SWCP Day 15. Gurnard’s Head to Mayon Cliff (past Sennen Cove)

Today’s distance walked – approx 22 kms (13.65 miles).
Ascent – approx 715m (2345ft).

I woke when the sun hit my tent at around 5.40am. I had a quick coffee and half a chocolate pastry I’d managed to save for breakfast (exercising incredible willpower). I’d had a morning tea invitation from Mike who I met yesterday. He’d overnighted in his truck a few Kms up the road, so I got myself together and headed off.

Morning tea and Daphne
Morning tea and Daphne

It was another beautifully hot sunny day, and I enjoyed the stroll to the parking spot. I got a surprise when I saw Mike’s vehicle, it was a huge ex-army-ambulance Volvo truck – something you could travel the world in. I’ve forgotten the name (sorry Mike!) but I’ll to refer to it (now her) as Daphne because by all accounts she can be a bit of a princess sometimes and is slightly temperamental. Mike made us tea and supplied the biscuits – chocolate digestives! We climbed up onto the roof of Daphne and spent a very lovely few hours in the sun, marvelling at the lovely view, waving to passers by, and drinking tea. I showed incredible restraint yet again by not eating all the biscuits :-).

Muddiest part of the SWCP to date
Muddiest part of the SWCP to date

It was really nice to have a morning off the trail. When I got going again my legs felt really fresh. The walk around to Pendeen Watch lighthouse was much the same as yesterday. It was a rocky path, boggy in some places, not overly hilly, a couple of little sandy coves and with wonderful views.

Portheras Cove
Portheras Cove

Something I’ve been noticing the past few days, have been the really pretty, slightly ornamental farm gates separating strips of land and grazing animals. Some of them have been really beautiful. Same with the bridges across little streams, which have often been one or two enormous slabs of granite.

Pendeen Watch lighthouse
Pendeen Watch lighthouse

From the lighthouse everything changed quite dramatically, and I walked into a stretch of trail which is a step back in time to Cornwall’s mining days – the Tin Coast. There were lots of disused mines among this section for around 7kms which made for a fascinating walk.

Cornwall's tin coast
Cornwall’s tin coast – Levant mine

The final part of today’s trail into Sennen was another amazing section. The lower sea cliffs and moorland were beautiful. It was hilly and rocky in places with even a little bit of scrambling towards Sennen. This part took in the little headland of Cape Cornwall, where I bought a cake for tomorrow’s breakfast, and stopped to watch some kids playing in the sea. The sea was so clear and turquoise it was like being in the Mediterranean.

Turquoise waters near Cape Cornwall
Turquoise waters near Cape Cornwall

I came into Sennen Cove around 4.30pm and immediately went for a swim at the sandy beach. The water was pretty cold, but it was just what my tired, dusty legs needed after 15 days on the trail!

First glimpse of Sennen Cove and Land's End
First glimpse of Sennen Cove and Land’s End

Afterwards I treated myself to a huge ice-cream from the beach side store. I wandered up into the little town and met Kerstin, a German girl who I’d said hello to yesterday. We chatted for a little while about the trail and where we’d stay tonight. The campsite was a couple of miles back the way we’d come (uphill too), and Kerstin decided to walk on to find a wild camp instead. I was pretty adamant that I was going to stay at the campsite as I needed to wash my clothes, but upon reflection, I couldn’t be bothered to walk back 2 miles uphill either, so at 6pm I started walking again. I popped in to a cafe to refill my water, and the lovely girl there gave me a free piece of cake to take away!! Fabulous!! I caught up with Kerstin and we got a wild pitch just out of town on the cliff right by a shipwreck.
We shared the cake and had a nice evening chatting as the sun slowly set over the sea. We were driven into our tents by the hoardes of little flies, a first on this trip. For some reason they preferred my tent, and the sound of hundreds of tiny flies landing on the fabric sounded like raindrops.

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