Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Walking the South West Coastal Path - Day 5 - Sennen to Lamorna Cove, Cornwall, UK


Day 5 was our longest walk, 13 miles from Sennen to Lamorna Cove. Almost as soon as we left Sennen we could see our first landmark  - Land's End - in the distance. 


Land's End is the westernmost point of Cornwall. I'd been there before many years ago and remembered that there was a First and Last Refreshment House and a hotel, but to my surprise, I discovered there is now also a theme park! Apparently, until 1982 Land's End was owned by a Cornish family but since then has been sold several times and between 1987 and 1991 the then-owner added two new buildings and the park. I can't say I think it was a positive development. I find it hard to understand why people can't just enjoy the natural beauty of such a place without needing to have added attractions.



The First and Last Refreshment House was built in the 19th Century and still serves snacks and souvenirs



Heading away from Land's End, the scenery became more dramatic with rugged cliffs and rocky outcrops.




Enys Dodnan and the Armed Knight Rock
At this point, the path was relatively flat, following the cliff top with no obvious access to the caves below except by boat. This area was famous for smugglers so they must have found a way to get up with their loot!


This unusual rock formation is apparently a popular place for rock-climbing. We stopped to watch two climbers make their way down. It's not an activity that appeals to me!



But I do like eating cream teas, so the Porthgwarra Cove Cafe was a welcome sight. 


After fortifying ourselves for the rest of the walk we continued on the path to St. Levan's well, a pre-Christian holy well perched on the cliff top. The water is considered to have healing properties and is still used by the church for baptisms. 


Our next stop was the Minack Theater, an open-air theater built into the side of the cliffs offering not only a full program of drama and music but also amazing views.

Minack Theater

There was a play in progress while we were there but we were allowed onto a viewing platform and were able to look down on the auditorium and stroll in the theater's sub-tropical garden.







From the theater, steep steps lead down to Porthcurno Beach. The steps are part of the Coastal Path which meant that, after a quick spot of sunbathing on the beach, the next stretch of the path was all uphill.


It was a relief to get back onto the moors.

We weren't the only ones on the moors.

But it wasn't long before we were faced with yet another descent. This time into the small fishing village of Penberth Cove . Even before we got down into the village we could clearly see our next uphill climb.

Looking down on Penberth Cove







Stepping stones connect the path to the village



As we continued on towards Lamorna, the path became more varied. It took us across rocky beaches, twisted and turned through knee-high foliage, up and down rocky scrambles and along grassy walkways.


It's four miles from Penberth Cove to Lamorna and those four miles were probably the hardest miles of the trip. They weren't the most strenuous, but we'd already walked for hours and it was hard to judge how fast we were walking given the uneven terrain. Three times we approached a headland thinking Lamorna must surely be in sight - only to find yet another uninhabited stretch leading to the next headland!

Finally, we were rewarded with the view we had been looking for: Lamorna Cove.


A welcome sight for weary walkers




Though it turned out our walk wasn't quite over - our hotel, the Lamorna Cove Hotel, was up a steep hill from the cove!

A welcome sight - the Lamorna Cove Hotel

Originally a chapel, the building was converted to a hotel almost a hundred years ago and now offers self-catering apartments. The apartment was more than we needed for an overnight stay, but it was the only place with rooms available. It even included a full kitchen but as we had no food supplies we had to adjourn to the local pub, The Lamorna Wink, for dinner.


The Lamorna Wink

It proved to be the perfect end to a wonderful day. 


When Mel is not out exploring she writes contemporary fiction with a twist of mystery and suspense. Her latest novel Trust No One is now available from Amazon.  


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Sixty at Sixty - Walking in the City - The Tribute in Light, NY

I don't often get to walk in the city in the evening. The length of the commute from Westchester County makes it difficult to find companions willing to venture into the city for the evening, and safety issues rule out solo adventures, so when I heard about a Shorewalkers' walk in Brooklyn on September 11th to take in the sights of the Tribute in Light it seemed an ideal opportunity.

