Dramatic cliffs, sheltered bays and picturesque harbours; it is high time I make the most of living by the Cornish coast.
I love Cornwall. I love walking. I love the coast. And yet, there I was, with a shockingly poor knowledge of the Cornish coastline. Like many people, I am terribly biased when it comes to choosing the locations for my walks. West Cornwall was the stretch of coast I grew up with, with Logan Rock, Zennor and spending lazy days on Porthchapel amongst my favourite spots. So when my partner and I decided that we would branch out and explore the rest of Cornwall there was really only one option: start from one end and finish at the other.
In an ideal world, we would dedicate the eight weeks it takes to walk the entire South West Coast Path. With this in mind, we decided that we would get out and complete a stretch as and when we could (covering only the Cornish coast this time round), which makes the goal not only achievable for us but to anyone.
When we set about planning our coastal adventure we decided to find a guide that could help us make the most of each outing. While we love the South West Coast Path website, there are plenty of spots along the coast that offer little to no signal. We turned instead to something a little more old-fashioned in the form of a rather fantastic book by Trailblazer. What makes this book such an invaluable companion is the inclusion of hand-drawn maps, tips on local amenities and things to look out for while walking. We refuse to leave without it and, with this handy little book in tow, we took off for Bude and the start of our Cornish journey.
Looking back on our walks so far, there is one lesson that stands above the rest: be prepared. While this is admittedly borrowed from the Boy Scouts of America it is no less applicable. We learnt this lesson the hard way after a particularly eventful walk along the north coast. The first issue was that of water, in that we completely forgot to bring some. This became a problem after the first slight incline and continued to be a problem until we reached our destination, where we immediately bought two bottles of water and drank them in complete silence and with impressive speed.
The next issue was that of weather. While it was surprisingly warm as we set off, the weather changed at random intervals throughout the walk. This would have been fine if we hadn’t dumped our jumpers and coats in the van after feeling the siren’s rays of the sun telling us the day would be warm and dry.
Of course, good weather is never guaranteed and this should never stop you! Our trip between Crackington Haven and Boscastle was unfortunately under the heavy shroud of thick fog. We had to take the presence of the sea on faith and sound alone. Climbing the highest cliff in the county was a perpetual affair of always having a little further to go with the seemingly unreachable top hidden in mist. But please, don’t be put off by the prospect of poor weather! The days consisting of fog, rain and, yes, occasionally hail, were often the most fondly remembered!
Of course, standing on a Cornish cliff, with the sun above and the absurdly blue sea in front is the ultimate feeling of Cornish ecstasy. And as much as you want to reach your destination in good time, pausing to take stock of the scenery and the incredible place in which we live is unavoidable and most definitely encouraged. We have only just begun this amazing journey along the South West Coast Path and I cannot wait to walk the next stretch. Feel inspired? Grab your walking boots and we will see you out on the cliffs!
South West Coast Path