Port Isaac – Padstow.
This is the ‘Newly wed and Nearly dead’ season according to the locals which explains the large number of tourists still out and about. The two villages linked have a high profile, Port Isaac is Doc Marten country and Padstow is TV cook Rick Stein’s domain, not without controversy. They are both pretty ports best visited in the evenings when the coach parties have gone. Boat trips and shopping have taken over from the fishing industry although local catches are still available but on the whole commercial tourism has taken over.
Walking through the sleepy village, without a sight of the Doc, I picked up a coffee and croissant and carried them up to a seat on the headland overlooking Port Isaac. A great place for breakfast on a sunny morning. The harbour was below me and looking across the bay Tintagel Head could plainly be seen. The first couple of miles was a real roller coaster with the path clearly visible ahead in the rugged scenery. Varley Head and Kellen Head were crossed on muddy paths slippy from yesterdays rain.
On Doyden Point was a folly built by an 19th century merchant to entertain his friends. Nearby were two fenced off mineshafts, previous silver mines. Vapour was rising from one of them and on peering down the sound and smell of the sea came up, the shaft had obviously reached sea level maybe 25m down.
Grassy paths wandered through gorse and people seemed to be coming from everywhere, looking at the map I realised there were many circular walks from nearby Polzeath. A gentle circuit of the rocky Rumps Point and Pentire Head gave good views of rocky islets with speed boats whizzing around. From the point i could see right back up the coast to Hartland Point and Lundy.
Then I was into Polzeath on Hayle Bay with the usual surfing crowd in the waters.The first cafe I came to was in a side street, an old fashioned establishment with home made drizzle cake.The elderly couple gave me a sample of rocky road cake which I’d never come across, very rich and chocolatey. Apparently popularised by Nigella Lawson – another TV link. Next door was a beach house based on an old railway carriage. Third class strangely from the Rhondda and Swansea Bay Railway closed in the 60’s.
Walking past seaside houses I arrived on the beach of Daymer Bay the site of the treacherous Doom Bar now famous as the name of one of Cornwall’s beers. There were lots of people strolling along the beach but as the tide was coming in I kept to the higher signed path up through the sand dunes for a final flurry to the quay at Rock. The small ferry to Padstow arrived and before I knew it was elbow to elbow with tourists shopping in the narrow streets. I had a bus to catch so will leave exploration till next time.
Accommodation was expensive in Padstow so I’d booked into a pub in nearby Wadebridge from where my 10 hour journey back to Lancashire would begin tomorrow. Eight great days of coastal walking are behind me and the legs remind me of the strenuous nature, time for a rest. Not sure when I will be back to finish to Lands End.