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Down West

Cape Cornwall (Kilgoodh Ust, meaning "goose back of St Just" in Cornish); did you know that a cape is the point of land where two bodies of water meet and that Cape Cornwall is the only cape in Cornwall? In fact, there are only two capes in the whole of the UK - the second being all the way up in Scotland, Cape Wrath!

The two bodies of water that meet at Cape Cornwall are the Irish Sea and the Atlantic. According to Wikipedia, the name Cape Cornwall first appeared on a maritime chart around the year 1600 and the original Cornish name, Kilgoodh Ust, dates all the way back to 1580.

Cape Cornwall Mine, a tin mine on the cape, was operated intermittently between 1838 and 1883. The mine's 1864 chimney near the peak of the cape was retained as an aid to navigation. The remains of Cape Cornwall Mine are designated as part of the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

So far in 2023, I have visited Cape Cornwall with my rambling group twice. Once back in February for our first-ever ramble of the year, where we started at Cape Cornwall and rambled along to Levant. And again at the weekend just gone, where we started at St Just and rambled a glorious 7.8-miles along to Nanquidno, stopping at Cape Cornwall for a few pics.

As you can see in the last two pics from our Cape Cornwall adventures this year, we were treated to two very different kinds of weather!

Cape Cornwall to Levant

As far as routes go, this one literally has it all…

  • Epic views - even when it is mizzly AF

  • Miles of epic coastline

  • Heritage

  • Donkeys

  • Woodland

  • A sleeping giant...more on this further down!

  • Mud glorious mud

  • Castle ruins

  • The friendliest and loveliest National Trust car park attendant I’ve ever met - such a love

  • Mine shafts

  • All kinds of wildlife…dolphins if you’re lucky!

  • Stiles…and plenty of them FYI

  • The promise of an epic cup of coffee at the end thanks to The Little Wonder cafe which you’ll find in the Cape Cornwall NT car park.

  • A sea swim in the priest cove tidal pool - known as The Children's Pool, this 20th Century pool can be located amongst the rocks

  • A toilet…it’s always good to start and end a walk with a loo!

  • Picturesque lunch stop!

Although the weather on our first ramble of 2023 was a little damp and grey, we still managed to have a ruddy great time and enjoyed every muddy step we took.

St Just to Nanquidno

At the weekend we headed down west to St Just for a very wonderful but, in places, very arduous 7.8-mile ramble…and we only got caught in one downpour!!!

I was expecting a very wet ramble thanks to the weather forecast keeping me on my toes in the lead-up to Saturday. But in fact, we had lots of fluffy clouds littering the blue sky, a little wind (not that kind of wind!) to push us along, one heavy downpour to get us going at the start, the most azure ocean to keep us company for the majority of the route, a smidgen of mud to navigate, the brightest gorse lined paths, aaaaand all the giggles and chitchat you could possibly want and need.

This particular route was not for the fainthearted. With a gazillion coastal steps to clamber up, lots of zigzagging up and over stony trails, an abundance of stiles, bamboo slapping your face, and a little skidding through mud, it’s safe to say my ramblers and I were feeling fairly done in by the end.

But my word it was a freaking corker of a ramble and although mine and Purdys legs were ready to stay horizontal for the remainder of the weekend, it was such a wonderful few hours spent with some absolutely amazing folks.

Here's a snippet of what we saw on this ramble to give you a little taste of the places that are packed into this route: St Just, Cape Cornwall, the Sleeping Giant, Priest’s Cove, Nanjulian, Cot Valley, Letch Cliff, Ballowall Cairn, Porth Nanven, Nanquidno, and views of Sennen, Lands End, and Whitsand Bay.

We also saw Choughs galore!

The Sleeping Giant

The Sleeping Giant aka The Brisons (Cornish: Enys Vordardh, meaning breaker island) is an interesting shaped twin-peaked islet as its outline looks just like a giant asleep on his back.

The Sleeping Giant is situated a mile offshore from Cape Cornwall and kept us company along the entire coastal section of our ramble on Saturday, as we made our way to Nanquidno from St Just.

Have you ever seen faces in the rocks, and did you know this is called “mimetolith?”

"A mimetolith is a natural rock feature that resembles a living form in nature — usually a face, a human head, or animal." Geologist, Sharon Hill

Adventures Ahead!

I absolutely love this corner of Cornwall. The rugged and wild landscapes always make my heart sing and whenever I head down west, I know I am in for a treat regardless of what the elements throw at us. The next time we head to this part of Cornwall, I am absolutely planning a sea swim in the tidal pool.

I also recommend stopping at Cape Cornwall for a cuppa and some food at The Little Wonder cafe which is located in the National Trust car park. And if you have time, please stop and chat with the National Trust car park man who is an absolute delight and loves nothing more than to see people out and about exploring the area.

PS. Here is an image that rambler Andy took of me in an attempt to make it look like I am kissing the Sleeping Giant! I will leave it to you as to whether we achieved this or not...

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Unknown member
Apr 03, 2023

As a first time rambler with Cornish Ramblings, what a lovely way to start. It was quite a ramble, great walk though, stunning scenery along with nice friendly people. Thank you Jodie for organising it all so well. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Andrea

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