We will be driving just over one-hundred miles today as we head along the south coast of Cornwall to Land’s End, and back up the north coast towards Newquay. The weather has improved from yesterday’s miserable effort – yay!
Photo of the day
The stunning Porthcurno Beach.
After leaving our base for the night at Helston, we drove straight down to the coast at Portleven to take in the early morning views back down the west side of the the Lizard Peninsula.
Portleven Harbour was just waking up on this early Sunday morning.
At Rinsey Cove we walked down to Wheal Prosper, an old engine house that was used to pump water out of undersea copper and tin mines. Even the National Trust car park had been built above an old mine shaft.
Wow, what a position for a house. Perched on Rinsey Head with magnificent views across Mount’s Bay to Mousehole, Black Rock and Lamorna.
Marazion and St Michael’s Mount
St Michael’s Mount across Mount’s Bay came into view as we drove towards Marazion. Over the years the original Abbey on the island was absorbed into a fort, then later a grand house built by the St Aubyn family. When we have time we would like to go back and take the ferry across to explore the small island properly.
Penzance was a curious town, and like Falmouth yesterday, it was larger than we had expected. Walking down Chapel street we came across the unusual Egyptian House.
Further down the road there was a Cornish pirate on the roof of the local pub (Admiral Benbow Inn).
Cutting down to the harbour, tall palm trees surrounded St Mary the Virgin Church.
The very smart and newly renovated Penzance Jubilee Outdoor Bathing Pool. Remind us, where are we again? It looked like the Mediterranean not Cornwall…
More pirates at the next pub!
The Newlyn South Pier Lighthouse at the entrance to Newlyn harbour, just southwest of Penzance. The harbour is home to the largest fishing fleet in Britain.
Yes, you read right, there is a place called Mousehole. What a cool name, though it is actually pronounced ‘Mowzall’. We stopped by the Rockpool Cafe to look at the views across Mount’s Bay….
…. and south to the granite cottages overlooking Mousehole’s harbour front. We then set-off to wind our way through its narrow Cornish lanes.
Continuing on towards Land’s End, we drove alongside a trout stream, through the beautifully wooded Lamorna Valley, down to Lamorna Cove.
Waste from the cove’s 19th and early 20th century granite quarries was precariously heaped down the hillside. The cottages looked a little to close to those huge boulders for comfort. The quarries had been used to provide granite to build London’s Thames Embankment.
The view out past Black Rock to Mount’s Bay. Wandering around the quay, we noticed this sign on the way back to the car… bit late.
The cove’s waters were crystal clear.
No chance of having our morning coffee here, the Lamorna Cove Cafe was closed until next year.
The truly spectacular open-air Minack Theatre at Porthcurno, with its stunning turquoise sea backdrop. The brainchild of Rowena Cade, who started building the theatre with her gardener in the early 1930s, a true inspiration. The entry fee also included access to a small but interesting exhibition telling the theatre’s story.
The theatre really was the highlight of our day. We would love to come back in season and join the 80,000 people that enjoy a performance here every year.
Porthcurno Beach, next to the Minack Theatre, was equally impressive. The golden sand and the turquoise sea were glowing in the midday sun.
Finally we reached Land’s End, the most westerly point of mainland England and Cornwall. Land’s End should be 838 miles by road from the most northeasterly point of mainland Britain, John o’ Groats. However, after leaving John o’ Groats on day 24, we traveled the long way around! 😉
The rather brutal looking Longships Lighthouse, just off Land’s End on Carn Bras.
Waves crashing over the rocky coastline surrounding Land’s End.
We had great views north from Land’s End across the rather choppy Whitsand Bay to Cape Cornwall.
Driving north along Whitsand Bay, we arrived at Pendeen and the National Trust’s Levant Mine. Like Wheal Prosper this morning, these were the remains of engine houses that pumped water from the undersea copper and tin mines.
The National Trust had restored many of the buildings, and the site contains the only remaining and operating Cornish beam steam engine in the world.
From the Levant Mine we could also see Pendeen Watch Lighthouse, looking out across Cornwall’s northwestern peninsula. Though it was tricky to get a good shot, as it was so windy.
As we passed another National Trust mine at Carn Galver, the coastal road started to feel more barren and windswept.
St Senara’s Church in the small village of Zennor. Alphabetically, Zennor is the last parish in Britain…. random fact of the day! 😉
Continuing along the B3306 towards St Ives we had sweeping views past Treveal to the Atlantic Ocean.
Arriving in St Ives, we made our first stop at Porthmeor Beach looking towards St Nicholas Chapel on the headland.
Waves were crashing against the rocks below the Southwest Coastal Path.
Salty sea spray filled the the afternoon air behind Porthmeor Beach and the Tate St Ives.
As we left the town we looked back at the Harbour Beach and the St Ives New Lighthouse at the end of Smeatons Pier. We had seen its identical twin lighthouse yesterday morning at Mevagissey…. who would have know this trip would lead to a deeper lighthouse interest and knowledge! 😉
Looking back across St Ives Bay and kite-surfers enjoying the breeze at Gwithian Beach.
