South West Coast Path: Boscastle to Port Gaverne

In which: there are more ups and downs and ups and downs ● puffins have perished ● a rocky valley is a delight ● Tintagel modern and ancient looms large ● quarries add to the landscape ● Trebarwith Strand provides a traditional seaside Sunday lunch ● a rock fall necessitates a diversion ● Trewetha hosts an Ashes thriller

Date: 25 August 2013
Time of walk: 0905 to 1720
Today’s walking: 22.3 km
Progress along SWCP: 21.4 km
Estimated ascent: 1290 metres

I went out to the shop to re-provision but found that while it was open, their bread hadn’t yet been baked, so I waited for a while, had breakfast, and then went back to the shop to get my supplies for the day.

Leaving Boscastle along the other side of the harbour
A fishing boat making the rounds near the island of Meachard just outside Boscastle Harbour
The lookout station on Willapark – situated within the fort dating from around 200 BC.
The view from Willapark looking back to the entrance to Boscastle Harbour
Ahead from Willapark, cliff-top walking
Long Island and Short Island (centre) were until recently the home to the largest colony of puffins in Cornwall, but rats gained access to the islands and the colonies were destroyed.
The next interlude was a descent into and ascent out of Rocky Valley – as a concept, so far, so familiar, but this proved to be a particularly delightful valley and a joy to visit, well worth the effort of the down and up.
Walking along Rocky Valley, about to regain some height.
Looking back into Rocky Valley from the western side. After this, it was a visit to another Willapark, another ancient fort on a headland, where the boundary mounds and ditches across the neck of the peninsula were still very clear.
Approaching Tintangel, with the huge hotel which has loomed large on the horizon for the best part of a day, with Tintagel Island to the right.
From Barras Nose, looking to The Island with elements of Tintangel Castle visible.
The narrow neck which links The Island with the mainland, and provides the entrance to the castle. I looked briefly round the shop and café but it was heaving with people and I climbed up onto the next headland where it was quieter with more views of the castle and had a short rest and a drink.
A remarkable stone pillar is a hint of how much of the cliff has been taken away in the quarrying operations here at Lanterdan quarry
More old quarrying remains

From here I descended to Trebarwith Strand where I got an ice-cold drink and some freshly made doughnuts for my Sunday lunch – delicious, and helped power me up the long steep slope away from the beach.

Looking down on the beach and hamlet of Trebarwith Strand from near the top of the ascent.
Somewhat demoralisingly, at the top of that ascent from Trebarwith Strand onto Dennis Point, the view that greets me is a descent to Backways Cove and another ascent to Start Point.
However, after that we are on Treligga Cliff and it is fairly level for quite a way, with fine views extending round to Pentire Point where I will reach tomorrow afternoon.
From Jacket’s Point there is another descent and ascent
This one has seen some erosion – note the wooden boards forming the steps disappearing over the new cliff edge upper right
A look down at where the path used to go

From this ascent, I descended again to streams and reascended to the next headland – four more times, making seven valleys crossed this afternoon since Trebarwith Strand. This is why this section of the path is labelled “severe” on the South West Coast Path Assocation’s website.

Port Isaac ahead and the day’s walking is nearing an end.
A final descent brings me to the beach at Port Gaverne, but my booked accommodation is up a long final hill at Trewetha.

At the farm I am greeted warmly and shown to my very comfortable room. I am zonked after three hard days’ walking, and lie on the bed listening to the final day of the fifth test in the Ashes, where Australia had made a very sporting declaration leaving England to get 227 in 40 overs – the type of declaration that seems to happen so rarely in test cricket, but one which gave both England and Australia chance of victory where earlier in the day it seemed certain to be a draw. England played fairly positively but in the end fell 21 runs short.

Despite my rest while listening to the cricket, I was still very tired, and I decided that I couldn’t face another walk down the hill into Port Isaac and another back again for some food, so made do with a few odds and ends I had in my bag and turned in early.

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