As you all know, I am a huge fan of the BBC and think that the world is a better place because of BBC2 and Radio4; the radio is on all day and Radio 4 keeps me informed of the day’s events from around the world. I love documentaries and in particular; ‘Coast’ where a team of historians, engineers, archaeologists and geologists looks at our little island from the water. Being the British Isles, we have so much coast and so many little islands that I have to admit, I didn’t know about most of it. Tonight, I watched the journey from Glasgow, around the coast and then through the Caledonian canal and then down the east coast to Edinburgh. I llllllllllllllove Neil Oliver’s perfect pronunciation with his Scottish accent enunciating every consonant so perfectly. I thought tonight of my own coast and the cliffs that I played on and where I still feel free on when I walk them now.
I’m going to start my coastal walk in Fowey and end up in Par, which is a day’s walk as far as I’m concerned, unless you are athletic, which I am not. You can have a look at the coast in detail HERE and look at the interactive map at some of the places that are so familiar to me. The walk starts in Fowey by heading to the beach, crossing the beach and through the woods up onto the fields above and carrying on to the next beach. Locally known as Polridmouth but know by those who read the books of Daphne Du Maurier as Menabilly, where the author had her home for many years (claim to fame…………..old Daphne had a Yugo Zastava/Trabant type pre-Gorbachev type worthy old pile of rust and used to make our school bus late when we would get stuck behind it every day after she’d driven to Par for her daily paper………….so my education suffered because of a literary giant!). Polridmouth (pronounced prid–muth) can only be accessed by foot and you walk from Polkerris or Fowey to get there. It’s rocky, isolated and still a place to this day where I can actually hear the stillness of my own soul.
After Priddy you make the breath stealing ascent to Gribben Head and the day marker that guides ships back by daylight, the steer a clear course between Dodman and the Gribben and head straight for Fowey. When I was at Fowey School, the sadistic bastards in the PE department had us run to the Gribben and back for our cross country run!!!! It was agony…..freezing cold, waist deep in mud and cow shit; with the Atlantic hitting us sideways on blue thighs! I have to say, I have a greater appreciation now I can enjoy this at a plod with a camera and a flack.
After Gribben head is gentle decline to Polkerris, which is a deep harbour and once a herring packing took place on the factory on the beach………………a hundred years of more ago. It’s now a busy tourist destination, but be warned, be there and parked by nine with the decision to stay until at least five. There is one road in and out, one car wide, a thousand year old deep ravine carved by rain water……………….unless you can reverse up a 1:9 hill in a road no wider than a Mini, then you’re there for the day. Funnily enough!! We always walked there!
Again, after leaving Polkerris, you have steep inclines and the half hour walk (it might only be five minutes but I dawdle) onto Par. The factory on the beach is what is left of the clay driers…………..mostly defunct. Par is a mass of sand and a low tide you walk for what seems hours through the water, only to find it isn’t over your knees yet. There is a huge caravan park at Par Sands and so many people I have met holidayed there as a child.
So there ends my coastal walk for Fowey to Par, just a few minutes of my coast of my small island.