Friday, 12 August 2016

Walking the length of Cornwall - A 'Cornish Camino' -

 We undertook this pilgrimage in early July as a nine day walk the length of Cornwall from the Tamar near Launceston to the cliffs of Cape Cornwall - a distance of about 105 miles. We were lucky to have fine weather varying from grey and windy to bright sunshine and with hardly any rain! The group varied from 2 to 7 people and all seemed to enjoy the experience. By going across the middle of the county through back roads and paths, we were able to see another aspect of Cornwall: quiet countryside including moorland fringes, woods, streams, small scale farming and the remains of mining/quarrying, as well as  the city of Truro and the towns of Camelford, St Columb Major and Penzance.

Sat 9  Polson Bridge (over Tamar) via St Stephens Launceston to Altarnun 12 miles

Four of us ( Bob Kirby-Harris, Felicity Henchley, Rob Turner, Cathy Glaser) started  on a cloudy, windy, warm day by crossing  the bridge into Cornwall and then turned right off the A388 to walk up to St Stephens by Launceston church for our lunch in the churchyard with a great view over Launceston and the castle. We then walked down the hill over the old St Thomas's footbridge and had a quick look at the church  and Priory remains. Then  we walked due west along Under Lane – a lovely section traversing the Kensey Valley, past New Mills and the old railway line, to Pipers Pool.  We  carefully crossed the busy A395 and turned left down quiet lanes and a footpath traversing the Inny Valley and Penpont Water to reach the beautiful village of Altarnun, with its church, 'the Cathedral of the Moors'.

Sun 10 Alturnun to Lanteglos  via Camelford 10 miles

Eight of us ( Bob & Peter Kirby-Harris, Felicity Henchley, Judy Lamb, Rob Turner, Rex Yeomans, Ruth Ellery, Douglas Evans)  left after the service in St Mabyn and started at Altarnun  on a cooler windier day with some drizzle to begin with. We walked up past West Carne onto an unfenced small road just under Bray Down with fine views to the north and had lunch by a ford. Then we walked  along a section of the Davidstow Airfield road  before turning left through the woods past the old aircraft dispersion areas . We turned left again  onto the road past Crowdy Reservoir and then turned right towards Camelford on the Rough Tor road. We came out onto the A39 and after a short section  along Camelford high street we walked up  through  the back lane, turned left onto the B3266  and then went straight on at the corner towards Lanteglos. We finished at the large fine church by the side of the Allen stream.

Mon 11 Lanteglos to St Mabyn  via St Tudy 9 miles 

Five of us ( Bob & Peter Kirby-Harris, Felicity Henchley, Rob Turner, Judy Lamb) started from Lanteglos church  on another cool windy day with a short burst of drizzle, by taking the footpath across Bowood Golf Course and then on through fields until we came out on a minor road at Treforda. From there we walked south crossing the  busy A39 and then to Treveighan,  where we had our packed lunch in Rex Yeoman's garden - a very pleasant and comfortable break . Then we continued walking south past Michaelstow and on to a short section of the B3266 before taking a footpath through two fields to St Tudy. We then walked the back road to St Mabyn , familiar to several of us; and concluded with a cream tea at Judy Lamb's!

Tue 12 St Mabyn to St Columb Major  via Withiel and St Wenn 14 miles

Two of us ( Bob Kirby-Harris and Cathy Glaser) left St Mabyn church (on another cloudy clear cool day) walking to the edge of the village where we crossed a stile onto a footpath through three fields and back onto the road to Sladesbridge. We crossed the busy A389 and then walked steeply uphill and then down to cross the Camel at Polbrock, where we had  our lunch (at the Forestry Commission picnic site). Then we went along the quiet bank of the Camel to Ruthernbridge, where we turned right along a small side valley on a back road and footpath until we crossed the stream and walked up to Withiel. We then walked due south until turning right at the cross-roads towards St Wenn travelling almost due west for four miles with a brief diversion to look at St Wenn church. Then we joined the B3274 which had an unpleasant level of traffic on it – care should be taken to pick a quiet time of day to walk this section! We then turned right and almost immediately left at Rosevanion corner, walked down through Tregamere to meet the back road into St Columb Major. After the last mile going under the A39 and up into the town we finished at the impressive church of St Columba.

