The bus from Newquay takes an hour and the route is tortuous with constant stops along the narrow lanes to negotiate rights-of-way with oncoming traffic. We pass by the tiny Newquay Airport. You might be lulled to sleep by the endless journey, and if you nod off you could easily miss the stop at Porthcothan.
I walk along the northern shore of Porthcothan Cove. It is 11:40am on a Monday morning and the sands, exposed by the low tide, are almost empty.
Near the mouth of the inlet, I take photographs of the wonderful rocks. The two pinnacles were the dancing ‘sharks’ I saw yesterday and behind them is a rock with an archway carved through its heart. [Sadly this arch has since been destroyed by the winter storms of 2013/14.]
The next section of the path is easy walking along the top of cliffs, with the Quies Rocks for company out at sea.
In some places, land slips due to erosion have forced diversions in the South West Coast Path.
I pass above Fox Cove, Warren Cove, Pepper Cove, and I’m soon looking out across Booby’s Bay to Dinas Head. The lighthouse of Trevose Head is visible beyond.
The bays in front are crowded. The first section is Treyarnon Bay, the next is Constantine Bay, the further one is Booby’s Bay. This area is known for good surfing.
Down on Treyarnon Beach, people are setting up for the day. I am always amused by the English custom of erecting windshields and constructing little houses on the sand. I liked the friendly young woman collecting money for the lifeguards.
At the far end of the beach the path rises to cross over from Treyarnon and into Constantine Bay.
I stop for a rest on a bench and am amused by the plaque. Usually benches are dedicated to dead people, but this particular bench is supplied by Malcolm Wilkins who, despite residing in Gravesend, is still very much alive. Or, at least, he was in 2008.
Between the bays are flat rock formations, perfect places for rock-pool dipping. I clamber over them, enjoying the challenge of finding a way across the maze of stones, weeds, and water. Paradise for children.
Booby’s Bay is a wonderful name. There are life guards patrolling the sands and out at sea are the great lumps of the Quies (on the left of the photo) and The Bull (on the far right of the photo). From this angle, The Bull looks like a giant shark’s fin.
Leaving the beach and heading for Dinas Head, I come across a coffee van. At first it seems unmanned. The lady who runs it has a dog and she has taken him for a quick walk. When she returns, I buy a cup of excellent coffee and later I take a photograph of her and her dog and the van.
The path rises slowly up towards Dinas Head.
I guess this is where the roof of a large underground cave collapsed.
The hole is so large it is impossible to get a decent photo of it, but I take this photo from the other side. The beach in the distance is Constantine Bay, where I have just been.
When I get to Dinas Head, the official South West Coast Path cuts across the peninsula, but I see a track and decide – in a moment of madness – to walk around the steep slopes close to the sea, planning to rejoin the main path on the other side of the headland.
A kestrel is hovering above and I take some unsuccessful photos. Every time I get close, he moves away. But looking up helps me to distract myself from the fear of falling.
When I get to the other side, my mad scramble seems worth it because I get a wonderful view of Trevose Head Lighthouse.
It is a relief to re-join the South West Coast Path. The remainder of the walk is scenically very attractive and relatively easy.
I think I can see my destination, Trevone, in the distance. I am nearly there!
I sit on a seat above a lifeboat station and pull out my map. After a while, I realise the view ahead is not Trevone, but I am looking at a place called Polventon or Mother Ivey’s Bay. I still have some way to go before I get to my planned destination.
Mother Ivey’s Bay is dominated by a sprawling holiday camp and the beach is crowded. The largish house is, I think, what gives the place its name – Mother Ivey’s Cottage.
Annoyingly, the path is diverted from the coast and you have to walk behind a high fence and hedge, with no sea views, around the outside of this private property.
The path is busy. People coming and going to the beach.
At the end of the private property, I finally get to enjoy the view back across the bay. Over on the other side is the slope I walked down, the lifeboat station and the line of craggy rocks that guard the mouth of the bay.
Onwards. And this section of the coast is crowded. There are numerous little bays, with a combination of sand and rocks and wonderful clear water. The bays don’t seem to coincide with the markings on my map, and so I soon lose my bearing. But it doesn’t matter. The sun is warm and everybody is having fun.
I see an organised group, all in wet suits, standing on a rock. They might be coasteering.
In other places, youngsters do back-flips off rocks and into the waves beneath. I don’t take their photographs, nervous of encouraging dangerous dives for the benefit of my photography.
The tide is coming in and people are being squeezed onto smaller and smaller strips of sand. In this bay the ice-cream van is in danger of sinking into the sand. Water laps around its back tires. I quickly buy a cone and sit on the grass to eat it.
Further along and the shore is rockier, the crowds thin out. I think I must be at a place called Harlyn Bridge. My map shows a wide surfing beach, but the tide is high and I think the sand is covered.
Around another headland, and I finally come to Trevone. This is a long inlet, similar to Porthcothan but wider and with a larger village at its apex.
I have to walk a mile inland, uphill, to find the main road in order to catch the bus back to Newquay. Knowing I have plenty of time before the bus, I stop at a pub half way along the road. It turns out to be a gently decaying hotel and I drink a cider while enjoying great views over a rambling garden, sloping farmland, and the sea beyond.
Miles waked = 9 miles
Total distance = 1,269 miles