What is it about Land’s End that makes it such a thing? It’s not halfway through the South West Coast Path. It’s gorgeous but not any more gorgeous than any other given stretch of coastline around here. Yeah okay, so it’s the most south-westerly point of mainland Britain but you wouldn’t know that if someone hadn’t built a bunch of shops and cafés there, and stuck a signpost up advising you of your current as-the-crow-flies distance to John O Groats. We were excited to get there for no discernable reason.
We packed down after a wonderful, flat sleep and just as we started to think about taking down the outer shelter we were treated to a lovely downpour. Jolly good. To be fair at least it started whilst we were still under cover and could get all our rain kit on in the dry. My jacket however, that’s not even pretending it’s waterproof anymore. It’s given up on life. It’s basically absorbant. It’s still a decent albeit incredibly expensive wind break though so I’ll keep it around for that until I can replace it.
We were only about 6.5 miles from Land’s End so I’ve no idea how it took us so bloody long to get there. We’re the undisputed queens of faff to be fair, plus we needed to stop in Porthcurno so I could drop the kids off. The terrain had lots of your standard undulations too but there were a lot of flat bits we should have taken advantage of by taking it up a notch but y’know. Tired init. We’d had two bastard huge days by our standards and not a huge amount of sleep over the last few days.
It was around 9ish when we finally hobbled into Land’s End via a very attractive trigpoint built from stone. Oh hello, you sexy obsolete pillar, you. We weren’t intending to pay to have a proper photo taken but he was just setting up as we rolled in, and it was only £10.95. Fuck it. We are relentless tourists after all. Who are we to do a fella out of a few quid by taking selfies from a distance? Then we sat around in the wind waiting for one of the food places to open before taking up residence by their plug sockets, in a window with full sunshine streaming through. Glorious.
We didn’t intend to spend two hours in this window basking in the sun like lizards, drinking tea and eating pasties, but it seems the Land’s End Landmark has a way of luring you in and parting you from your dolla dolla bills. Fine, whatever, shut up and take my money. We did eventually tear ourselves away though and that’s it. We’re properly on the LEJOG section of our LEJOG+ jaunt and not some random tagged on little bit we decided to do after a couple of wines. We’d turned a corner, literally and figuratively. We actually had to get to John O Groats now. Fuck!
After the pissing rain and wind of this morning the weather just cleared up like it hadn’t just tried to drown us. Seriously. The forecast had initially said a high chance of rain all day but now it was like fuck it. Gimme your top layer of skin instead, I’ll crisp it for you. Works for us, we’d mapped our day out to include a tasty cold motor impairment beverage right at the end and a beer is always better after you’ve been in the sun all day. You just feel like you’ve earned it. Tarrant reminded me of the dismay last time we were excited for a pint but not to worry! I had a pub pinned, and a back up pub should that not work out, plus another back up pub should that go tits up.
Sennen Cove is your last bit of civilisation before the trail becomes a wilderness of cliffs and tin mines so it sees you off with an actual beach walk along Gwynver Beach on soft, soft sand which gets into your shoes and ruins your socks. Thanks, Sennen Cove, it’s a good job you’re pretty!
Unfortunately, when we’d mapped out our day we hadn’t counted on not leaving Land’s End until, like, fucking midday or something. Our nice, quiet, much more chilled day ended up being more of a slog in the heat as we raced to beat the evening. We plodded past signs advising us to stick to the path lest we fall down a mineshaft. There was a spot of bouldering to contend with too which slowed us down. We had to walk all around Cape Cornwall which was lovely but just another thing keeping us away from the pub.
I don’t know why we didn’t just slow down and relax a bit and give up on the idea of a pint. We didn’t need one, we wouldn’t wither and die if it didn’t happen. I guess I just didn’t want us to be pint-cursed, like, every time we looked forward to a beer something would happen to piss on our bonfire. The pint-curse had to be broken! So we turned off the trail and hobbled the half mile to the Queen’s Arms in Botallack where we imbibed a tasty cold Offshore each. Worth it.
Finding a camping spot was another matter entirely. There are tin mine ruins near Botallack and they look like they have so much potential but the flattest bits had been roped off to protect a protected bird nesting in the area. Cornish Chough I think? We ended up in an exposed spot but it was flat and we could get the pegs and the ground anchors in properly, and thank fuck for the ground anchors or I don’t think I’d have slept at all. The wind battered our tent. We just had to hope it could take it.
Penberth, Cornwall to Botallack, Cornwall, England
Stayed at: Wild camp in the mines
Useful shit to know…
- There are plenty of toilets to start the day. Porthcurno, Porthgwarra, Land’s End and Sennen Cove. Nothing after that though really.
- There’s a water tap outside the toilets at Sennen Beach car park, apart from that there’s a pub and café there too. You also cross streams today.
- We left the trail today to go to the shop at Mayon too. There aren’t many other options.