Tribute in Light is an art installation commemorating 9/11. Twin beams made up of 88 7000-watt light bulbs laid out to create two 48-foot squares representing the shape and location of the Twin Towers span four miles from the roof of a parking garage in Battery Park up into the sky. The lights are turned on at sunset and remain on until dawn on September 11th each year to honor the victims and can apparently be seen from 60 miles away.





On Monday, sunset was at 7.11 pm. Our walk started at 7 pm outside Brooklyn Borough Hall which displayed a banner listing the names of the victims from the neighborhood.







We headed out to the promenade to get our first view of Manhattan's lights. I wonder if there will ever be a time when you can take a photo of the city skyline that doesn't include a crane!


Many of the old piers in Brooklyn have now been re-purposed for recreational activities. The one below had a soccer pitch, the next had basketball courts, handball courts, a roller rink, and outdoor gym equipment. Judging from the number of people participating, the facilities are obviously very popular with local residents. What a wonderful location to exercise!



As darkness fell, the twin lights could be seen, the views getting more spectacular as it got darker:

7.47 pm


8.15 pm



The closer we got to Brooklyn Bridge, the more crowded the Waterfront became, everyone keen to get the perfect photo, whether it was with a phone or a top of the range camera perched on a tripod. I think I was definitely in the minority by using a basic digital camera!

8.44 pm



As we crossed the Brooklyn Bridge we could see small white specks circling within the beams. It turns out that these are migrating birds which are attracted by the artificial light. Unfortunately, once they fly into the light they become disorientated and can fly around in circles until they are exhausted or crash into windows. In order to protect the birds, Audubon volunteers monitor the number of birds that fly into the beam and if the number exceeds 1,000 or an exhausted bird drops to the ground, the lights are turned off for twenty minutes to allow the birds to get away from the light.

I think the lights of Manhattan are a magical sight at any time of the year, but with the somber addition of the Tribute in Light, this was definitely an evening to remember.


When Mel is not out exploring she writes contemporary fiction with a twist of mystery and suspense. Her latest novel Trust No One is now available from Amazon. 

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Walking the South West Coastal Path - Day 4 - St. Just to Sennen


Day 4,  we woke to sunshine and brilliant blue skies. a welcome sight after the previous day and given that our day's walk would end at Sennen Cove, one of Cornwall's most popular beaches.

Instead of heading straight to Sennen however, we decided to see some of what we had missed the previous day by walking to Cape Cornwall, a picturesque headland about a mile and a half along the path in the opposite direction to Sennen.




The three-mile round trip was well worth the extra effort. The scenery was fabulous.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Walking the South West Coastal Path - Day 3 - Zennor to St. Just


On day 3 we had planned to walk from Zennor to St. Just, a distance of just over twelve miles. Unfortunately, we woke to heavy rain and a forecast which predicted more of the same for the rest of the day.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Walking the South West Coastal Path - Day 2 - St. Ives to Zennor

Day 2 of our adventure started off overcast but given we had a ten-mile walk in front of us, we didn't mind too much. Just as long as it didn't rain, the mild temperature and lack of sun made for perfect walking conditions.

We retraced our route of the previous evening back into the center of St. Ives, past Porthminster Beach, and through the narrow streets of the old town. 

Monday, August 14, 2017

Walking the South West Coastal Path - Day 1 - St. Ives, Cornwall, UK




Day one of the trip was not supposed to include much walking. It was a day for getting to St Ives, the starting point of our walk, and saving our energy for the days ahead.  But St. Ives is a popular tourist destination and I'd had problems finding accommodation so we'd booked into the Green Apple Bed & Breakfast in Carbis Bay, two miles from the center of St Ives.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Sixty at Sixty - Walking the South West Coastal Path

Two years ago some friends from Cornwall came to stay. It had been many years since we'd last seen them and, eventually, the conversation turned to our latest hobbies and interests. When they learned how much I liked to walk, they suggested I should visit Cornwall and walk the Cornish Coastal Path. It sounded wonderful, the chance to partake in my favorite exercise amidst magnificent scenery and within sight of the ocean. And so the trip became another addition to my ever-expanding bucket list.