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Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Walk 154 Lands End to St Just (Cornwall)

Walk 154 Lands End to St Just (Cornwall)

(Third leg of English coastal walk – Lands End to Bristol)

Map: L/R 203
Distance: 9 miles or 13 km approx.
Difficulty: Demanding with some easier parts
Terrain: cliff coastal path with some road walking
Access: Parking at both ends.
Public transport: Buses from Penzance to Lands End and every hour from St Just to Penzance.

Start by exploring the buildings and features around Lands End. These include Penwith House which was once a temperance hotel and is now a gift shop. The famous sign, where you can have one finger-post pointing to your own town and the distance to it, appears to be under the control of an official photographer. The First and Last Refreshment House is situated on the most south westerly point of England. In Arthurian legend this spot is the halfway point between Lands End and the Isles of Scilly and is where the mythical land of Lyonesse was supposedly swallowed by the ocean.

The fist headland along the coastal path from Lands End is Dr Syntax's Head. It is thought that this may have been named after a 19th century local school master and that the shape was like his chin! At Pedn-men-du is a 19th century coastguard look out built on the craggy rocks. The path drops down a road and then into Sennen Cove which is at the southern end of Whitesand Bay. It is very popular with surfers. It was also home to the first canine lifeguard in the UK, a dog called Bilbo. He was active between 2005-2007 and there have been petitions to bring him back. I noticed a member of the RNLI checking on the safety of surfers on his quadbike. One of the more popular duties I would think.

On the walk to Cape Cornwall there are several warnings of exposed old tin mine shafts. It is strongly advised that you keep to the path unless you want to risk disappearing without trace. The cape (the only one so named in England) is the second most westerly point in the UK and is capped by an old mining tower. The area is owned by the National Trust so all of the cape can be explored. Out at sea, on the south side, are The Brisons. In 1851, the ship,The New Commercial, ended up on these rocks but the captain and his wife remained on board until the crew were rescued. They were both pulled off but, unfortunately, the wife died before reaching the shore.

Follow the walk around past a few old tin mine chimneys then take one of the roads or paths into St Just.

Photos show: Sennen Cove and Whitesand Bay; Cape Cornwall.

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