South Cornwall Hike Day 5, Taking It Easy
160-MILE HIKE ON THE SOUTH WEST COAST PATH, SOUTH CORNWALL – THE JOURNAL
Day 5, Towan Beach to Falmouth
Towan Beach, St Anthony Head, St Mawes, Falmouth
Friday 26th August 2022
- 5 miles to Prince of Wales Pier Falmouth (plus 1 mile through town to Gyllingvase Beach, some of which is on the SWCP – 6 miles total)
- 82.5/160 miles complete
- Weather: 22 degrees and full-on sunshine!
Short And Sweet
Today is going to be a ridiculously short day. 6 miles or so with two ferry rides thrown in for good measure – it can’t get any easier than that! Plus, an early start means I can get to Falmouth in time for an afternoon swim, and I’m definitely looking forward to that.
First, though, I actually have to get out of the tent and start moving…
St Anthony Head
There’s hardly anyone around except for the odd runner, too early for the dog-walkers it seems, or maybe just too far away from parking places. It feels good. I feel good – and I can’t wait for the day!
5 sweet miles and two ferry rides are an exciting prospect, more exciting than they’d normally be that’s for sure. Maybe it’s the weather – crossing the bay from St Mawes, sliding through all the yachts, and seeing the docks up close…the sparkling sea (rather than the stomach-churning sea!). And getting to Falmouth, home sweet home even though I don’t live so close now, much as I’d love to (Truro’s about 10 miles away).
It’s warm already and the temptation to glug down my remaining water is huge. This is about self-restraint. The shops in St Mawes might not be far away, but you don’t know what might happen in the meantime and there’s nowhere to get any until after the ferry ride.
Buy Your Ferry Tickets Online
It’s worth knowing you can buy your ferry tickets online, which means you can get a cheaper combined ticket as well as a 10% discount
I’ve got a phone signal and there’s a bench on the headland so it’s time to get the admin over before walking across the heather and gorse-covered headland.
As soon as I put my rucksack down my gut makes itself known, big time. Sunburn, lack of fluids, and the sudden release of pressure when I undo the waistbelt are not a good combination… Two people have just passed me and are still in sight – and there’s nowhere to hide. FFS. This is not going to end well. I grab my trowel, toilet paper, and a dog-poo bag and dive into the gorse too close to the path for comfort, but sometimes there’s no time and no choice. Just don’t leave anything behind. And, hope to god the two women don’t look back (at least they’re women). As predicted, It didn’t end well. Meh, shit happens haha!
As the nausea subsides and my gut starts behaving itself I can enjoy the views again, and they’re so beautiful it really lifts my heart. I look across to Falmouth and can name all the beaches I can see and yet as I come down to a beach on St Anthony Head I feel like I’m in another world. And it’s my world – I have such a strong sense of belonging it’s hard to describe.
Sadly, it doesn’t always feel like that with the multi-millionaire properties, high walls and fences, ‘keep out’ and ‘private’ signs around thousands of acres of land. They can sod off; they don’t own the air I breathe or the salt in my hair, they don’t own the south-westerly winds or the sunshine. And they don’t own my thoughts, or the journey I’m on. I don’t understand this possessiveness; life is about experiences. My life is about experiencing the natural world, step by step. And right now I’m having a wonderful time. And it’s about to get better…the ferry!!
I stepped off Place Ferry onto the quay with just two other passengers but St Mawes was bustling with holiday-makers from all over the place, judging by the conversations I overheard on the quayside. It’s a pretty village, but there’s not much to explore anymore (I’ve been so many times) so I just grabbed a drink and joined the queue for the next ferry across to Falmouth.
20 minutes of bliss; I totally get why people love being on the water – on a hot and sunny day like today!
I sat outside on the stern of the boat opposite a woman who looked like she belonged on a yacht in the south of France, or a Hollywood film, dressed all in white, reflective sunglasses, blond hair loosely tied and blowing in the wind, trouser zip undone…I didn’t have the heart to tell her!
Was that mean? Whatever. I was one of the first up the steps onto the pier and scurried off down Market Street towards the beach.
You can’t beat a day like this on a summer hike – no rushing, perfect weather, and time to take in the scenery and do whatever you fancy. It’s like you’ve hit the reset button and reminded yourself why you’re hiking in the first place. Such a contrast to how I left the trail last week!
Onwards to Land’s End then. But first… a navigation course on Dartmoor!
- Place and St Mawes ferries (combined ticket): £12.15
- Train fare Falmouth to Truro: £3.30
- Can of drink in St Mawes: £1.00
- Lunch/coffee in Falmouth: £4.90
More Entries From This Journal
- Day 1 Plymouth, Kingsand-Cawsand, Rame Head, Whitsand Bay (14.5 miles)
- Day 2 Portwrinkle, Looe, Polperro, Lantic Bay (20 miles)
- Day 3 Lantic Bay, Fowey, Charlestown, Pentewan (20 miles)
- Day 4 Pentewan, Mevagissey, Gorran Haven, Portscatho, Towan Beach (23 miles)
- Day 5
- Day 6 Falmouth, Helford Passage, Gillan, Coverack (19 Miles)
Planning A Hike? Keep Reading!
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