Wed 13 St Columb Major to Truro via St Newlyn East and St Allen 18 miles

Two of us (Bob Kirby-Harris and Rachel Wheeler) started from St Columba's church  on a mild dry day with some sun and walked the length of St Columb Major, crossed the A3059 through Trekenning ( foot/bicycle route) and onto the minor road to White Cross. Here we crossed the A3075 and then took the right fork onto a long fairly straight section towards Trerice. We then turned left and down to cross the Lappa valley at the steam railway site and then walked up the hill into St Newlyn East to look round the church with its interesting carved pew ends and other features. After a good lunch in the pub we walked through the village out to Fiddlers Green turning left and walking for a further two miles to a fairly safe crossing of the busy A30. After crossing and a short walk on grass verges of the main road we turned right down the 'Quiet Lane' towards St Allen. We then walked  south for two miles until we stopped at St Allen  for a brief look round the small church .A further half mile south we turned right down to the Allen river at Gwarnick and then turned left at a small side stream past woodland and through Idless.. We crossed the Allen  just beyond Idless and then continued down the valley until we went through the gate into the Daubuz nature reserve. After a half mile walk through fields and under the viaduct we came out into central Truro within a short distance of the Cathedral.

Thur 14 Truro to Stithians 9 miles

Four of us ( Bob Kirby-Harris, Ruth Ellery, Felicity Henchley, Mike Bradley) met up at the cathedral  on another dry day with sunny skies later, and then walked across the centre of Truro and up Chapel Hill until we crossed the A390 onto a small quiet lane round the back of County Hall. We walked under the old mineral line and then  the main line, and then turned left under the line again for about four miles (going straight on at cross roads) to Helston Water. We then walked down to the B road at the edge of Bisoe, turned right and then left at the next junction  towards Frogpool, turning left and then hard right down a small lane  and then straight on at the next junction. After a third of a mile at a right angle corner we took the footpath straight on  crossing a minor road at Trewedna Water and then joining a small road due south to Pelean Cross. Here we crossed the A393 and walked on to Trebost, where we took the minor road to the right past Seaurreaugh Farm and Mill and then walked up to the  fine church of St Stithians on the northern edge of the large former mining village of Stithians.

Fri 15 Stithians to Relubbus 13 miles

Four of us  (Bob Kirby-Harris, Felicity Henchley, Mike Bradley, Mike Newson) started from St Stithians church  on a fine day with clouds and bright and bright sun and walked south through the village turning right on the road through Tregols. We turned right at Little Rame Farm past the Common through Carnkie and Halwin to Porkellis, where we had lunch in the pub which also doubles as the village store and library! Afterwards we walked on westward  past a patchwork of small fields and the remains of mining activity until crossing the B3297 and then reaching Nancegollan where we crossed the B3303. We then continued walking west crossing the B3302 and on through Godolphin Cross past Godolphin Hill and  past several mining shafts to the edge of Millpool. Here we struggled to find the footpath that follows the Hayle stream, finally walking along this very boggy route until coming out at Relubbus. It would be easier next time to walk further along the roads to St Hillary church.

Sat 16 Relubbus to Penzance via St Hilary and St Michael's Mount 8 miles

Six of us (Bob Kirby-Harris, Felicity Henchley, Ruth Ellery, Judy Lamb, Mike Bradley, Trevor Ponman) started from Relubbus on a glorious sunny day by walking on footpaths through the fields to St Hilary church with its very interesting 'Arts & Crafts' paintings, icons and statues. We then walked  through two more fields to reach the back road to Marazion. We turned left and walked past Plain-an-Gwarry and under the A394 to reach the charming 'town' of Marazion where we had lunch at a pub overlooking St Michael's Mount. Afterwards we walked along the coastal path  with marvellous views across Mounts Bay into Penzance and up to St Mary's church.

Sun 17 Penzance to Cape Cornwall via St Just 10 miles

Five of us ( Bob Kirby-Harris, Felicity Henchley, Mike Bradley, Ruth Ellery, Douglas Evans) drove down after church in St Mabyn on a hot sunny day to have our packed lunches in the attractive church grounds of St Mary's church, Penzance. We then walked up through the town past the A30, using an underpass at the round-about, until finally turning left at the far edge of Heamoor. Then we walked west past the woodlands of Trengwainton and other estates to cross the A3071 at Tremethick Cross. We continued walking west, the road crossing several streams leading into Drift Reservoir, until meeting the 'New Road' to St Just at Grumbla Common near Sancreed. Here we turned right and walked the last three  miles, with great sea views in the middle distance, past Commons and Nature Reserves - and also several tips and shafts as reminders of the former mining activity in this area – to reach the edge of St Just, where we took  a footpath for the last half mile into the village. After refreshments we walked the last mile and a half down to Cape Cornwall, which was  mostly clouded in sea fog.  We  then climbed up the last hill to see the chimney with its memorial  plaque right on the Cape. By this time, fortunately, the fog had cleared and we enjoyed good views of the cliffs, castles and mining buildings along the coast.  

We all agreed that it was a fine end to a great pilgrimage!

Bob Kirby-Harris July 2016

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