Monday, 2nd March 2015 (Day 1, Week 9)
Hello, here we are again!
Just a short walk today but more than our fair share of mud I feel! And the hailstones were not pleasant either.
Anyway – some interesting things to talk about.
Target: 1000 miles in one year. Weekly goal 20 miles
Total achieved so far: 176.6 miles (Target: 180 miles)
Achieved this week: 3.3 miles
Cadgwith Cove circular via St Grada Church and the Devil’s Frying Pan (3.3 miles)
Hailstorms had been happening over Porthleven before we left home this morning, but the sky was blue now with just a few clouds. Stepping outside though it was bitterly cold with a freezing wind and before we’d reached the top of the hill out of the village there were black clouds overhead. And this was the way the morning continued. One minute bright sunshine, the next icy rain and gusty winds.
Undeterred, we parked in a lay-by at the top of the hill outside of Cadgwith Cove and walked a few yards back along the road to the stile which leads to the footpath across the fields to the church of St Grada and Holy Cross which we could see ahead. We cast worried glances at each other as we trudged through the water-logged field and approached the next stile – we were sinking ever deeper in the quagmire. Mr RR sensibly went off to look for an alternative route whilst I, determined not to be beaten, slurped my way onwards. Not clever! I was soon stuck ankle deep in the yucky brown stuff. After some serious squelching and tugging I rejoined Mr RR for a little powwow – what to do?
There was nothing for it, we would have to take the boring roadway round the edge of the fields and so off we tramped, slipping and sliding across the field to an open gate. It wasn’t far really, left and left again, and there we were at the lane leading down to the church. We decided to take a little detour down the lane – more mud! – to visit this isolated church. It was originally founded in medieval times but was rebuilt in 1862. However, it’s in a desperate state of repair with an unsafe bell tower and funds badly needed for the roof repairs. Inside, there is no electric lighting but the sun is shining through some beautiful stained glass windows and this allows us to see the 13th century font and the pulpit and lectern carved from local Serpentine rock.
Nicholas Orme’s book ‘The Saints of Cornwall’ tells us that Grade (latinised to Grada) was a Brittonic saint about whom nothing is known. A quick search of the internet does tell us though, that this lovely church was used in 1966 as a location for filming Dr Who!
Leaving the church we made our way back along the muddy lane to the road and headed towards the turn off for the coast path. On the way we noticed that the large duck pond, which is usually hidden by grasses and weeds, has been cleared, although the ducks were shut away in the adjacent hen house – along with the hens, and were making their displeasure with this arrangement known!
As we turned right following the footpath down to the coast, the sun came out and the skies cleared giving us amazing views of coast including The Lizard coastguard station and the lifeboat house.
Out at sea, a glimpse of a gannet and sitting on some rocks below us, what we thought were a pair of cormorants, although we were perplexed by one of them having an unusual tuft of feathers on top of his head. A quick flick through the RSPB bible reveals that this was in fact a pair of shags – the breeding adult has a curly crest on the front of his head. How exciting – never seen one of these before! You can just see them on the edge of the rocks in this picture.
Also along the pathway we see a pretty clump of purple flowers, hidden away beside a bench. These are the common dog-violet which usually flower between April and June according to my book – so these have obviously got confused by the weather.
As we clamber up and over some rocks a glance out to sea tells us that rain is on the way – although just a little further to the right the sun is pushing it’s way through the clouds!
Before we get much further the rain catches up with us and turns to hailstones but we hurry on round the corner towards Cadgwith Cove passing The Devil’s Frying Pan on the way. This 200 feet deep hole was once a cave, the roof having collapsed leaving a bar of rock and an archway through which the waves pound.
It’s raining hard as we head down the pretty shrub lined pathway into Cadgwith Cove itself. Up on the far cliff we can see the Huer’s Hut, from where the lookout could spot the shoals of pilchard and send out his cry for the fishing boats to take to the water.
We remind ourselves to walk the other side of this pretty fishing village soon but don’t hang around as we’re fairly wet now. Up the hill via the pathway through the centre of the valley, passing St Mary’s Church – a little corrugated iron building – and a quick glance back down the hill at the village before we turn onto the road and back to the car.
Associated artwork for Ricketyrambler by Andrew Major: