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.  


  1. Gorgeous shots, Mel. What's a cream tea? I haven't heard of that before.

    1. Thanks, Karen. No trip to South West England is complete without a cream tea. A variation on afternoon tea, it's a scone (or two!) with fresh clotted cream and jam, served with a pot of tea. Delicious! Given how many of them I ate while on the trip, I can't believe I didn't take a photo of one of them!

  2. The rock formations are interesting. They look like a group of people huddled together. Such great photos, Mel.

    1. They do, Elisabeth! It was very impressive because it was quite a different rock formation from the others that we'd seen. Such sheer rocks - if I hadn't seen the climbers, I wouldn't have believed they could be climbed.

  3. Gorgeous, Mel! Thanks for sharing the pics. I would love to have done the hike with you--especially the pub part :-)

  4. Thanks, DV. If you ever get the chance to hike there, I'd definitely recommend it. I think it was the thought of the pub at the end of the day that kept us going! The drinks that day were definitely well deserved:-)