Saturday, 20th June 2015
I hope you’re enjoying sunshine. We are here. Except this morning when we decided to cross over to the other side…..and found fog, fog and more fog.
We also committed the cardinal sin of embarking on a walk without a map…..in the fog…..somewhere we haven’t been before (well, only once – a long time ago).
The problem was, we thought we were walking in one place, but then walked somewhere else instead, so we had no written directions, we just made it up as we went along. This is how it happened:
We set off from our sunny coast to walk an inland route around Ventongimps and Callestick. But, when we reached the starting point we found that we had to walk along the main Newquay Road for a little way. In thick fog. On a Saturday morning when half the world is going home after their holidays and the other half is arriving. It wasn’t going to happen – just not sensible!
So we had a think and we thought we’d go to St Agnes and walk along the coast, around the headland and then turn inland to St Agnes Beacon. Which is what we did…..except we missed out the Beacon in the end. And we’d forgotten the map….old age being to blame I expect.
Seriously, we weren’t really in any danger – we were on the coast path (can’t go wrong there except by falling into the sea) and if we’d been really worried once we turned inland, we would have asked the lovely men in the CoastWatch Station for directions. We avoided going up the hill to the Beacon because of the thick fog and followed the road and track back into St Agnes.
And now, here I am, back on the right side, sat in the sunshine with no hint of fog,
So all was well in the end – but the pictures are a bit murky – because of the fog!
St Agnes circular via St Agnes Head. (4.5 miles)
We parked in the village and usually we would head down the Stippy Steppy path (yes that’s what it’s called!) to Trevaunance Cove but we found ourselves parked opposite a footpath signed for the cove so we took that instead.
A little way down the path on the right, there’s a little ‘haven’ where you can sit and admire the views of the cove and the nearby mine workings. Except today. Too foggy for that!
So we continue down the steep windy path to Trevaunance Cove and then turn left and head uphill along the South West Coast Path towards St Agnes Head. There’s a bit of a breeze and we hope it might blow away the fog so we can see the views, but it’s not to be.
The pathway is surrounded by heathland here, with heathers, gorse and ferns making a delightful, if eerie landscape. There’s no sign of the sea just a little way to our right.
A chaffinch flits ahead of us, landing every now and then on the gorse, before hearing us behind him again and flying on.
A tiny little flower, only about 1cm across, but almost luminous in amongst the dark greens and purples. It’s Tormentil, thought in Medieval times to heal wounds and named after the torments it relieved.
Actually coverings of old mine shafts I suppose.
But it’s not Sisyrinchium at all – any ideas??
Soon we find ourselves at the Coastwatch Station, recently refurbished, nicely painted and looking very neat, sitting alone near the cliff top.
The National Coastwatch Instituion is a charity providing ‘eyes’ along the coast throughout the year and helping to keep people safe. There’s always a box for donations nearby – please give when you’re passing, you never know when you might need them!
We turn inland just past here and follow the lane across the heath spotting a clump of orchids on the way. I think this is the Heath-spotted orchid, despite the minimal spotting on the leaves. Also it’s supposed to have a faint smell but, even though I made Mr RR get down on his knees and sniff, he could detect no odour! I shall send it in to the Orchid Observers website anyway for confirmation.
It’s called Cameron Camp Sentry Box and the sign says that it’s all that remains of a training camp for the 10th Light Anti-aircraft Battery built in 1939/40.
We’re onto the road into St Agnes now and across the way is the sign post to St Agnes Beacon, a hill in the middle of the heathland. The fog is still thick though and we’re not confident of the way back down so we give it a miss and start down the road. the hedgerows here are absolutely full of flowers including foxgloves, campion, and the lovely blue sheep’s bit which we saw recently at Cape Cornwall.
A little way along we see a footpath sign to the village so we take the opportunity to leave the road and walk down the lane and across fields. On the way a little family of wrens cross our path – well not so little, at least 6 of them out having a flying lesson I think as the youngsters cannot long have fledged. This little one had stopped for a rest on the fence:
The collective noun for wrens, by the way, is ‘a chime of wrens’.
We carry on along the path, leaving the ‘chime of wrens’ behind us and with the ‘chime of the church bells’ in front. There’s a wedding in the village and it’s busy, so we leave them to their day and head elsewhere to find some lunch.
Associated artwork for Ricketyrambler by Mr RR: