Saturday 28th February 2015, (Day 6, week 8)
I hope you’re all enjoying the weekend.
Mr RR and I took another trek out along the coast path from St Ives today, this time carrying on along past Pen Enys Point and Trevega Cliff before turning inland and following the footpaths through farmland back to St Ives. The walk was taken from ‘Walkingworld.com’ – a website all about walking with some great treks (there is a small subscription).
Target: 1000 miles in one year. Weekly goal 20 miles.
Total achieved so far: 170.3 miles (target 160 miles)
Achieved this week: 20 miles
St Ives circular via Pen Enys Point, Trevega Cliff and Trowan (7.9 miles)
We came without gaiters today, just walking boots and waterproof trousers (my fault – I left them out in the rain and they were soggy!). Big mistake……if ever there was a walk requiring protection from the mud, this was it!!
St Ives was cloudy today but with that silvery green light that only St Ives has; the horizon so hazy you could barely see where the sea and sky met. Calm in the harbour, choppy along the rugged coast, but not cold, just a bit breezy at times.
We walked along the front and followed the road past Smeaton’s Pier and up over to the Tate St Ives Gallery. Surfers were finding good waves off Porthmeor Beach and children, well wrapped, were playing in the sand. The coast path passes the putting green before the view opens out towards Clodgey Point. Looking back at St Ives the tumble of houses are bathed in that unique light.
Last time we came this way, we were mesmerised by the hundreds of gannets (a Gannetry of Gannets!) all swooping and diving out to sea. Today we see one or two only. Maybe they are just difficult to see in the misty distance, or maybe they’ve moved on to better fishing grounds.
The path now becomes rocky and very muddy, at times we are wading through streams cascading down to the sea below. At one point a boardwalk has thoughtfully been provided over a swamp, but most of the time we’re walking through water and mud. It is indeed a scramble of a ramble.
As we clamber up one particularly steep rocky outcrop, I think to myself that this probably wasn’t what my physio had in mind when he said, to a rickety middle aged woman with two dodgy shoulders, that she should start walking!
We’re practically alone on this part of the coast, we pass only two other walkers taking a break at an improbably placed picnic table. To our left, the land is wild, almost desolate, treeless and covered in bracken. On our right is the sea, far below, pounding the rocks. But the views are incredible. Scrambling up another photo opportunity (‘steep hill’ in RR speak) we ponder the absence of birds. Aside from the gulls, a couple of buzzards circling over the cliffs and a cormorant or two on the sea, we don’t see or hear any birdlife. No food here perhaps, or no shelter, or just taking a day off and huddling safe in their roosts. Who knows?
At last ahead of us we see the disused mine that tells us we’re nearing the point to turn inland, first passing a stone circle known as the Merry Harvesters on our left. The myth is that these stones were once 13 old farmers and one maiden from St Ives caught by a local magistrate dancing an ancient fertility rite. He immediately turned them all to stone.
Just past the mine we climb a stile and turn inland.
From here on we’re walking across grassy fields, through gateways surrounded by mud baths and over innumerable stone stiles. My walking guide calls these stiles ‘pestilential’, a word I have had to look up. As I thought, it means ‘plaguelike, virulent, epidemic and contagious’. Not quite the right word for these but I know what he means! A pest is a thing that annoys by imposing itself when it is not wanted and these steep, irregular granite obstacles are certainly that. We must have crossed about 20 of them, some with a complicated gate structure seemingly designed to increase the struggle to ascend or descend.
Finally, exhausted, we find the road back down into St Ives, just as the rain starts to fall. A short diversion to pick up some lunch and we’re back at the car, where we gingerly pull off the mud encrusted boots before heading home.
Associated artwork for Ricketyrambler by Andrew Major: