Walking the South-West coast path….6th August

20180806_101001.jpgWell a tiny bit of it actually. When we retired down here one of my objectives was to walk the parts of the path not already covered on earlier holidays. But for one reason and another – I don’t like walking on my own particularly (and F. isn’t into the ups and downs of the path any more), and the fact there are so many other things to do – I haven’t made any concerted efforts. Today was my first planned walk. We drove to the pretty little cove of Polkerris and, arriving by about 10am there weren’t many folk around and parking was no problem. There was a nice atmosphere. Leaving the beach we walked fairly steeply up the hill……20180806_101127.jpgthrough some pleasant woods…..20180806_101758.jpg20180806_102030.jpgand emerged onto a path with brilliant views of St Austell Bay….we noted the china clay works at Par (ok not pretty but interesting), Par beach, Carlyon bay, the headland hiding Charlestown, Mevagissey, and other enticing inlets…20180806_102749.jpg20180806_102442.jpgand the sea was beautiful, almost tropical……….anyway after a short while, as planned, F. turned on her heels and went back to enjoy a coffee on the beach and I proceeded on my walk to be met by her at the other end in Fowey.20180806_110353.jpgSoon the marker on top of Gribbin Head came into view, and after a number of the ups and downs for which the Path is infamous…..20180806_111339.jpg20180806_111559.jpgI reached the tower itself…Erected by Trinity House ‘for the safety of commerce and the preservation of mariners’ the tower pinpoints the approach to Fowey’s narrow and rocky harbour entrance.  This meant that sailors did not mistake the treacherous shallows of St Austell Bay for the deep waters of Falmouth harbour. William Rashleigh of Menabilly who granted the land for the tower expressed his hope that they would ‘make the Beacon an ornament to my grounds’; thus the tenders issued by Trinity House were for the erection of a ‘very handsome Greco Gothic Square Tower’. Must return on a Sunday in August when you can climb to the top for a stupendous panorama …20180806_112641.jpgMoving steeply down from the tower I caught a glimpse of a rather nice looking bay and then saw what appeared to be chalk cliffs (probably slate as is nearly all the coastline in Cornwall)…20180806_113030-1-1.jpg20180806_113528.jpg20180806_113859.jpg20180806_114031.jpg ……….one great thing about walking the coastal path is that you often find great views ahead of you (above) and behind (below)…..20180806_115817.jpgA very small cove with just two busy rock-poolers on it…20180806_121310.jpgwas followed by the beach at Polridmouth pronounced locally as “pridmuth”.20180806_125348.jpgThe cottage behind the beach is thought to be the inspiration for the boathouse in Daphne Du Maurier’s novel “Rebecca”, and indeed just inland from here is Menabilly which since the 16th Century, has been the ancestral home of the Rashleigh family, who originated as powerful merchants. The gardens were landscaped and the surrounding woodland was planted in the 18th Century. The house was rebuilt after a fire in 1822 and was greatly extended in size.                                                                                                      During the early 20th century, John Rashleigh III resided mainly near Okehampton and the house fell into decay. It was leased to Daphne du Maurier in 1943, who restored it and lived there until 1969 when it was returned to the Rashleigh family, who occupy it once again. Manderley, in Du Marier’s novel Rebecca, is thought to be based on Menabilly.                                                                                                                                               The ornamental lakes by the cottage were created in the 1920s by the building of a dam. It was used as the basis of a decoy airfield in the Second World War to emulate Fowey harbour. Dams additional to the one remaining were built to create a fake harbour and lights were then placed around the lake orchestrated to emulate those in Fowey. At least one bomb is known to have been drawn away from Fowey, and on average, it has been estimated that around 5% of German bombs were diverted by decoys, saving thousands of lives across the whole of Britain.20180806_125330 2.jpg  Another steepish climb out of the bay, more views back……20180806_125047.jpgand then a descent to a stream bed which had dried up in the extreme hot weather we are having which, curious, I followed for a few yards down to a totally deserted little beach where I enjoyed (another) well-deserved rest….20180806_131857.jpgand then a first sight of Polruan which lies opposite to Fowey…20180806_120949.jpg20180806_121519.jpg20180806_121001.jpg20180806_124803.jpgbefore descending to Readymoney Cove by this time of the day quite busy….20180806_123436.jpg20180806_124054.jpgFrom there a short stroll into Fowey to meet F. and a most welcome pint and a half at The Fowey Hotel20180806_125055.jpgwith its amazing view……in front…..20180806_130955.jpgand behind….20180806_131130.jpgChatting to the friendly barman we found out that the hotel had changed hands only the previous week, and expansion plans were afoot. I do hope they preserve this original and very ornate lift…..what a great survival from the age of elegance!20180806_134327.jpg To finish off we had a contemplative but uplifting ten minutes sit in the Grammar School gardens which are lovely and which apparently not many people know about…..20180806_135041.jpgas they walk oblivious pass the entrance…..20180806_134854.jpgA very good day. My phone tells me that I walked 15771 steps today, somewhat over my daily target of 6000(!), being a total distance of 7.36 miles. What I learned is that this will be my maximum on the Path at any one time. I felt that, what with all the ups and downs, I had done enough. It might take me a long while to fill in the gaps, but hey what’s the hurry?

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