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:
- walking boots
- waterproofs/warm clothes
- and didn't tell anyone where we were going
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!