South West Coast Path

A personal record of my walk of part of the South West Coast Path in 2002 with written journal and photographs. Tracklogs for GPS units and for use with Google Earth are available for download for each stage.

Journal, Photographs and Download Files

Google Maps Open Source Maps

Statistics and Files
Start: Portloe Finish: Mawnan Smith Distance: 20.8 miles (33.4 km)
Time: 9-12 hours Climbing: 1,085 metres Rating: Strenuous
GPX Route File Google Earth File About Portloe
Start: Portloe Finish: Mawnan Smith
Distance: 20.8 miles (33.4 km) Time: 9-12 hours
Climbing: 1,085 metres Rating: Strenuous
GPX Route File Google Earth File
Ordnance Survey Explorer Map (1:25,000)
Please note that while we divert from the true path on occasions the map and track files for download are of the full permissive route for each stage we did.

Stage Report

Ready for the off in PortloeReady for the off in Portloe
Not our type of thrill seekingNot our type of thrill seeking

I think we all got a good nights sleep in good digs, despite the efforts of the parrot and cockerel chorus. Refreshed but still weary we set off from Portloe together. I was still suffering with my feet and had to wear a boot on my left foot and a shoe on my right but I knew I could walk.

Good sign on the pathGood sign on the path
Shimmering sea near Nare HeadShimmering sea near Nare Head

We kept to the coastal path for the first leg of the day round Nare Head, Gerrans Bay and Portscatho. Well, nearly all the way as we did cut through a hedge into a clover field where we were forced to scale barbed wire fences to get back on the path. "Keep to the blooming route, you two don't know where you're going" exclaimed Dave. From there we decided to cut inland to St Just in Roseland via roads and bridleways. We were all looking for ways to ease our way through today.

Near PortscathoNear Portscatho
A leafy lane near St MawesA leafy lane near St Mawes

The road work was stiff but not as hard as rounding Zone Point would have been and via the road and grassy field paths we headed into St Mawes to get the Ferry to Falmouth. Dropping into St Mawes was very scenic as we watched yachting including a race in Falmouth Bay. We caught the Ferry to Falmouth but as we disembarked I had another crisis. Once again my feet were suffering and to cap it all my shoe fell apart, I had no choice, I must get some more boots here and now. The same thing had happened during the 1994 & 1999 Coast to Coast Walks. My stamina is fine but my feet, ankles and knees are susceptible to heavy continuous work with a load on my back. Despite all my walking at home and at weekends I cannot simulate these long hauls so I must be prepared to go through this every time I don the large rucksack. As we left the ferry on the Falmouth side I spotted a cafe and a Millets store opposite. After a pot of tea I went to Millets and bought a new pair of canvas Trailfinder boots. I have exactly the same type in the boot of my car! They were to be my saviour though.

Enjoying the fresh sea airEnjoying the fresh sea air
Dave shows off his balancing skillsDave shows off his balancing skills

After donning the boots we left Falmouth, or at least walked around it trying find a road to Mawnan Smith. Steve barged a shopper out of his way in the high street. Eventually, as the rain started we left Falmouth behind and for the next two hours walked the roads with Cornish signposts that mocked us to Mawnan. Mileposts did not change their reflection of distance despite us walking for some time between them, and the rain came down. At least I was stronger and walked with some purpose for the first time since the Looe leg. These boots were working. The boys stopped for a break and I marched on to Mawnan. A post said 1.5 miles so I put my head down for 2,000 paces. I trudged them out and looked up to view the village. No way, a corner, a straight, a corner, a corner, a straight, Cornish plonkers! And then just as I began to doubt the road I was on I spotted a sign, Mawnan bloody Smith, yippee. I walked to the local Spar shop, bought a Lucozade, watched the shop close (it was gone 5.30pm now) and then sat on a wet bench, I didn't care. I waited on the bench to see Steve and Dave, the bedraggled pair walk in.

Ferry crossing from St Mawes to FalmouthFerry crossing from St Mawes to Falmouth
Walking into Mawnan SmithWalking into Mawnan Smith

What a bummer of a walk it was from Falmouth. We got to the digs, why is it the last house in the village? Knocked on the door, guy opened the door and winked, Steve missed his gesture. "No booking here" he said, "You're joking" gasped Steve. He was joking and then we were in. I squeezed out more pus from my ailing feet before we went out to the only pub in the village. We had a laugh, got merry, went back to our digs, witnessed a torrential storm, fell asleep no problem. We all had a good nights sleep this time despite the storms outside.

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