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Rambling Outta 2023

When you’re expecting gale force winds and rain, but get blue skies, only a bit of bluster, and muddy mud instead…I’d say that’s a winning ramble, wouldn’t you?


Saturday 9 December 2023 - Penultimum Ramble

Porthtowan to Chapel Porth 4.6-miles

Saturday's second to last ramble of 2023 was pretty flipping epic in my opinion…and according to the 22 ramblers who joined me, they agreed! There were lots of smiling faces, continuous chatter, number swapping, and an abundance of giggling. Absolute perfection if you ask me!

We started at Porthtowan (using the iWalk Cornwall route) and headed up the steeeeeep incline past the Blue Bar Cafe, where we admired the welcomed blue sky that surprised us all. Thank you blustery wind for blowing the rain away and giving us a glorious day for walking.


Porthtowan

Porthtowan (Cornish: Porth Tewyn, meaning cove of sand dunes) is a small village and popular tourist destination in Cornwall, approximately 1.2 miles west of St Agnes.

Porthtowan’s history is associated with mining and one of its most prominent buildings is a former engine house converted for residential use. Allen’s Corn Mill operated at Porthtowan between 1752 and 1816. Coastal settlements in Cornwall between Perranporth and Porthtowan had copper, lead, iron, tin and zinc mines. Porthtowan mines mainly produced copper.

Porthtowan beach is a family and surfing Blue Flag beach and is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Along the coast you will find Gullyn Rock, Diamond Rock and sandstone and slate cliffs. Porthtowan is well known as a surf resort and it is where the judges can be found for the annual SAS Ripcurl Cornish and Open Longboard Championships. Porthtowan also has a hidden tidal pool in the rocks and nestled up against the cliff which you can only access at low tide.


Pubs and restaurants include @blueinporthtowan @unicornonthebeach and @porthtowanbeachcafe and you can treat yourself to @moomaidofzennor ice cream in the parlour just up from The Blue Bar.

From Porthtowan, we followed the undulating coast path all the way along to Chapel Porth, where we dipped down and stopped for a hot chocolate at the cafe - they were very happy to see us!

This stretch of coastline is my absolute favourite - all the way from Portreath to Perranporth - and regardless of the weather or time of year, you will never leave disappointed with the views. This particular 4.6-mile route has been graded moderate, but that is mainly due to the steep incline that starts you off, and the terrain which can be rather rocky in places.

Our return route took us along a very muddy and wet path, up through the valley, before popping out onto the road back to Porthtowan and the car park. The valley had had days worth of heavy rain and so there were areas where we had no choice but to walk through ankle bone deep water, but no one seemed to mind judging from the excitable whoops as 22 pairs of boots splashed their way along.

It was a pretty wonderful Saturday where we all, thankfully, returned home completely dry with just a smidgen of rosy cheeks from the wind. Thank you to everyone who joined me and for braving the weather, it certainly paid off.


Sunday 10 December 2023 - Final Ramble

Pendeen to Portheras 4-miles

I didn’t think my “pleeease be sunny” dance would work, but it seems the weather was on our side this weekend for our two final rambles of the year! Two rambles, both forecasted wind and rain, ended up sunny and bright. What a way to finish the 2023 rambling season!


Our last ramble of the year took us to Pendeen (Penn Din) where we rambled four-miles towards Portheras Cove - it may have been a short walk but it certainly packed a punch. From Pendeen car park (not the lighthouse one) we headed towards @geevor_museum - the last mine to work the St Just Mining District and closed as a working tin mine in 1990. Geevor Tin Mine is open to the public and I recommend a visit!

As we made our way through the site, we 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.

We eventually made our way to the next place of interest, Pendeen Lighthouse, also known as Pendeen Watch, 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 Boat Cove; a tiny fishing cove tucked away on the north coast with incredible views across to Portheras Cove and Gurnard’s Head, this cove really does add a little pizazz to this four-miler. 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!

Our last leg of the ramble was up a zig zag path, along to Portheras Cove, and then up and up and up a VERY boggy and muddy path (that was more like a stream!) towards boggier fields and eventually, onto tarmac…phew! If we didn't have a map, this winding bracken strewn path could have easily been missed - in actual fact, I was too busy chinwagging that I did miss it and some of us had to reverse a few steps back. 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.


A spectacular final ramble of the year with a wonderful group of ramblers - thank you all for joining me. Here’s to 2024!


And on that note...


2024 Rambles

I will be sharing a newsletter soon with all the details of upcoming rambles in the new year. As always, I will be taking the rest of December and most of January off to have a bit of a break, as well as climatise to my new job, which I start at the beginning of 2024.

If you have yet to sign up to the Cornish Ramblings mailing list, please do so over on the website here: www.cornishramblings.co.uk and please do pop across to Instagram and Facebook and follow our page - I will be keeping in touch with some of you there!


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