Minack Theatre to Porthleven

On Thursday 9th August, Colin, Chris and I set out to do a walk with overnight camps from the Minack Theatre. Colin and I had previously walked from Lands End to the Minack so this was a natural progression for us. The plan on day one was to reach Marazion and I set off with some trepidation. It’s a long walk, in excess of 15 miles, and my left knee had been giving me trouble ever since our previous walk, almost two weeks previously. The very beginning of the walk was a stringent test as the climb down to Porthcurno beach from the Minack is tough, especially with a big pack. Things didn’t get much better after that. The path is rough and uneven, with lots of rocks to climb over. There’s even a section at Boskenna where the path descends on to a beach of boulders, forcing us to jump from rock to rock. We’d timed the walk to perfection and the sun beat down on us all the way. By the time we reached Lamorna Cove for lunch, my water bottle was empty and the suntan lotion I’d applied to my face was mostly in my eyes. A cheese omelette and a few cups of tea did much to restore me. Six miles done, rather a lot to go.

Soon after Lamorna Cove, the path rounds the rather insignificant Penzer Point. Insignificant it may be but it does offer the first view of the magnificent Mounts Bay and St. Michael’s Mount. In the distance behind St. Michael’s Mount is Marazion. Looks a long way but that’s because the West half of the bay is still out of sight. In reality, it’s a very long way! The view of Mounts Bay will now be with us until late the next day.

Another couple of miles and we arrive at the lovely fishing village of Mousehole. The coastal path finishes just before it and the descent into the village is along a quiet road. Chris bought us each a bottle of Lucozade at a village store which refuelled the batteries a bit. From here it’s tarmac walking all the way to Marazion. Just outside Mousehole we passed the lifeboat station where the Solomon Browne was stationed until its loss with all twelve hands on 19th December 1981 whilst trying to rescue the crew of the stricken freighter Union Star. It’s humbling to imagine the courage of a lifeboat crew who set out in Hurricane, Force 12 winds and 60 foot waves to help people they would never know. It’s a solemn and emotional place.

After this the walk to Marazion is long and boring. The village of Newlyn comes soon after Mousehole but despite being the largest fishing port in England, there’s not much to see. The walk continues along a pavement through Penzance and then along the coast wall to Marazion. We arrived there at about 1930, tired and hobbling on sore feet. Chris and I quickly found a camping field and set up our tents before meeting Colin in the village for lunch. Total steps: 34,144.

After a poor nights sleep, we met in Marazion for a good fried breakfast and then walked out through the village and rejoined the coast path. Before long it became obvious that Chris was suffering. We overdid it the first day and, with the heaviest load, Chris got blisters. After stopping to check his feet, we decided the best option was for him to catch the bus at the next village, Perranuthnoe. Colin and I then continued towards Porthleven where we arranged to meet Chris again. It was even hotter than the previous day but we were blessed with an Easterly breeze that greeted us on the exit from each little cove. Eventually we reached Cudden Point and wished good-bye to Mounts Bay; our companion for most of the walk. Looking back it it gave a good sense of how far we had walked.

After Cudden Point, it was a picturesque and easy walk into Praa Sands for lunch. We had hoped to meet Chris here but the town was packed and there was no mobile signal. Colin and I eat at “the Sandbar” and then, after restocking with water, continued behind the beach before rejoining the path on the far side of the beach. The path then continued around the impressive Rinsey Head with it’s lonely house perched on the end. This was used as a location for the television series “Jonathan Creek” (must check it out). Atfer the headland, the path passes the beautifully restored Engine House of Wheal Prosper and then, soon after Trewavas Head, Wheal Trewavas.

Walking so far had been easy, with a good path and gentle slopes. We were mindful though that the book described this section as “Moderate then Strenuous”. The strenuous part was suddenly upon us with the path climbing on steps to cliff points and then plunging on more steps into valleys. Tough on the knees at the end of a long day’s walking! Eventually it descended for the last time and we were into Porthleven. After skirting the harbour, we met Chris in the Harbour Inn and enjoyed a few pints and some grub before Suzie arrived to pick us up at about 1900. Distance that day: 27,161 steps. Most of it really beautiful coast.

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