Because I sold myself short yesterday I left myself with a long day today if I wanted to reach Newquay. Being a Sunday I would struggle with buses if I fell short. I used some little lanes out of St. Agnes to pick up the path up through the dunes as it swung onto the first headland where it ran alongside an old RAF airfield. In the war Spitfires operated from here but now only a few private planes, there were none today. The cliffs below were very crumbly and paths have disappeared into the sea. Again there was much evidence of previous mining.
The going was actually fairly level and I made good progress to Perranporth. There was a lot of new building work as I dropped down and some very expensive looking properties. In the car park a tea van promptly served me a decent coffee with no fuss for £1.50 – take note those other cafes where a simple coffee order becomes a major catering event trying to justify the exorbitant cost. Of course I had to sit on a park bench.
Again I was lucky with the tide and able to walk along the Perran Beach rather than in the tiring dunes. I have never seen so many dogs being walked, apparently from September onwards they are allowed the freedom of the sands. The 2 mile walk was bracing in the wind, there were some interesting cliffs and the crowds thinned out the further one went. Climbing a steep path up the dunes and I was onto Ligger Point with great views back along the beach. From this lofty perch I was able to watch a kestrel hovering just below me. Kestrels have been a common sight every day on the cliffs along with ravens, choughs, buzzards, the occasional peregrine and of course the gulls.
Inland now was a military base with its surrounding security fence though it is no longer used.. Penhale Camp itself looked like a small village but again access was denied and one had to follow the perimeter fencing right round Penhale Point. There was agood view of some original Nissen Huts on the site. Despite the dreary nature of the camp the cliff scenery down to my left was dramatic.
I arrived in Holywell, with its beautiful looking beach, in good time and popped into the St. Pirans pub for a coffee taken outside so I could surreptitiously eat my own banana and biscuits. St. Pirans turns out to be the Patron Saint of Tinners. Cast out of Ireland he was washed ashore on Perran beach where he built a chapel.The legend goes that he discovered tin by accident – a stone on his fire leaking a white liquid.
The Cornish Flag, the Flag Of St Piran (white cross on a black background) represents white tin flowing from the black rock, or good overcoming evil.
A text message arrived from tonight’s accommodation asking my time of arrival as they were out from 5pm onwards, the instructions for picking up the key if I was late were so complicated that I decided to speed up and get there in time. That’s how I found myself lost in the middle of a deserted holiday park. Looking at my pathetic photocopy of a map I had reckoned I could miss out a couple of headlands and a mile or so by using a path straight across to Crantock. Public footpaths don’t do well in commercial properties or maybe I shouldn’t have been here in the first place and there was nobody to ask. For the first time this week the mist had come down perhaps shielding my indiscretions. Eventually I resorted to a compass bearing which saw me out of the camp but onto a golf course but again there was nobody arround. With some relief and a few fences climbed I came out onto the NT’s Cubert Common, lanes and paths had me back on route at Crantock Beach. The town of Newquay could be seen on the opposite side rising up from the estuary, a town of two halves with the other facing the Atlantic.The tide was still out which was important as I needed to cross the River Gannel at one of the low lying bridges to avoid a lengthy detour on roads. The first bridge I came to had been closed and apparently dismantled but fortunately the next one was intact and I crossed straight into the suburbs of Newquay. Some street walking with incongruous SWCP signs on lampposts took me up into town.
The owners of the B and B were surprised at my early arrival.