September is always special – the last days of summer. It’s special for us as Tim celebrates his birthday mid-way through the month and we time our holidays around it – always keeping our fingers crossed for good weather for the actual day.
So here we were on this particular day pulling on our walking boots and packing our sandwich lunch into our backpacks once again for another trek.
This post describes a section of the South West Coastal Path from our trip down to the West Country a few months ago. If you’d like to read Part One click the link just below these words …
Tuesday 19th September 2017 : Polzeath to Port Isaac (Cornwall), 9 miles
We got on the early morning bus at Port Isaac with four others and (almost as if we were all on the same trip) all got off next to the car park at Polzeath. The car park being right on the beach at Polzeath.
Polzeath is a popular surfing resort with several small surfing schools, a few shops and cafes. There were lots of people walking about in wet suits either coming from or going to the surf. I suppose parking on the sand makes it all nice and close for surfers and other beach visitors but we didn’t fancy the idea of parking our car on the actual sand….not all day anyway.
There is a big broad open expanse of beach here.
Polzeath Beach at high tide.
Following the coastal path we soon left the town behind and headed to Pentire Point. Along the way a colourful crowd of older (senior) walkers were coming towards us and we met them at a kissing gate. Kissing gates usually only allow one person at a time through it and, as long as they are made properly, don’t allow animals to cross from one field to another.
So, because it was ‘one at a time’ we exchanged greetings, smiles, hellos and good mornings. They had American accents and tagged with labels which included the curious words ‘Road Scholar’. A quick Google search and I found this to be a walking holiday organisation. It must be a requirement to wear the label which saves anyone getting lost I suppose!
Passing a big crowd of American walkers
A look back (into the sun) to Polzeath shows the whole bay. It’s a wide bay.
Ahead of us now and out of sight from Polzeath was a impressive area with a less impressive name ‘The Rumps’.
Sideways on the bit of land that sticks out actually looks like the back of a slumbering dragon or dinosaur. Can you see what I mean?
We got closer and rounded the headland. Paths could take you out onto the back of the ‘dinosaur’, as several people were doing, but we had to save that for another day/another holiday.
It was good to see so many people on the path and out and about today on foot but some had chosen to do their sight seeing by boat. With such calm waters it was the perfect day for it. It reminded me of boat trips we’ve had around the Spanish islands of Ibiza and Majorca.
Cruising around the coast in perfect conditions
We stopped for a quick snack and admired the view ourselves.
Further along we found that we had lost the crowds. Looking at the map we could see that most people were doing a small circular walk from/to Polzeath – that explains it….
Next stop lunch, Lundy Beach.
Lundy Beach just in view
Before we stopped for lunch we passed Lundy Hole – a collapsed sea cave. Quite a sight but what was that buzzing sound? Hedge trimming? As we looked into Lundy Hole itself we could see a drone. We love drones so we gave it a friendly wave as its blinking red eye turned to ‘look’ at us. The pilot obviously didn’t like what he/she saw as it flew away, super quick! How rude!
Lundy Hole minus the drone
Around the corner we found more walkers all lounging about enjoying their picnic lunches in the sun. The tide was in and it was a bit of a scramble to get down to the sand so we found an elevated spot just next to the path and did some lounging about ourselves.
Our lunchtime view
We could have lingered here for the rest of the afternoon watching the strollers out for a picnic and those out for a swim (mad fools), but we had a few more miles to go. So, we circled the bay, and the next smaller bay, and up onto a fairly level path heading towards Port Quin.
Along the way we passed a folly at Doyden Point which I thought was a castle. You could forgive me as it’s actually called Doyden Castle. I love a castle so it was a bit disappointing to see that firstly it wasn’t and secondly the national trust use it as a holiday home….good grief. I didn’t bother photographing it.
We didn’t know what to expect at Port Quin. We were hoping for a small bay with a scattering of houses and a cup of tea. We got all three.
Approaching Port Quin
The ‘tea lady’ was quietly sat reading a book in the sun so we took a photo of her cafe (the Citroen van) before ordering our drinks. Fionas cafe was parked at the back of the national trust car park – we almost missed it.
The cafe at Port Quin
We felt a bit awkward disturbing her from her reading but we really wanted our afternoon tea. While making our drinks she told us the van was up for sale then promptly gave us the wrong change (five pounds too little change) Something was clearly on her mind.
We sat down with our drinks. Then, rather oddly, the lady went around the van with a can of something and proceeded to spray underneath it. Tim, sat in full view this, sat with mouth open and a puzzled look. I took a sneaky ‘half selfie’ so that I could see what was going on. Weird.
What on earth is going on? Very odd behaviour….
Anyway, drinks drunk we continued on our way, passing a few national trust properties all done up for holiday rentals. Not a bad spot so spend a week or two – and you can make your own tea whenever you like!
Our next section of walk came as a bit of a surprise. A narrow path up and away from Port Quin reached a turning point which we couldn’t see at first. After hugging the cliff top we turned slightly inland where the way ahead twisted and turned and, with the ups and downs, it was impossible to pick up the pace. We passed a few couples coming the other way – all hot and shiny faced.
Then we had quite a steep climb up a stone stairway with a metal rail on one side. The metal rail was the only thing between the path and a long fall from the cliff face into the sea! The photo I took really doesn’t do it justice.
Tim and the metal rail
From the top it we could almost see Port Isaac. A level section then we said hello to this impressive beast. Looked like he was wearing a mask and posed nicely for a photograph.
Cattle – always curious. We admired this one more than most.
So, we thought our ups and downs had finished for the day but oh no. Look at those steps.
Just a few more steps….
Then at last – Port Isaac.
The TV programme Doc Martin (Doc Martin played by Martin Clunes) has just finished filming series eight, all on location in and around Port Isaac. It’s all about the life of a grumpy, abrasive and rude General Practitoner who somehow manages to be well respected by the villagers. Tim and I have watched at least the first four series so we were quite keen to see the place in the flesh so to speak.
We had no idea how popular this programme was until we made our way down from the position I took the above photo to ‘Doc Martins Surgery/House’. Crowds of people with cameras from all over the world come along to check it out.
We couldn’t resist doing the same – an Australian lady kindly took our photo. Apparently this was her second visit !!
Outside Doc Martins house like propert tourists!
And so we finished our walk for the day. Strolling amongst the crowds. Unable to get into the pub we stopped for an ice cream before taking the steep slope up out of the village and back to the car.
A cracking walk.