As we drive back and forth between Cornwall’s north and south coast I am constantly amazed at how we travel from a remote cliff framed countryside of fishermen and old tin mines across rolling plains of pasture and crops to the southern coast’s Mediterranean climate and the extraordinary flora that thrives there. All this in a space under 40 miles wide. A magical place indeed! Today’s adventure takes us back to the north coast, starting at Zennor.
Our hosts, Sue and Graham recommended we visit this quaint little village on the north coast and do some of the coastal walk there. Another great recommendation as it turns out.
We started at the little church in the main square. From there we headed east through fields in farm country… we even met some cows and chickens along the way. One of the farms “Wicca” had a sign saying that these fields had been farmed since the bronze and iron ages!
We decided on the short loop instead of the long one that would have had us walking to St Ives and back…this was supposed to be about 8.5 km…turned out to be more like 11km, but who’s counting! Anyway, the pasture walking was lovely and we made it to our turn north to the coast in about 45 min. I thought “Great!” This will be a quick walk and then on to St Ives. And then we got to the coast! I should have taken the hint when a woman we met on the trail said that she didn’t do the coastal route because the days of her rock scrabbling were behind her.
Our walk started out fine…narrow paths, winding around headlands and inlets all along the way. Of course, each time there was a stream creating a lovely waterfall in a bay, it meant you had to go closer to the shore (down, down, down) to cross it, and then of course, back up it! Lots and lots of up and down and back and forth…and did I mention the boulders we often had to climb over or around. This was the first of our walks where 4 point scrambling was needed…at least by me! All this complaining, but it was an absolutely beautiful walk..not rain, but cloud formations that were astounding.
Once back at Zennor, I took a little side trip into the small church to tour it and see if I could find the 400 year old carved pew with a mermaid on it. Legend has it that there was a choir boy there with the most beautiful of voices. One day a mermaid heard him sing, and decided to follow the voice as she herself loved to sing. They met, fell in love and were last seen swimming out Pendour Cove. This carving was done in memory of this young man.
We had thought we would grab a quick lunch at the pub, but missed the last serving by 15 minutes! On we went to St Ives, where I wanted to have a quick visit to the Tate Modern, St Ives. This is a lovely community purportedly attracting contemporary and modern artists included Barbara Hepworth around the time of the Second World War. The gallery is small, but makes for a striking building on the shores of a massive beach.
After our quick visit, we got back into the car and headed to Newquay and Fistral Beach (a surfing haven) where we had reservations at Paul Harwood’s “The Fish House”. This restaurant received a Michelin plate in 2021, and the meal was stellar!
As we left the restaurant, the sun was just beginning to set. What a joy to see the setting sun over the ocean! It certainly lifted our spirits for the drive home!
Tomorrow will be our last full day in Cornwall. We have thoroughly enjoyed our stay in this wonderful corner of England. From hiking, to wonderful seafood; yummy pasties and sumptuous scones with clotted cream; historical sites and whimsical…there is something for everyone to enjoy in this part of the world! Until tomorrow!
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