A proper cliff stank – Morvah to St Just.

Walking with bus rides is a new venture for me that means I can cover a whole lot more distance, without having to use the car.

You can get to Morvah from Tregiffian on the West Penwith Community Bus which you can catch at the Friends Burial Ground (the junction off the A30 to the airport and St Just above Trevedra Camp Site). If you’re in St Just catch the bus at the bus station by the main car park.

Morvah is a sweet hamlet of only ten or so houses, but with a lovely simple church that I’ve written about previously on this link. There’s a gallery and café too that makes a good stop off even if you’re not going on a big walk.

Morvah Church

Morvah Church

Our stank (walk) starts just past the church where the footpath goes over a stile and then around the back of the church before heading down to the cliff path. It often has a stream running down the path so this walk is best tackled in wellies rather than walking boots (I love the way Microsoft would have corrected that to willies).

Inside Morvah Church

Inside Morvah Church

On reaching the coastal path I turned left, so that the sea was on my right, and straight away I was grateful of my boots again. There has been a lot of water falling in the last few weeks and the paths are sodden.

In many places the cliffs are being grazed in an attempt to promote a healthier mix of vegetation, and on the first section there was a family of young cows and calves. The smallest calf didn’t seem much bigger than Polly and dog and cow shared a curiosity that will turn to mutual fear in just a few days.

If your dog isn’t used to cattle please pop it on a lead, but in the unlikely even of the cows turning on you let the dog go free, they’re more interested in the dog than you and shep can always run out of danger.

The first major descent of the path takes you down to Portheras Cove, the lovely beach where Amanda and I took all our wedding guests for pasty and champagne on the beach. Portheras is dog friendly all year and is rarely busy as a happy consequence of being hard to find and an effort to walk to.

Portheras in winter www.thecornishway.co.uk

Some years when a big storm washes the sand away, remains of the ship Alacrity are uncovered. It went down off the beach in thick fog back in 1963 and now much of it has been dragged out of the sea by the great volunteers and Friends of Portheras Cove.

At the moment there’s loads of sand there, and even little Boat Cove at the western end of the beach is sandy, and yesterday there was a family of seven seals at Boat Cove making a right old racket.

I knew I had a good few miles ahead of me this morning and so despite Polly’s excitement at the potential of sand between her toes, we carried on along the path above the beach battling against a heck of a head wind up to the stunning Pendeen Watch lighthouse.

Pendeen Watch

Pendeen Watch

Already we have had beautiful cliffs, a great beach, a sweet hamlet with church and gallery, but that’s typical of these parts and there’s more excitement to come yet.

Pendent Watch in better weather.

Pendent Watch in better weather.

At Pendeen Watch it’s necessary to walk up the road for a couple of hundred yards. The path cuts down to the right again after you’ve passed most of the coastguard’s cottages.

Past Pendeen Watch towards Geevor

Past Pendeen Watch towards Geevor

Soon you’re deep in mining heritage, first with Geevor, our last tin mine, that closed in 1990, and then the older extensive workings around the fascinating Levant which has a working beam engine. The miners worked up to a mile out under the sea bed from Levant, and there was a disaster there in 1919 when 31 men were killed. The mine closed in 1930, but has recently had new life as a Poldark location.

Looking up to Geevor

Looking up to Geevor

Geevor

Geevor

Continuing our walk we near Botallack, and if you fancy a fine pint and some food follow the track that starts at Roscommon, past the Count House and it’ll come out a couple of hundred yards above the Queen’s Inn.

Yesterday instead I carried on the cliff path, with the Crown Mines perched on their edge beneath me.

The points of interest don’t cease, but my typing ability does! Just the story of these few miles could fill a book, but this is designed as a short read, to tempt you out there, and hopefully to do some research of your own.

Last up there are the ancient settlement remains at Kenidjack, the mining valley of Tregeseal, and then the climb up through Boscean to St Just for lunch.

St Just was my stopping point yesterday, but if you’re heading onward to Tregiffian there are just two miles to go.

The walk yesterday took me two and a half hours including a diversion around a big herd of cattle that was taking up the road from Boscean. It was a shade under 7 miles, that’s the total walk, not the diversion.

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