One question I am asked regularly regarding Cornish Ramblings is "what part of Cornwall do you cover?" I am always chuffed to reply that Cornish Ramblings will cover the width and breadth of this divine county. One weekend we may be venturing around The Lizard, the next bumbling across Bude. There isn't a corner we won't eventually explore, mainly because I want to see every nook and cranny of Cornwall. But also because I want to ensure everyone in Cornwall has the opportunity to join us on a ramble.
Another question I am often asked is "how do you choose where to ramble?" If I am being totally honest, it tends to be a look at a map and choose a random location depending on where I have yet to explore kind of jobby. It also depends on my weekend commitments and how far I can travel depending on what else I have going on. There are some rambles I have done more than once and will continue to do them yearly because they are wonderful and popular. There are other locations I will do once and possibly never again for various reasons. But all in all, there isn't an area of Cornwall that I won't travel to, and I am always on the lookout for new and exciting walks that we have yet to try so if you have any places you'd like Cornish Ramblings to venture to next, get in touch!
Our latest coastal ramble took us to an area called Pendeen (Penn Din). Keep reading to find out why this short four-mile walk really packed a punch, and how some of us decided jumping in a freezing cold mermaid pool would be a good way to end the ramble.
The Route: Pendeen to Portheras, 4 Miles
All I will say about this route is don't be deceived by its small mileage. Yes, it is only four miles, but within these four miles, you will see an abundance of interesting views whilst also getting your legs working. It may have taken longer for the group to get around these four miles because there were quite a few of us and we stopped to drink in the views on multiple occasions. But it was too good not to stop and take it all in.
We started at Pendeen car park (not the lighthouse car park) and made our way along the road a short distance until we reached Geevor Tin Mine.
Geevor Mine and Museum
Some of you may already know I work full time (Monday to Friday) for a charity called Cornwall Museums Partnership (CMP). This charity is one I am super proud to work for, especially because they exist to invigorate museums and help them to address the structures and practices which have excluded people for too long. "CMP is an independent charitable incorporated organisation, formed in 2015 to provide leadership for Cornwall’s museums; to support them, represent them and give them a voice."
When I realised that this particular route took us straight through Geevor Tin Mine, my little nerdy museum brain got excited to see it as part of a ramble. I love to combine my love of Cornwall's rich heritage with my walks and where I can, attempt to impart a little knowledge.
Geevor Tin Mine was the last mine to work the St Just Mining District and closed as a working mine in 1990. Geevor is now open to the public and is managed by a local community cooperative as a heritage centre. If you visit Geevor - and I recommend you do - then expect to do all sorts, some above ground and some below. Wheal Mexico Underground Mine is your opportunity to explore underground and walk through the tunnels that were made by men and boys two hundred years ago. You can have a go at panning for gold, visit the Hard Rock Museum and gawp up at the Victory Shaft, pictured above.
One of the most moving experiences I had when visiting was whilst walking around The Dry. Described as the room where time has stood still, it really does give you chills as you step inside and see the change room, a place where miners kept their belongings in lockers, and which has been left almost exactly as it was on the day the miners came up to the surface for the last time in 1990.
At all times, you will be asked to wear a hard hat, as I am demonstrating so beautifully in the above picture from when I last visited Geevor.
As we made our way through the site, we eventually edged closer to the coastal path where we headed towards Levant. Here you will find Levant Mine and Beam Engine, a National Trust property where it has the world's only Cornish beam engine still operated by steam on its original site. This part of the walk reminded me just how different our coastlines can be from one side to the other. At Levant, you will find rugged and rocky cliffs that can look quite baron in places. Spattered around are relics from the mines, some perfectly formed, some barely there anymore. One interesting formation I became intrigued with was the conical structures.
These rows of concrete pillars, according to iWalk Cornwall, were supports for a roof covering the tin recovery floors and were built in the 1920s to replace the Victorian dressing floors which were walled with stone. These conical structures, also known as buddies, can still be seen in these older areas.
As we carried on along the coast, it was here where we got an eyeful of the sea which accompanied us until we reached Pendeen Lighthouse. Crossing a footbridge we followed the path over the headland and down into the next valley where we found an awkward stream to jump across.
After a quick refreshment and picture taking stop, we eventually made our way to the next place of interest, Pendeen Lighthouse.
Pendeen Lighthouse, also known as Pendeen Watch, is an active aid to guide vessels around the rugged shoreline from Pendeen to Gurnards Head. Built by Trinity House in 1900, this 17-metre tall tower came to be when concerns of the number of ships being lost along the West Penwith coast became apparent.
Down from Pendeen Lighthouse, you will find the picturesque Boat Cove; a tiny fishing cove tucked away on the north coast of the Land's End Peninsula. With incredible views across to Portheras Cove and Gurnard's Head, this cove really does add a little something extra to this four-miler. It was also the spot where I'd planted the seed to some of my fellow ramblers about heading back for a swim at the end of the walk. Keep reading to find out if I managed to convince anyone...
As well as a lovely sandy beach, which disappears at high tide, you will also find many rock pools. Swimming is possible at Boat Cove but there can be strong currents so it is advised to take care when choosing to swim here. However, the rock pools at low tide are the perfect spots to take a dip, should the urge take you.
Did you know that in the 1960s, a minor from Geevor actually created a pool in the rocks using quite a lot of dynamite? Apparently, all of his children learned to swim in this pool, but he unfortunately never learnt to swim himself!
After my ramblers had spent some time looking around Boat Cove, the next part of the journey would take us uphill on a zig-zag path towards the headland. Here, we would cross a stile and walk along a path to reach the bog dodging section of this route. If we didn't have a map, this winding bracken strewn path could have easily been missed. It is a bit of a trek up and I'd say where the moderate part of this walk comes into play. Not only does it go uphill for some time, but you are also hit with a marshy area to navigate through.
As I often say, it wouldn't be a Cornish Ramblings ramble without some mud and a few bogs to sludge through. Everyone took it in their (careful) stride and eventually, all emerged at the top relatively unscathed. It was wonderful to hear the laughter and helpful words of encouragement behind me as I took the lead.
Inland Route Home
The last leg of this ramble took us across fields and stiles until we finally popped out onto a road that took us straight back towards the car park. Here is where I said goodbye to almost everyone, and then made a plan with those I had convinced to go back to Boat Cove for a swim. Those of you who guessed yes to me persuading some of my ramblers were absolutely correct.
Five of us in total, plus Karl on the drone (check out the Cornish Ramblings Instagram page to see the drone footage) drove to Pendeen Lighthouse car park and made our way down to the rock pool swimming pool for the most delightfully refreshing dip. What a way to end off a darn good ramble.
"When anxious, uneasy, and bad thoughts come, I go to the sea, and the sea drowns them out with its great wide sounds, cleanses me with its noise, and imposes a rhythm upon everything in me that is bewildered and confused."
Rainer Maria Rilke
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