114 Lizard to Predannack Head

I rejoin the South West Coast Path next to The Housel Hotel, standing and taking photos from the exact same place as last time. The rock at the end of the promontory is called Bumble Rock. It looks like a cat to me.

Bumble Rock, Lizard - Ruth's coastal walk around the UK

What a difference the weather makes. Last time I was here the wind tried to blow me off the path and I was wet from the rain. Today it is calm and dry. The path ahead is beautiful, lined by wild flowers above a blue sea.

path around Housel Bay, Ruth on the South West Coast Path

Today I will reach an important milestone – the southernmost part of mainland Britain. One disadvantage of the better weather is that it attracts more people to the path. I feel strangely resentful about sharing this moment with strangers and walk quickly to get away from a couple of middle-aged strollers just behind me.

The footpath dips up and down as it follows the contours of the coast. I am pleased to make rapid progress with ease despite the steep slopes. I must still be fit from my walk here a couple of weeks ago.

Lighthouse foghorns, Lizard, Ruth in CornwallLighthouse, Ruth's coastal walk, LizardAbove me, the Lizard Lighthouse stands behind a field of wild flowers – a surprisingly squat structure to mark this important place – but high enough, I suppose, to warn ships. Attached to the building are two enormous trumpets – foghorns. I wonder if they still work?

Green fields slope down towards rocky outcrops and islands. It is difficult to decide which point is the most southerly, but I would like to think I am standing on it here. The other likely place, a little further along, has road access and is crowded with people.

looking back to Bass Point, Bumble Rock, Ruth on LizardA young man has chosen a great spot to sit. I can’t resist a photograph.

Another walker has climbed some rocks and is lying with his head on his rucksack and taking a nap in the watery sunshine – but I don’t take a photograph of him – it feels too intrusive – even though I think he must be the most southerly human in mainland Britain. I consider climbing out on the rocks to find a place to stand that is even further south than he is, but I decide it isn’t worth the risky scramble.

Ahead is a road that ends at a car park and there are several cafes and gift shops. This is a popular place with tourists and the next section of path is fairly crowded with some VERY slow-moving people. I am used to having the path to myself and try not to get too impatient with the meandering strollers who get in my way.

Lizard, Ruth on the South West Coast Path, Cornwall

The path comes to a point where there is a low sea wall. A track used to lead down to a boathouse, jetty and a small beach, but the route has been cordoned off as recent landslides have made the beach unsafe. Ahead I can see the footpath leading along the low cliffs to Lizard Point itself – which is, surprisingly, not actually the most southern point of the mainland, but is a bit further north than where I am standing now.

Polpeor Cove to Lizard Point, Ruth on SW Coast Path

I linger for a few minutes, taking photographs, before picking up the path and heading onwards. Still there are a lot of people milling around, although their numbers drop off as we leave the road behind.

The path is wide and easy, across the top of cliffs. I pass a constant stream of walkers. Below is the clear sea with numerous little rocky bays. Signs say that Cornish choughs are nesting on the bank below – but I don’t see any. Above the path are fields that slope up gently to the houses of Lizard village and I can make out the B&B I stayed in last time I was here.

It is chilly for the end of June with a gentle sea breeze. The sky becomes overcast, making photography dull, although overall visibility is good – the clouds are high.

SWCP, Ruth walking round Lizard, Cornwall

Kynance Cove is a dramatic place. The path approaches it from above and I look down on a strip of white sand, surrounded by dramatic rocks. Lion Rock, Gull Rock, Asparagus Island.

Kynance Cove, Ruth's coastal walk, SWCP

As I make my way down the slope, towards the bottom of the valley and a beach cafe, I meet my husband coming up to meet me. We walk down to the beach together and spend some time on the sand admiring the rock formations and taking photographs. There are families here with children – enjoying the soft sand and the pools of water. Signs warn of rip tides and I notice nobody is swimming – although whether that is due to the watery dangers or due to the chill of the day, I don’t know.

Kynance Cove, rocks, Ruth on her coastal walk SWCP

The walk along Kynance cliffs is dull in comparison. The land is National Trust heathland with short grasses and wide, well-worn paths. I persuade my husband to ignore the ‘motorway’ of the South West Coast Path, and stick closer to the cliff edge along narrower trails. This makes the walk more interesting as we walk beside dramatic drops above a clear sea. Across the wide bay, blue in the distance, we can see the distant shore leading to the point that is Land’s End. It looks both enticingly close and frustratingly distant.

We come to a place where we can see a beautiful little sandy cove below us, with a couple of walkers standing on the tiny beach.

Soapy Cove, Ruth walking in Cornwall

This is a very remote place, being more than a mile from any road, and is known locally as Soapy Cove. Above the cove, the path turns inland for a short way and we have one last steep dip down into a valley with a stream running along the bottom.  Although I am tempted to follow the valley downwards to reach the sandy cove, I resist the urge. It is past 5 o’clock and we are both tired. So we simply cross the stream and head up the other side of the valley, following the official South West Coast Path.

 hubby on SWCP, Ruth's coastal walk through Cornwall

From here onwards the path is flat and it is a straightforward walk across Vellan Head to where we pick up a footpath heading inland to the tiny hamlet of Predannack, where my husband has parked the car.

Miles walked today = 6.5
Total distance since start = 1135.5

High point = standing on the most southerly point of mainland Britain


About Ruth Livingstone

Walker, writer, photographer, blogger, doctor, woman, etc.
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7 Responses to 114 Lizard to Predannack Head

  1. Chris Boyce says:

    Ruth it looks wonderful and brings back such lovely memories. We spent several holidays on the Lizard. I never ventured to soapy cove though! Love from Chris x

  2. I can confirm the foghorns are in good working order. I could hear them from at least four miles during my approach in thick fog this September. This is what they sound like; https://mtc.cdn.vine.co/r/videos/CBAF585C871124824858719674368_2a91ef73c63.5.1.6477600286960693871.mp4?versionId=OQ6TZRRN7P8HWemfUqnT6cIzyhFsBLF8

  3. Just had a request from a Mr Brian Williamson: “Anything about bumble rock being an ancient man-made owl please? Myself and a friend are researching it!” Does anybody know the answer to this?

  4. Brian Williamson says:

    Hi! Ruth, it’s Brian again! I’ve done some interesting research! Owl is like (Masonic) Moloch in Bohemian Grove, Moloch was ancient Phoenician god, Phoenicians were ancient North Africans who came up to trade tin with The ancient Hispanic Celts in the area! Celtic God Arianrhod was also an owl! Who used to take dead through the night to the beyond, to the moon which was considered the land of the dead!

  5. Karen White says:

    How excting for you when you reached Lizard Point!

    • Brian Williamson says:

      Just saw your post Karen, I will be coming down for a few days, sleeping in the back of my old van, in the car park at bottom of Lizard. Feel jealous of those who live in Lizard Old Village (I’m from grimy Dover). Why not visit The Minack Theatre and park there (free all day) and hike round coastal path to Land’s End! Remember to take path up over the top at Mill’s Bay though (it’s far safer). Gwnapp Head Coastal Lookout is also good!

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