With the West Midlands weather god in our midst we had high hopes as we headed to the Lizard for our annual trip. Our accommodation was perfectly arranged for us to walk hostel to hostel, our luggage transfers arranged, our meals meticulously planned, all we needed to do was walk and hope for good weather! Our weather god duly obliged from the start….
Having spent the 1st night in accommodation a stone’s throw from the biggest military helicopter training centre in Europe, RAF Culdrose, it was obvious the next day that they had their eye on us, or more accurately, their chopper. Someone had obviously warned them that the Socialists were coming as we had an escort for most of the 1st morning. We were obviously very careful, the only thing that they could have possibly overheard was our washing-up rota for the weekend; we whispered all of our plans for a revolution….
Despite the intrusion we set off towards the coast path and having played “first to see the sea” along the lanes we were soon rewarded with our first sight of our constant companion for the next three days….
It was soon apparent that there were two main themes for this weekend, breath-taking scenery with huge blue skies, crashing waves and sunshine, and cake! Lots and lots of cake!! Sponge cake, fruit cake, tea-loaf, brownies – you name it, we ate it, in fact had the military tapped in they would have heard nothing more sinister than how best to get a decent consistency for a Victoria Sponge!!! (Thank you Elizabeth’s Mom).
We did, however, earn the cake – walking at least 10 miles per day on some of the most strenuous sections of the coast path was not to be under-estimated. On the 1st day alone we needed at least 2 coffee and cake stops. We did manage to walk past a café at Mullion Cove without stopping but soon realised the error of our ways and stopped for lunch.
The Lizard YHA was definitely worth the walk, perched between the lighthouse and the most south-westerly point the outlook was stunning, if not a little breezy!! The evening meal was as good as ever and the after dinner entertainment was worth waiting for – seems our weather god doubles as a yoga instructor!
We did pay the price for his moonlighting the next day though as we headed out from the Lizard, our first real weather! After heeding a warning from the coast guard to head inland as the cliffs were too dangerous in the wind we soon rewarded ourselves for being so sensible and health & safety conscious by having coffee & cake in Cadgwith!! The weather didn’t disappoint us anymore and as we moved on throughout the day the views continued to stop us in our tracks with our lunch stops being very carefully chosen to optimise our surroundings…….
That afternoon saw our first major incident of the trip with two of our party almost being washed away by a huge freak wave at Kennack Sands. Fortunately the rest of our group were on hand to assist with what could have been disastrous….Well, after they had finished their ice cream and laughing! When I say freak wave…..
Not to be outdone by the Lizard, Coverack YHA had views to die for from every window and once again food to match. As usual at dinner time the well-oiled machine that is a WM Red Rope trip kicks in – 3 chefs & 3 washer-uppers (?) each night to ensure that the wonderful food is matched by service & organisation that military helicopter pilots would be proud of. Sadly, there was no after dinner exercise class but we more than made up for it with more cake…
In the daylight Coverack showed what a cute fishing village it was and once again the weather was on our side as we headed into our final day. The scenery was to be very different, less rugged, and greener and we were heading down to river level all day long. We left the cliffs behind, passed through quarries, crossed fields at sea level, went elegantly over (or under stiles) and passed the halfway point of the entire SWCP. The views were no less stunning and still had us stopping in our tracks to admire them, this was scenery that never become boring…
Of course we did all this and still managed to find a café amongst the spectacular surroundings which provided a welcome break. It even provided a much needed input of bacon for the much outnumbered meat-eaters in our group!!
We also managed to make new friends there, although I suspect it may have been cupboard love, Freddie had obviously heard about our cakes…
As we headed towards Helford and a taxi back to the start there was a real sense of achievement & of a journeys end. We had enjoyed three very different days, from the rugged precipitous cliffs of the first day to the wooded valleys at river level today. We had definitely seen the very best of what Cornwall had to offer, both with the weather & the scenery. We had taken the worst the Atlantic could throw at us outside the Lizard lighthouse and then paddled in the creek the next day. We spent a fair amount of time putting jackets on, taking jackets off and putting jackets back on again, all of time wearing sunglasses. We passed through cute fishing villages, walked along paths where the cliffs dropped away beneath our feet, and strolled on sandy beaches, but most of all….
We ate cake!!!