We look a bit cold at windy Gwithian Beach!
Godrevy Island and its lighthouse, northeast along Gwithian Beach.
Godrevy-Portreath Heritage Coast
Driving along the cliff tops towards Portreath we stopped to peer over the edge of Hell’s Mouth towards Navax Point.
Then a little further along the coastal road, the red North Cliffs seemed to be crumbling away. You can just make out St Agnes Head in the distance.
Looking behind us, golden sun-rays were bursting through the cloudy late afternoon sky.
Continuing our journey towards Newquay, we made a quick stop to look down on Porthtowan Beach.
The National Trust Chapel Porth Beach was nestled into a cosy quiet cove just south of St Agnes Head.
The sunlight had almost gone by the time we reached Perranporth Beach, hence a slightly grainy picture! But the Watering Hole cafe lit up on the beach looked quite inviting. Newquay was our next stop for the night.
Today we will be driving down to the most southerly point of mainland Britain, having already visited the most westerly, northerly and easterly points earlier on this trip! The unpredictable British weather has generally been kind to us along our journey, but today will be very wet…
Photo of the day
Fishing boats at Cadgwith Cove.
After leaving St Austell we followed the St Austell River to Pentewan. We were going to get soaking wet if we had walked to the beach, so made do with visiting the village set-back from the seafront.
Leaving Pentewan heading to Mevagissey with views over the rolling fields to the coast.
Mevagissey was still slowly waking up on this rainy Saturday morning. Everyone else had clearly decided it was better to stay in bed.
Mevagissey still has a working fishing harbour, but it was very quiet this morning.
We had just driven down the crazy narrow Church Street into Gorran Haven.
A stream tumbling down Gorran Haven Beach.
A few paddle-boarders were testing the waves at Porthluney Beach, at the foot of the Caerhays Estate.
Portloe was a really cosy coastal village. It had a lovely genuine feel to it.
The small boat slipway nestled into the valley.
A rather rocky looking entrance to the tiny harbour.
As we arrived at the National Trust Pendower Beach the heavens opened and it absolutely poured with rain. After a while we made a quick dash for the beach with our umbrellas, and through the rain manged to catch views across Gerrans Bay.
We then continued our journey down the Roseland Peninsula to St Mawes.
We had visited St Mawes and the castle last year with Julian’s parents, so we just made a brief stop in the small town. However, we still managed enough time to squeeze in a morning coffee and sausage roll from the famous local Curtis bakery.
The passenger ferry to Falmouth in St Mawes Harbour.
St Just in Roseland
St Just’s Church tower peeping above the trees through the church lych gate.
The 13th century St Just’s Church in a charming wooded valley overlooking Carrick Roads.
Exploring the church grounds.
The church was quite compact inside, it felt almost chapel like.
King Harry Ferry
Avoiding a long trip north via Truro, we cut across the River Fal from Philleigh to Feock on the King Harry Ferry.
The ferry captain kept watch as we crossed the river.
A surprisingly large Dutch ship was anchored in the River Fal.
Exploring the National Trust Trelissick grounds, looking down to Channals Creek and the River Fal. Still raining!
We made our next stop at Falmouth, which was much larger and busier than we had been expecting. It actually made quite a nice change from the quiet fishing villages. We discovered the port is the busiest in Cornwall.
Yay! Finally we found some ‘beach huts’ in Cornwall at Falmouth’s Discovery Quay.
Falmouth’s Custom House Quay, with Flushing and Carrick Roads through the drizzle in the background.
From Pendennis Head we could just about see across to St Anthony Lighthouse south of St Mawes.
Gyllyngvase Beach just south of Falmouth, overlooking Falmouth Bay.
As we continued our journey south to the Lizard peninsula we crossed over the Helford River at Gweek.
The satellite dishes at Goonhilly Earth Station suddenly appeared on the horizon, so we made a quick stop at the nearby Goonhilly Downs National Nature Reserve to take a closer look.
Coverack Beach and Cove with views over to Lowland Point. The small village was still recovering from a flash flood that had damaged property and the sea wall earlier in the year.
A sunshine yellow fishing boat adding a bit of colour to this grey day.
Cadgwith Cove felt like another cozy and authentic Cornish village.
Cottages nestled around the narrow streets.
Finally we made it to The Lizard.
The Lizard Lighthouse, dating back to 1752, sitting above the lighthouse keeper cottages.
Lizard Point, the most southerly point of mainland Britain.
On day 17 of our coastal road trip we visited the most westerly point of mainland Britain at Ardnamurchan. On day 24 we visited the most northerly point at Dunnet Head. On day 35 we reached the most easterly point at Ness Point. Then today (day 45) we finally reached the most southerly point at Lizard Point!
And it was so quiet, just us and another couple. Hint, to miss the crowds visit on a cold rainy late Saturday afternoon in November! So that was our final stop of the day before we drove back up the western side of the Lizard peninsula to Helston for the night.