The Monthly Newsletter of Chelmsford YHA Local Group
A Happy Cornish New Year
Traditionally we always do a round-up of the year at our AGM in October, so it’s easy to forget that there are still another couple of months to the end of the year. So what did we pack into those couple of months? It’s hard to top trips like Berlin and our Lake District mega-hike, but our weekend at Buckden Towers in Cambridgeshire was fabulous. Fantastic weather and some gorgeous walks, plus a really good pub round the corner – and all in the setting of a Tudor Bishops Palace.
There was slightly less fantastic weather for our walk round Epping Forest at the end of November. By the end we were quite bedraggled, but it made the posh coffee in the pub at the end of the walk all the more appreciated.
Luckily the weather was back on the sunny side for our week in Cornwall. Tregedna Farm bunkhouse was lovely, and the perfect base for exploring the Falmouth area. We had superb walks along the cliff tops meandering in and out of inlets and over headlands.
Some of had an icy day out on Bodmin Moor conquering Brown Willy and discovering some freezing cold bogs. From the highest point in Cornwall you can see both the north and south coasts at the same time – and we had the perfect conditions to see just that.
On the same day some of our party were down by The Lizard, witnessing the turquoise seas at Kynance Cove.
I think virtually everyone made it to the Maritime Museum in Falmouth at least once. This is a seriously good museum and the special exhibition on Seaking Helicopter rescues was particularly memorable.
Thirteen Miles for Five Pilchards and a Coffee
On Monday 29th December we did a lovely walk from our base at Tregedna Lodge along the coast from the Ferryboat Inn at North Helford Passage, in and out of the coastal crinkles all the way back to Maenporth. This not all that far from Coverack, the start of a walk last time we visited Cornwall. Not far at all. In fact, about 13 miles as the coast crinkles.
13 miles is pretty ambitious for a late December walk, so to maximise the available daylight we breakfasted before 8am and were out on the road by 8:20am. After some torturous driving along narrow country lanes our boots hit the path at Coverack about an hour later.
Coverack is one of the rare places where you can see the meeting of the Earth’s crust with the mantle – a Moho. Apparently it’s all laid out there on the beach with the mantle to your right and the crust to your left. Our route took us out to the left over the gabbro rocks of the ocean crust. It was hard to believe that this was formerly molten lava, particularly as the poor drainage meant that the first couple of miles had us slithering about in mud. But gabbro is useful stuff, all bashed up it makes a great road surface and up until 2008 an excellent Cornish export - hence an impressive quarry at Lowland Point.
A little further on and a second quarry drives you inland form the coast and away from the infamous Manacle rocks. Whilst it was a pity to leave the coast on such a beautiful day, it did give us a change of scenery and a stroll through a field of daffodils.
Back on the coast, we reached Porthallow just before lunch and the five of us couldn’t resist a refreshment stop at The Five Pilchards for five pints of Cornish Chough. This was a super little pub and the dose of alcohol helped the next mile or two fly by till we got to Nare Point. This headland has a Coastwatch station and the guys kindly let us borrow their telescopes to take a peek at the ship traffic coming in and out of Falmouth Bay.
Gillan Harbour was probably the most scenic bit of the walk and the views from Flushing to St Anthony-Meneage were superb – mirror calm waters reflecting trees and traditional cottages in the late afternoon light.
Oops. Late afternoon? And we still have at least 3 miles to go! We staggered into Helford just as twilight hit, but it was proper dark by the time we got down to the ferry jetty (Fergus insisted, just to make sure we covered every inch of the Coast Path) and we could see the lights of The Ferryboat Inn just across the water.
So, thirteen miles full of ups and downs, ins and outs and great scenery - nothing for it but a nice hot coffee in the welcome warmth of the Shipwrights Arms. The others even kept some dinner for us. Perfect.
Please send any comments on these pages to Dave Plummer