Sunday, 7 June 2009

My Birthday last year!!

Walk 1081 - St. Ives to Zennor, Cornwall

If you are coming to St. Ives for the summer and fancy walking the coast path from St. Ives to Zennor - a very very beautiful walk - please research and prepare for your walk a lot more thoroughly than I did!!

This is what I chose to do on my birthday last year!! To walk the coast path from Treloyhan Manor, St. Ives to Zennor believing it would be a manageable 6 miles or so. We had plenty of time, it didn't matter if it took a while and weatherwise it was good for walking - not too hot, not too cold, no direct sunlight ...

We set off at 11am, stopping in the harbour for a pasty for lunch (like you do) ... got to the sign at the far end of Porthmeor beach - sure enough it says "Zennor 6 1/4 miles" but whoever put the sign there was having a huge laugh!! It is to fool you!!

The coast path walk from St. Ives to Zennor is stunningly beautiful whatever the weather and when we set out we thought it would just be a pleasant walk for a couple of hours ... but it is hard, it is extreme in places, you need to be able to climb up and over huge rocks and boulders several feet high and the path was muddy and slippery in places with quite steep slopes near the cliff edge and nothing much to hold on to but grass ... I found it extremely hairy in places!! And if someone in your party had an accident or became ill there is no quick way to anywhere!!

Sparing you the details, the Cornish mizzle rolled in (mist / fine drizzle - the sort that gets in all your nooks and crannies) off of the sea around 4pm. It took us till 6pm to get to "The Tinners Arms" a lovely pub at Zennor, where I only just made it to the loo, then downed a pint of water and had to rush for the very last bus home to St. Ives even though I could hardly put one foot in front of the other. I was so tired and my feet were complaining like they've never complained before ... but we had to get home because we were booked in for dinner at "The Mermaid Seafood Restaurant" in Fish Street, St. Ives (a favourite and special place to go for birthdays!) and I wasn't going to miss that!

We didn't take it seriously! We took with us none of these things:
  • compass
  • map
  • walking boots
  • waterproofs/warm clothes
  • water
  • food/snacks
  • and didn't tell anyone where we were going
So I do hope that if you are considering doing this walk while on holiday here that you please take great care and prepare well. Yes, do the walk, you will love it, but it will hurt if you are not a seasoned walker

In case you don't believe me here is some more recommended reading:

Humerous but true: These boots were made for walking
Official: Walking Britain
Local: Carbis Bay Holidays
Stunning photos from the walk: South West Coast Path

Incidentally, Walking Britain confirms the walk is a demanding 11 miles (17.9 km) but I'm with Carbis Bay Holidays when they say "The walk from St Ives to Zennor along the South West Coast Path is officially categorised as "severe", other helpful websites describe it as difficult or moderate. Having experienced it ourselves it is certainly not to be underestimated"

It's one birthday we will never forget!


Hens Teeth said...

A very informative and poignant post C. said...

I've just happened across your blog and lost a happy few hours looking through! Your work is so inspiring I'd like to leap up now and go and paint or sew or felt!

Judy Scott said...

oh my goodness how easily we could all get caught out, when I get there (to St Ives) Ill just do the easy walks!! Have a lovely week ~ Judy xxx

Clevelandgirlie said...

I have a new-found respect for my dear friend in St. Ives. Who else but YOU (or quite possibly me!) would opt for a "severe" walk on their 40ish birthday. Your only as old as you feel. And I don't know about you - but I feel about 25! XO Loved the link to the pictures of the coast - absolutely drop dead beautiful. You are one blessed girl to live amongst such beauty.

Art Space Gallery said...

Yes, that walk is gruelling - there is a shorter route though, across the fields and through the farms, which only takes around one and a half hours. Haven't done it myself for years - and do recall being chased, by a horse, very scary!!

Julie said...

Hmmm! I don't think we'll be trying that one! My DH has walked a little way along the path towards Zennor but it was a very little way!

Diane said...

I have done this walk. Ever since, we refer to "Cornish Miles"!! I think this chap chronicled the walk perfectly (you have to click "next" for each [page.)
We fully intented to walk there and back - as did everyone else that we passed. We all caught the bus home. Our kids got a round of applause from the other walkers when we got to the Tinners. I noticed last week that the path is closed in certain parts at the moment because of the storms that you had a couple of weeks ago.
Love the Mermaid

missy k said...

Scary.... bet you really enjoyed sitting down to your dinner!