If you wanted to, it is possible to walk along the coast from Minehead in Somerset to Poole in Dorset, a distance of over six hundred miles. This is the South West Coast path, parts of which are very old. In the eighteenth century the Revenue and Customs men, who protected the Kingdom from the losses of smuggling, needed access to remote coves and inlets and their paths have since been joined together to make a continuous way. We have covered a fair bit of the path in Cornwall over numerous visits.
One of our bases for exploring the coast to the east and west of it, is Looe. For an account of the traumatic events associated with our visit to Looe look here, elsewhere on this site.
Looe harbour at full tide.
From Looe there is a really good walk along the coast to Polperro. A view looking back towards Looe and St George's Island. On the horizon is Rame Head behind which is the Tamar and Plymouth.
Talland Bay looking west...
The lovely fishing village of Polperro, tucked into its wooded valley.
A view west on a walk from Polruan back to Polperro. On the horizon is the Lizard Peninsula, the most southerly point on mainland Britain.
A gentle walk east of Looe brings you to the village of Seaton, where geography teachers can give a good lesson on longshore drift and spits.
Penzance is an excellent base for the SW Coastal Path because it gives access to the north and south coast as well as the Scillies. The very old metamorphic rocks contain valuable minerals creating an interesting old industrial landscape, their hardness leads to steep cliffs and rugged outcrops and when the seas are high this combination can produce dramatic images.
Penzance from across the bay.
Leaving Penzance harbour in the early morning,
The small fishing village of Mousehole
As we walked towards Mousehole we could see the small white boat fishing just off the shore. Later the same little boat came into the harbour where his catch, sea bass is being taken off in a white van to some hotel. Our hopes of a bit of quayside bartering were dashed!
The Longships Lighthouse just over a mile off Landsend.
This is the literal "land's end."
A view back to the Longship Lighthouse from the path towards Porthcurno Bay.
Logan Rock which protects Porthcurno Bay from the east.
Porthcurno Bay in a strong sou'westerly.
This a site that is significant in the history of telecommunications. It was here that the first overseas telephone cable came ashore in 1870 linking Britain to its Indian colony.
View from the Scillonian as she prepares to leave Penzance at dawn.
Hughtown, St Mary,s Scilly, with the Scillonian waiting at the quay.
On the Scilly Isles.
This is Porthleven a small south Cornish fishing village. This small settlement took quite a battering during the storms of 2014. A video showing the sea in an entirely different mood can be found here.
We walked to Porthleven from Marazion...
...along a rugged cliff top. Traces of a more industrial past are evident.
During the 2014 storms, some boats were smashed here, even though this is the inner harbour. Where possible the more manageable boats were dragged out on to the land.
There is something compelling about a rough sea. During the 2014 storms people drove miles to places like Porthleven to watch.
The north Cornish coast is more exposed than the south and in general the waves are more dramatic here.
From the village of St Just a pleasant valley leads one down to the sea with a view of The Brisons. From here you can turn left and walk to Landsend or right towards St Ives or, for the less energetic, to some closer village where the bus back to Penzance can be picked up.
Turning right leads you through a former tin mining area, the evidence of which only adds to the drama of the scenery.
These towers supported a large beam engine which was necessary to keep the mine shafts, which went deep below sea level,, pumped dry.
This is Cape Cornwall.
St Ives is a place that looks just as attractive at low tide...
St Ives beach and Porthminster Point
St Ives is in a very sheltered location and although it looks a haven of calm, just round the headland to the west, the sea rolls on...