SW COASTAL PATH. Hayle to Portreath.

Have you seen Poldark?

My most interesting encounter today was in the Godrevy Cafe above Hayle Sands. Two ladies, turned out to be sisters,  were looking for an outside table in the sun; I was just finishing my coffee so invited them to share the table. Conversation ranged far and wide and I outstayed my welcome. A chance remark opened up the subject of Poldark and the lady to my left explained she was the daughter-in-law of Winston Graham the author of the original series of historical novels. Her husband, the son, is involved in the TV productions and that very morning they had all been filming in a hidden cove on the south coast. No, she would not divulge any secrets but did say filming would be continuing on the northern coast this week. She was impressed that I had purchased a cheap plastic Poldark key ring for a fan back home.


The day had started by saying farewell to my lovely host in Penzance as I prepared to backpack up the coast. In 10 minutes the train had me in Hayle across the estuary and those busy roads where I’d finished yesterday. Hayle was worth an exploration for its maritime heritage and gave me the opportunity for some picnic shopping. Amongst the shops was a more chic ladies’ clothes outlet with a sign that amused me…Once across the harbour bridge I picked up the way through holiday chalets in the dunes and down to the beach as the tide was out. This then gave me 3 miles of flat walking with no navigating except to pick out the firmest sand, ahead was the lighthouse on Godrevy Island and across the bay St. Ives. There was a stiff Northerly wind blowing which made for brisk walking to keep warm. In the waves were lots of amateur surfers and bodyboarders who were mainly congregating at points where the lifeguards were on duty. Black cliffs loomed above the beach for most of its length but I found a way up, The Goat Track, at the far end which landed me in the said cafe.

The area was popular with dogwalkers and these three were ready in the carpark…Sand dunes, which can be heavy going [remember Herb Elliot’s training which led me to this very British video  clicking here.]  took me onto Godrevy Point with views down to the island lighthouse. In my experience where there’s a crowd there is something happening and so it turned out on the cliff top above Fishing Cove, the group of Exeter zoology students had spotted the seals in the bay.

The way onwards on paths through heathland was not difficult and most of the time paralled close to the road. The cliffs along here looked very crumbly and it was wise to stay clear of the edge particularly in the strong winds, strong enough for me to don a fleece for the first time this week. I felt I was making good progress until in the last mile I encountered two steep valleys with all the usual steps and zigzags. The descent into Portreath was punctuated by lots of expensive looking modern properties which I doubt if any of the local population could afford. The village itself looked a little drab in what is now classified as out of season. The pub next door to my B and B had a karaoke night so it was preferable to eat in my room.




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