Spotlight on the Lizard: Kynance Cove to Cadgwith. Hiking or Trail Running.

Spotlight on the Lizard.
Kynance Cove to Cadgwith.

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Cadgwith Cove

Start point: Kynance Cove car park
Turn around point: Cadgwith.
Route stats (out and back)
Distance: 11 miles
Highest point: 55m
Lowest point: 9m
Total accent: 650m
Total decent: 650m

[Courtesy of Bing Maps and Ordinance Survey]

[Courtesy of Bing Maps and Ordinance Survey]

Buy your Ordinance Survey Map from Amazon here: OS Explorer 103 The Lizard.

As we get out of the car the air is fresh, with a very light breeze coming off the sea. The early morning sun covers the cliffs in a weak golden glow. The sea is calm, a deep sapphire blue with little wavelets sparkling like glitter in the morning sun. The early start at Kynance Cove car park saw us arriving before the car parking attendant. Lucky there are no gates on the car park. We apply sun cream and check the straps on our packs. Then we walk across the car park to join the coast path. We take about 50 steps at a light jog before being stopped by a herd of highland cattle with calves on the path (these cattle are used by the National Trust to manage the vegetation). Their dark brown hair matted and damp in the morning dew. We walk past keeping away from the young. The cattle chew on regardless giving us little attention and we are soon breaking into a light jog. The trail is muddy and rutted, but today baked dry by the summer sun. We make good progress and are soon into a nice rhythm.

Passing Pentreath Beach we can see that there are no footsteps in the sand and a football has washed up on the tide line. We take a quick detour to run on the beach and be the first ones to place our footprints there today. Part of the path leading to the beach has been washed away. A reminder that the sea is not always so tranquil. After our detour we pick up the path again, the route is undulating with steep short valleys and sometimes steps. The sun by now has gathered its power and the temperature is rising. Early on we get a distant view of the Lizard lighthouse before it disappears again as we run down into the next valley. Painted white against the rugged landscape and sea the lighthouse is a real landmark marking the most Southerly point in the UK.

Lizard lighthouse in the background

Lizard lighthouse in the background

The minutes and miles tick by and the number of people we meet starts to increase. Soon the path is buzzing with tourists from across Europe. We have arrived at the most southerly tip. A cluster of souvenir shops offering cream teas and postcards line the end of the road. Beyond that the path curls down to the lifeboat station and a small but beautiful pebbled beach (Polpear Cove). Out to sea the strong currents rounding the point are clear to see and further out a few large container ships are dotted across the horizon making their way from the English Chanel shipping lanes out across the seas to destinations around the world. A short steep rise out from the cove and we find ourselves alongside the Lizard Lighthouse. Painted brilliant white, its tower and many outbuildings look impressive and we take time to stop and admire the view. Picking up the pace again we leave the tourists behind. The coast path snakes away ahead of us, perched between the sea and the farmland beyond. The path is varied, sometimes there are a long flat stretches, sometimes steep sided valleys and around each corner a new panorama framing the convergence of sea, land and sky.

Coast path

We pass an old Coastguard lookout station and later a lifeboat station. Then onto Cadgwith. Being nestled at the mouth of a small cove we don’t see Cadgwith until we are upon it. Before that we pass the ‘Devil’s Frying Pan’ a collapsed sea cave which has now formed a large caldron like hollow in the land. Cadgwith like the Lizard is full of tourists enjoying the charm of this tiny picture postcard fishing village. Between the two, the coast paths are free, and we have the unspoilt miles completely to ourselves. The sun is now fully up so we take advantage of the tourist spot and buy an ice cream before taking some photos and returning to our special unpeopled path back to the Lizard.

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