South-West peninsula (Devon & Cornwall) --
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||Between Bude and
Widemouth Bay, the latter off to the left. Looking approximately SSW. The pink
clusters of small flowers are Thrift (Armeria maritima), also known as Sea
Pink. (May 2001)
This and many parts along this coastline is a surfers'
paradise, usually with large swells coming in from the Atlantic.
||Bude: the vicinity
of the mouth of the canal, and part of Summerleaze Beach. Bude is a holiday resort,
but it retains a remarkable sense of wildness along its coastline.
along the coastline to Bude and beyond. This shows again how remarkably unspoiled
this part of coastline is, considering that Bude is a quite busy holiday resort. The
town itself is just off to the left. With (usually) a considerable swell coming in
from the Atlantic, this is a very popular area for surfing, Bude and Widemouth Bay
being really busy surfing centres.
||On the coast path, looking more or less north over
Speke's Mill Mouth to St Catherine's Tor, with the white buildings at Hartland Quay
just showing beyond against the sea, from behind the hillside and outcrops left of
centre. St Catherine's Tor is one of a number of prominent mini-mountain-like
prominences along the coast path in this area. Hazy sunlight at about 5.45 p.m.
(late September 2001)
||Just north of
Speke's Mill Mouth, near Hartland Quay, looking more or less north. The distant
island is Lundy, which is featured in an unusual way in my organ-&-tuba
Unknown. The purple-flowered plant in the foreground is just a
little bit of Bell Heather (Erica Cinerea).
Land's End peninsula (Cornwall)
My 60th birthday falling in August 2002, I felt that summer 2002 was time to get a
bit more adventurous with some of my weekly hikes, so I've added to my repertoire
of single-day outings some hikes right at the south-west tip of England. This
involves a very early rise and setting out from my flat in central Exeter at about
6.50 a.m.; I then hitch-hike to Penzance, St Ives or elsewhere in that area (a
journey of over 100 miles), then walk some 13-19 miles on what is the most
hard-going coast path terrain that I've walked on anywhere, and then I hitch-hike
back to Exeter that evening. A long and hard day indeed - but worth every bit of
Roughly speaking, this area lies west of a north-east / south-west line from St
Ives to Penzance. Its rugged character is largely determined by the granite rock
there. This granite is part of the same underground mass of granite that breaks
the surface to create Dartmoor, Bodmin Moor, the St Austell granite and the Scilly
Isles (but not Lundy, which has been produced from a more recent granite system).
On the north coast of this area the rock is granite in places, while in other
parts it is 'metamorphic aureole' rock - sedimentary rocks that have been
heat-metamorphosed by their proximity to the granite when it was still liquid
magma deep down inside the root of the mountain chain that was once here.
The following 4 photos are from my hike on 1st September 2002 from St Ives on
the north coast to Cape Cornwall, which is part of the little west-facing bit of
coastline that also includes Land's End.
||Gurnard's Head, from the south-west. It is a joy to go out onto that
rugged headland and scramble about on its very secure rock outcrops. Gurnard's Head
is just a little south-west from Zennor.
||Pendeen Watch and
The Enys (the nearby little island left-of-centre) seen from the south-west.
Approaching from the St Ives direction (i.e., walking south-westwards), the last two
miles to Pendeen Watch are relatively easy walking but scenically rather
commonplace, so a walk finishing there has a feeling of anticlimax about it. But as
soon as you go beyond, the coastline becomes much more rugged and exciting again.
||Just past the fascinating old Levant
(disused) and Geevor tin mines I lost patience with the official coast path
that appeared to boringly follow a motor track slightly inland from the real
excitement, and I followed this lower-level track that led here into the most rugged
and exciting bit of coast path I've been on anywhere, with something of the feel of
a narrow and rugged mountain summit ridge traverse. Although the track was secure,
it rounded a whole series of craggy cliff buttresses, so that at times there were
exposed turns with a delicious drop at my feet, and here and there were very minor
scrambles up and down. When I first walked this stretch, it seemed a bit scary
because I didn't know what I was letting myself in for, but it turned out to be
end of my hike: in the glare of the early evening sun - Cape Cornwall, the next most
south-westerly point on the British mainland after Land's End, which latter is a
very few miles off to the left. This view is from just below the ruin of Kenidjack
(Incidentally, the most westerly point on the
British mainland isn't in these parts at all but on the Ardnamurchan peninsula
in the Scottish Highlands.)
Dartmoor area (Devon)
Dartmoor is part of a system of granite that, hundreds of millions of years ago,
was molten rock in the root of a mountain chain probably similar to the Alps.
The mountains have long ago been eroded away and the rocks that were in their
root uplifted to form lower hills. On the high moor itself the scenery is
austere and spacious, and the terrain in the remotest parts is peaty and often
boggy and very fatiguing to walk on.
Dartmoor in trouble -- See
||In the Dartmoor
fringe area: the Teign Valley from the Hunters' Path, with Dartmoor in the distance,
faint in the haze. The area just a little further along this track is known as
Piddledown Common; I'm not aware that it gets more rainfall than anywhere else in
the immediate area!
||Also above the Teign Valley, on the path connecting the high-level
Hunters' path with Fingle Bridge. Prestonbury Castle, an Iron Age hill fort, is on
the top part of the prominent hill seen through the trees.
Broad Amicombe Hole - not a hole but a pass - with High Willhays beyond (the highest
point in Southern England - all of 621 metres above sea level).
||From on top of the largest (granite) outcrop at Fur Tor, in remotest
Dartmoor. Looking more or less north towards High Willhays.
||From on top of the
largest outcrop at Fur Tor, looking more or less west, to Hare Tor and the distant
countryside of Cornwall, with Bodmin Moor forming the skyline (not really
discernible in this photo).
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