Coast Path – Fowey to Pentewan

After a long break from Coast-Path walking, Colin Kelly and I set off from Fowey at 1045 and headed West. No particular goal was in mind but Colin thought it would be good to reach Charlestown. The first section to Gribben Head was easy walking and a persuasive National Trust volunteer talked us into climbing the tower. I hate heights but the confined space on the winding staircase seemed to nullify the effect. The last bit of the climb was on a wooden ladder and even this caused me no problems. The view from the top was great and layed out the challenge ahead of us.

After Gribben Head the path turned North we headed into St Austell Bay. A few miles later we reached Polkerris. A lovely sheltered cove, complete with a pub on the beach! Skirting temptation, we walked around the back of the pub and followed the path towards Par. Things soon got complicated as the path leaves the coast at Par Sands and heads inland to circumvent the China Clay works and dock. A horrible blot on any landscape! After a couple of minor errors we found out way into Par itself and from there back to the coast on the far side of the works. Now the path became easy again and took us across Carlyon Bay Golf Course. To our left was the remains of the old Cornwall Coliseum, derelict since 1991 when Plymouth Pavillions took its business. A short walk from here we reached Charlestown at 1430 and a well earned pub lunch in the Rashleigh Arms. Burger and Chips all round and a nice pint of ale. Distance to here was about 11 miles and my feet were hurting and my left knee a bit stiff.

After lunch I felt revived and we decided to push on a bit further. Initially the path was easy walking but after passing Porthpean Beach things got a bit more strenuous with some deep valleys and the inevitable climbs on the other side. At Gerrans Point we made a brief stop and phoned Suzie and arranged to be picked up at Pentewan, about 3.25 miles further on. Now things went a bit wrong! We followed the path to Black Head but decided not to take the fork that took us right out on to the point. After this the path deteriorated and became narrow, muddy and overgrown with stinging nettles. Eventually we emerged on to a lane at Trenarren and were faced with a choice of left and down or right and up. After consulting the map, we opted for right. The lane meandered up the hill and on each bend we hoped to find the Coast Path branching to the left. It didn’t happen. Instead Colin suddenly stopped and announced “we’ve been here”. The lane had taken us back to a point on the Path we’d done an hour previously! We’d obviously gone wrong. It didn’t become clear until I consulted Google Earth that our error became clear. In electing to bypass the fork to Black Head, we’d picked up a bridle path instead of the Coast Path.

Back on track again, we embarked on the last leg of the walk into Pentewan. It was another hard section with a deep valley and climb before levelling out and finally dropping down into the village. With sore feet and aching legs, we made our way to the far side of the village where Suzie was waiting outside the Seahorse Centre. Total distance was about 16 Miles and the step counter recorded 39464 steps. I’m writing this the next morning and still struggling to get up and down the stairs. It was a tough walk and just a step too far.

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