Merry Maidens and Pebble Hopping

Sunday, 19th April 2015 (Day 7, week 15)

Aiming to walk 1000 miles in a year

Total so far: 305.4 miles (20.2 miles this week)


Hello

Lovely day today…..lovely walk as well.  Another one from the iwalkCornwall website (www.iwalkCornwall.co.uk ). It was tough but had all you could want ….stone circles, rock climbing, pebble hopping (!), birds, flowers, reptiles, sea views, coastal paths, woodland, and farmland with fenced in cows.

It lacked only a tea room half way round….never mind, we found the lovely Lamorna Pottery on the way home and had a cream tea in the garden – scrumptious!

Enjoy

Rickety


Lamorna circular via St Loy (5.3 miles)

We start at the centre of a stone circle known as the Merry Maidens just outside of Lamorna.

The Merry Maidens, Lamorna
The Merry Maidens, Lamorna

The myth is that 19 maidens were turned to stone for dancing on a Sunday. Unfortunately, some mid 19th century reconstruction resulted in removal of some of the original stones and the addition of some others.  There may have been only 18 originally – so one maiden obviously lived to dance another day!

We cross the field and follow a lane, a bridleway and a road down into Lamorna Cove spotting a pair of jays up in the trees on the way.  The road itself runs alongside a pretty stream which tumbles along a valley floor to our left.  On the way down, we stop to wonder at the nerve required to reverse a car in or out of this garage perched perilously close to the edge of the sheer drop:DSCF1099

Lamorna itself, despite having been, since the 1890s, a thriving artist community, is not the prettiest of places, the cove itself being surrounded by enormous piles of rock and infilled with concrete.

Lamorna
Lamorna

We’re heading for the coast path and walk quickly along the concrete quay looking for the waymark post. What we find is a mountain with yellow arrows painted on the rocks.  The only way is up, and up, and up some more, grasping onto to rocky ledges and finding tiny footholds between boulders.  It’s scary! I try not to think about my ricketiness! We round a corner and are faced with more of the same, except now there’s a sheer drop to the sea on one side.  Mr RR is not happy and makes it known – he doesn’t like it at all.  I don’t like it one little bit either – but no way am I turning round and trying to get back down so I keep quiet in the hope that a calm demeanour will get us both to the top in one piece.  It takes forever….but we make it, already swearing that this is the first and last time.DSCF1104 DSCF1105

Mr RR taking a breather at the top!
Mr RR taking a breather at the top!

Now its a long trek along the coast path to St Loy.  It’s narrow but not so scary and I distract myself by trying to name all the wildflowers I can see – I’m getting good! There’s sea campion, thrift or sea pinks, spring squill, bluebells, narcissi, and lots more. There’s gorse of course, as well, smelling sweetly along this path.

Sea Pinks (Thrift)
Sea Pinks (Thrift)
Billiant White Narcissi
Billiant White Narcissi
Three-cornered garlic
Three-cornered garlic

As I’m dreaming on, lost in my little world of wild flowers, Mr RR shouts “stop”! and points to the ground. I’m too surprised and too close behind him to see – but he has spotted an adder slithering across the path and into the undergrowth.  A little further along and we disturb a common lizard, which was sunbathing on the rocks.  There is access to the Derek and Jean Tangye Wildlife Sanctuary here, a large expanse of untamed land called Oliver’s Land after the Tangye’s cat and we pass the Tater Du lighthouse, built in 1965 following the capsizing of a Spanish coaster with the loss of 11 lives.

Tater Du lighthouse
Tater Du lighthouse

Now we’re on the descent into St Loy, through pretty woodland lined with emerging bluebells and ferns.DSCF1127

I love to see the ferns unfurling!
I love to see the ferns unfurling!

And finally we’re on the boulder strewn beach of St Loy.  Our instructions tell us that we should ‘carefully make our way along the beach, hopping from boulder to boulder’!  I really do defy anyone to ‘hop’ on this beach.  It’s tough going clambering from rock to rock, some of them unsteady, and takes us some time to progress the short distance to the way marked path.

St Loy - no hopping for me here, although someone has managed to create an art installation!
St Loy – no hopping for me here, although someone has managed to create an art installation!

Gratefully leaving this beach behind we head up a path beside a pretty stream and across a  footbridge.DSCF1133

And then it’s more climbing up and up although this time it’s not such hard going, with some steps in place and surrounded by beautiful woodland and gardens.  Still, we’re glad to reach the top and after a brief stop for Mr RR to indulge himself with some experimental tree hugging (calming he said) we make our way along a track.  Sadly – (or not), we miss a  turning across the fields (full of cows) and emerge from the lane onto a road.  Undeterred we turn right and head back to the Merry Maidens, with a brief stop on the way to examine a burial chamber – Tregiffian Barrow – half obliterated by the road.  This tomb or shrine was built during the Neolithic period – 2000 – 3000 BC, and was used as a holy place for a long period of time forming part of a larger sacred area which included the Merry Maidens.

Tregiffian Barrow
Tregiffian Barrow

On the Coast Path Acrylic on Canvas
On the Coast Path
Acrylic on Canvas

Associated artwork for Ricketyrambler by Mr RR:

http://www.andrewmajorart.co.uk

http://www.artistsandillustrators.co.uk/Andrew-Major


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