The hideous steps between St Austell and Mevagissey were foretold by a chap I talk to on Instagram. Aaall the way down to come aaall the way back up. They’re really quite upsetting but they’re not actually relentless (I’m looking at you, Dorset). You have flat bits in between, sort of like recovery walks, an apology to your calf muscles if you will, before the trail dips again like the rollercoaster you never asked for.
We strolled into Pentewan and parted with the princely sum of 20p to use the toilet. To be fair I dropped the kids off had a wash and did some laundry so I very much got my 20p worth. I’m not sure about paying to pee though, I get that it probably costs quite a lot to maintain a public facility, but isn’t access to a toilet a basic human right? Aaaanyway, perhaps a debate for another time.
As we slogged up and down over the overgrown paths lined with foliage hell bent on leaving their marks on our shins we talked about our day. It didn’t need to be big, we had time to kill. We also had to resupply, and charge our power banks so we figured we’d swing by the sprawling metropolis of Mevagissey, affectionately known as Mevs, for all of the above.
It’s very pretty, is Mevs. The narrow streets surround the tiny harbour which I can imagine becomes an immovable mass of humans in the high season. It was only May and it was already swarming with people in flip flops. We asked at Sharksfin if they had plug sockets we could abuse and we were seated in a corner. Probably a good thing. I smell like sweat and damp. I’d probably put people off their brunch of they got too close.
We managed to eke out two drinks each over the space of two hours as we slowly leeched their electric, but to be fair one of mine was a hot chocolate laden with marshmallows and squirty cream. Sugar crash scheduled for 3pm, please. I figured I needed calories and no one told me the calories couldn’t be tooth rot in a cup so there you go.
After we tore ourselves away from Sharksfin we had lunch and headed on up the hill. The weather had been okay but now it just kicked it up a notch and we found ourselves sweating along the trail, absolutely kicking ourselves for not buying a few cans of beer in Mevagissey. We couldn’t see anywhere else on the map that might scratch that itch either. Bollocks. Nevermind. Probably for the best.
Gorran Haven has a shop called Cakebreads. I assumed it was a bakery, it’s fucking called Cakebreads, how could it be anything else? It is actually a bakery. But it’s also an outside bar. And an off-licence. And a Post Office. And a bar. And a small shop. Did I mention a bar? I mean, we’re talking a couple of picnic tables and a few benches at the side of the shop but fuck yes, we’ll take it! It was bastard hot, very important to hydrate. Also it was only £4.30 for a pint of delicious Italian lager. I think the last time I paid £4.30 for a pint was 2004.
We only intended to stay for one, ended up sinking a couple, before cramming our takeaway beers into our already quite full backpacks and reluctantly heading west. Damn you, Gorran Haven, and your surprise licenced establishment. Now I have to walk up a fucking hill after two (2) motor impairment beverages.
We’d been eyeing up a spot not a huge distance from where we’d accidentally fallen into a boozer so we headed for that. There’s a trigpoint there and from the photos on the trigpointing website there was also a shit tonne of flat ground. We beelined as fast as our little legs would allow us, the sky disappearing under these insane wavey clouds that looked like they could produce either rain or an alien invasion at any given point. At this stage I wasn’t sure what I’d prefer. We could see rain pissing down over the Channel so yeah, wouldn’t have to fend off extra terrestrials with a spork just yet.
We rocked up to the trig just after Alan, a bloke we met the other day, was emerging from the Watch House, a little hut that was used by coastguards in the 19th century. It’s open to the public, there’s a little bench in there and it’s dry. We called over to Alan.
Some wild campers get a bit funny about other wild campers. No idea why, it’s not like anyone is paying to be here. We told Alan of our plans to camp by the trig and he told us he was planning to camp closer to the cross. There was so much space you could probably house three or four wild campers and we wouldn’t see each other so that was all good then, we wouldn’t bother each other.
Just as we got the tent up the rain caught up with us. We couldn’t have timed it better if we’d actually bothered timing it. Seriously though, England. What the fuck. You’re drinking beer in the sun one minute, turning slowly red because who needs all that skin anyway, then the next minute you’re damp in a tent, questioning all of your life choices. We sipped Kronenbourg and waited for it to subside so we could make a break for the Watch House to have dinner. It smelt less like feet in there.
It’s a cracking little pitch though. Ground so flat it’d be rude not to put a tent there, an obsolete concrete pillar in wonderful condition, and a little hut so you can cook without risking setting your tent on fire. Wins all round.
Black Head, Cornwall to Dodman Point, Cornwall, England
Stayed at: Wild camp by the trig at Dodman Point
Useful shit to know…
- Toilets are at Pentewan (20p), Mevagissey (50p) and Gorran Haven (free).
- For water there are loads of cafés and pubs in Mevs. We filled up at the Rising Sun in Portmellon. I’m sure they’d fill you up at Cakebreads, they’re lovely there.