Woody, Hen and I recently completed our third and final week hiking the Cornish Coast Path. We tackled the stretch from Gwithian to Cape Cornwall but the path ultimately got the better of us. We’re not giving up completely, however we have decided to postpone our adventure. I’ll go into depth about our reasons for doing so, as well as the experiences that have prompted our decision!
Godrevy to Hayle
We started our hike at Godrevy, near Gwithian. We arrived late afternoon, so there wasn’t much time for walking. However we did manage to reach Hayle before sunset and were kindly allowed to pitch our tent in the secure dog field at Natural Cornish Pet. I’ve been so overwhelmed by people’s generosity while hiking the Cornish Coast Path and am incredibly grateful for everyone’s help. While walking this stretch of the coastline, we even reached our fundraising goal, raising £1,000 for Spaniel Aid UK. Thank you so much for everyone’s support, we literally couldn’t have done this adventure without you!
Hayle to Zennor
We woke to torrential rain in Hayle on the second day, so I decided to shelter in Birdies Bistro and treat myself to a cooked breakfast while we waited for the weather to pass. Unfortunately it soon became apparent that it wasn’t just a shower and we were soaked through within seconds of leaving the door. My waterproof jacket was definitely no longer waterproof! I decided to travel home and return to the path a few days later when the weather had improved. Both Woody and Hen were shivering on the train home, so it was definitely a good decision! Our adventure resumed a few days later and I felt more motivated than ever.
Little did I know what the path had in store for us as we left the comfort of St. Ives. Woody and Hen struggled to walk well together, as the path was so narrow (that is when it wasn’t boulders and bogs of course!) and there wasn’t enough space for them to hike side by side. Their leads were constantly tangling. The path became remote very quickly, we barely passed any other walkers. Luckily, we were in good spirits, hiking in fine weather with plenty of audiobooks and music to keep me going.
Zennor to Cape Cornwall
We returned to the path well rested after our stay at The Woodland Collection | GIFTED. Just before Pendeen Lighthouse, everything deteriorated dramatically. We came across a herd of cattle, who’d found their way out of their field and onto the path. We’ve had to pass cattle before of course, however I’m not a big fan. Whereas before the cattle were grouped, making it easier to walk past all of them in one go, here they were scattered. The path was narrow, with thick bracken either side of us.
I approached each cow cautiously and all was going well until we tried to pass the brown one. He (I’m pretty sure he was a he) initially walked past us, like the previous three cows had done. However instead of heading back up the path to his field, he decided to turn back and approach us head on. He came within a metre of us and started jumping and rearing towards us. I was absolutely terrified. I legged it with the dogs through the thick bracken, ignoring previous signs to stay on the path due to mine shafts, hoping we’d somehow make it to safety in one piece. Standard protocol is to drop your dog’s leads in situations like this and I very nearly did. I dread to think what would have happened had the cow stampeded towards us or I lost Woody or Hen over the cliffs. It’s safe to say I was shaken up for the rest of the walk…
We haven’t returned to the path since our stretch from Gwithian to Cape Cornwall. After the cattle incident, I’ve been scared to return to the path alone. I’m a bit disappointed we didn’t make it to Land’s End, which is figuratively the half way point. I also received sad news about our foster dog Storm soon after, who passed away suddenly over the August bank holiday weekend. Combined with other matters in my personal life, I decided to postpone our hike. Though the path may have broken us temporarily, we’re determined to return to complete our adventure. Realistically this won’t be until next year now, as the weather has already started to turn for the worse.
Though we haven’t made it all the way to Plymouth in one go, I’ve learnt so much from our adventure. I’ve tackled some of my greatest fears head on through this adventure and I cannot wait to see what the path has in store for us when we eventually return. I’m thinking of organising a group walk between Cape Cornwall and Land’s End at some point. Let me know if you’d like me to organise this walk and if you’d be keen to join us.
What’s your favourite stretch of the Cornish Coast Path? Have you explored from Gwithian to Cape Cornwall before?
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