary seemed like a good site for an Iron Age fort and remnants of the ditch surrounding it were still visible.
Approaching Gorran Haven the sea suddenly took on an amazing bright blue hue. It looked incredible.
Gorran Haven was quite large but seemed rather small as it had tiny streets and a small water frontage with not much beach. Some big houses on the edges though.
I headed straight through Gorran Haven, around the small headland at Turbot Point and into Mevagissey Bay. Chapel Point looked rather splendid, and rather Mediterranean, with its whitewashed chapel and buildings.
Portmellon blended into Mevagissey, not even the cliff top between them really separating them anymore. Portmellon seemed to have newer, bigger houses and Mevagissey was the quaint fishing town. It was also a tourist Mecca.
I wandered around the narrow streets and the harbour, trying to weave in and out of all the tourists. I popped into the museum, which had some interesting exhibits about life in the town through the ages. I found a cafe that wasn’t too busy and stopped for a break. The Lost Gardens of Heligan were only a couple of miles inland but I didn’t have the time (or the inclination today) to visit.
It was 3 o’clock before I left Mevagissey and I had quite a way still to go. The weather was strange: hot and sunny one minute and then sharp showers the next.
I was pleased to leave the hubbub of Mevagissey and continue around, past the huge caravan park that dominated Pentewan Beach, and around to Black Head. The Pentewan Valley walk looked nice, heading inland through the woods.
There was quite a bit of up and down as I made my way around Black Head, through muddy woods, and on to Porthpean and Charlestown.
I was on the outskirts of St Austell (pronounced “Snarzell” in Cornish). For a while now I’d been able to see the large sprawl of houses and the large ‘white pyramids’ of China clay that dominated the view inland.
The cliffs here had lots of trees on the top and weaved in and out, rather than up and down. There were a few small beaches, like the one at Porthpean.
Charlestown had an old, small, harbour, the entrance to which was once protected by the Crinnis Cliff Battery. Charles Rashleigh had built the battery in 1793 to protect the new Charlestown Harbour. It seemed suspended in time as the only ships in it were old schooners that might have belonged to the Charlestown Shipwreck and Heritage Centre.
It was almost 6pm when I made it to Carlyon Bay and the campsite just beyond the railway line. It was hot and sunny when I pitched so I headed straight back to the beach for a quick dip. A significant amount of money was being spent to build facilities at the back of the beach but, in the meantime, there were a couple of pop-up cafes in the middle of the beach. A quick swim followed by dressed crab and a beer on the beach, almost perfect on any other day.
I had only just made it back to the campsite when another heavy shower came overhead. Good timing. Fortunately there was a covered area where I could sit while I did some laundry and then settled for an early night as heavy rain set in.