Monday, 13th April 2015 (Day 1, week 15)
Aiming for 1000 miles in a year
Total so far 290.5 miles (5.3 miles this week)
It was foggy today, very foggy. A new walk for us, from Predannack which is just along from Mullion Cove on the Lizard, to Kynance and back across the heathland. An excellent walk, taken from a website called iWalkCornwall (http://www.iwalkcornwall.co.uk). Easy to follow instructions – though probably even easier if we could see where we were heading through the mist!
Predannack circular via Kynance Cove (5.3 miles)
We start at the National Trust car park and follow our instructions to the coast path. It’s cold and damp in the mist and there’s a stiff breeze blowing but rain isn’t forecast and we’re optimistic that the sun will burn off the fog and all will be sunshiny soon. Our information sheet tells us that Predannack was first recorded as a settlement in 1196 and during mediaeval times the land was owned by the Robartes family of Lanhydrock. It’s Natural England managed land here now, a Nature Reserve with 250 internationally important species.
Visibility is limited so there aren’t any views ahead. That makes you look at things closer to hand and we start to notice all the lichen on the trees around us, especially on the hawthorn. It’s fascinating stuff, but not easy to identify without close up pictures to compare – I need a lichen identification book probably as I find it really difficult to do via the internet.
We’re surrounded by hawthorn and gorse as we make our way forwards and turn left onto the coast path. And here, everything becomes strangely eerie. To our left the cliff tops are grassy, stony scrubland and there is only the sound of birdsong. To our right, it looks like someone is holding up a white sheet, we can see nothing of the sea which we can hear far below us pounding on the rocks. Ahead, booming out of the mist is the deep sonorous warning of the Lizard foghorn.
The path is not clear cut and we wander a bit, trying to stay well clear of the cliff tops. We carry on through gates, over stiles and crossing streams peering through the mist for the landmarks mentioned to ensure that we’re staying on the right path. Eventually reaching the stony climb down to the strangely named Soapy Cove we stumble and scramble our way to the bottom and across a stream before climbing uphill again to the top of the cliffs.
Research tells me that Soapy Cove (Gew Graze) is the site of a disused soapstone quarry. It’s a dramatic inlet which we can glimpse as the mist briefly clears.
We’re on the path to Kynance Cove now, and there’s evidence that the sun is trying to break through, a glimmer on the horizon. Peering over the cliff tops we can see pairs of Kittiwakes, nesting on ledges.
Suddenly, out of the fog to our left, a huge bird flies across us, at first we think it’s a buzzard – but no, it’s a raven. We watch it land on a rocky outcrop and sit there waiting for us to move on. We stay until it takes off over the cliff and then two more appear overhead. A Conspiracy of Ravens!
To our delight, one of them lands just ahead, its spotted a tasty morsel, a lizard maybe or a frog. It stays there, pulling and tugging whilst we watch and then helps itself to a quick drink from a stream before flying away.
Soon after this treat, we leave the coast path, deciding that it’s too far downhill to stop for a cup of tea at the Kynance Cove cafe. We turn inland and make our way across fields and along bridle ways through the heath land.
The fog is clearing at last and we can see Predannack Airfield in the distance with its display of derelict aircraft looking quite bizarre on the horizon. They’re used for rescue training now by RNAS Culdrose although when it opened in 1941, RAF Predannack was a satellite airfield for RAF Portreath.
It’s heathland all the way back to the car now. Skylarks are singing from their nests, hidden in the long grass and scrub here and we see them swooping and diving overhead. We also see a robin with odd facial markings and we debate whether it is in fact a robin, or maybe a redstart. Mr RR is unconvinced – so a robin it is. Well, at least we saw the Ravens…
I’m currently working on new pages for birds and flowers I see on our walks. Until then –
Birds we saw today:
Ravens, kittiwakes, stonechats, skylarks, robin, meadow pipits.
Flowers we saw today:
Daisies and buttercups, sea campion,
hawthornBlackthorn blossom and gorse.
Update: This is definitely blackthorn not hawthorn (thanks Ms F). Blackthorn blossom appears in March before the leaves emerge – hawthorn blossom appears alongside the leaves.
Blackthorn is, of course, responsible for producing Sloe berries – which reminds me – a very nice person gave us homemade Sloe Gin for Christmas and we still have some left!!
Associated artwork for Ricketyrambler by Mr RR: