Sunny day gone awryDwight Peck's personal website

Cornwall and Devon in the autumn

Whenever things start to pile up and get on top of you, it's time to take some time off and go to Cornwall.

You may not find this terribly rewarding unless you're included here, so this is a good time for casual and random browsers to turn back before they get too caught up in the sweep and majesty of the proceedings and can't let go.

We're off to see The Lizard! October 2009

Mullion to Lizard Village

It's time now to do the western side of the Lizard peninsula, and we're setting off from Mullion Cove just a mile down the hill from Mullion village. We're leaving the gunmetal Vauxhall here, in fact, confident of coming back along on the overland route, later in the day, to collect it. It's going to be a beautiful sunny day for a coastal hike.

Kristin on the breakwater at Mullion Cove. Questioning my judgment about the weather. Not for the first time.

Mullion is the largest village on the Lizard, and the Mullion Cove looks like the perfect place to start our coastal walk across to Kynance Cove and back overland, bypassing the Royal Naval Air Service helicopter training base that dominates this part of the peninsula and fills the air with Sea Kings flown by beginners.

Just north of Mullion, at Poldhu Cove, our hero Marconi tried to send out his trans-Atlantic wireless communications in December 1901 off an antenna hung from a kite and claimed a hit on Newfoundland. What a man! Heralded as a genius, Nobel Prize in 1909, but still no corroboration that the message ever got through, and a fair number of skeptics are still grousing about it. (The "message" was the Morse code letter "S" repeatedly, which sounds a lot like a big atmospheric hiss.) And, BTW, Mussolini was the best man at his wedding.

That's not Marconi in the photo, it's just Kristin poking round amongst the rocks before we set off for the day.

Mullion Cove at nearly its best, soon to become a bright and sunny day

The seawall at Mullion Cove and a peek up at the SW Coast Path on the heights

Mullion Cove. (On what will soon be, very likely, a bright and balmy day.)

Okay, enough dithering, we're off up the hill.

Mullion Island just a half mile off the coast

One is taking frequent photographing breaks, even when not strictly necessary for photographic purposes: the view back down at the Mullion Cove breakwaters

Mullion island, looking pretty squat and useless. But it's allegedly a paradise for seabirds.

The Shetland Pony Grazing Service on duty

Deformed little beasts. Their only purpose left in our post-industrial life seems to be to graze back the pasture land. In the old days, they used to get to pull coal carts through mines and what not. Useful work.

Up on Predannack Downs, I've just been remarking on how the sun seems to be coming along nicely now, or soon, and Kristin is pausing to assess that.

"Beware of grazing stock. Animals may bite, kick, butt or intimidate by crowding."
Having grown up in New Jersey, one is quite used to all that. We'll carry on anyway.

I wouldn't say this to Kristin, but I'm beginning to doubt my Weather Sense. The air's a bit moist, perhaps, but the scenic views are still remarkable.

We're on the Predannack headlands just coastward of the military base. Whenever unthinkingly I point my little Fujifilm J10 inland, to snap some helicopters landing, Kristin yells out "What, are you crazy? Do you want to get us shot?" What! -- Is this the Soviet Union? Bulgaria? The USA?

But why tempt fate? We'll stick to coastal crags until we get out of range.

A lovely secluded beach. This may be "Soapy Cove", named after the Serpentine variant called Soapstone.

Hmmm. Around this cove and across the way, there's not too much shelter over there either. We'd better tell Kristin that the sun seems to be just about bursting through now.

-- Oooof, the wind is picking up quite a bit!
-- No worries, it's going to clear up soon. Just trust me, you'll see!

-- No worries, it's only a passing shower. Just trust me. You'll see.

Another creek's ravine to slide down and slop up again the other side. My credibility is slipping even faster than my Merrill lowcuts are on the sodden path.

Ah, finally our destination, Kynance Cove. Ahh. No, that's not it.

Across the creek, back up the other side

-- So, just going back to this sunny day thing. What's up with that?

-- You just have to trust me.

More beautiful Cornish coastland. Temporarily rather wet.

The way forward has begun to look much of a muchness, but there seem to be signs of civilization the far horizon. (BTW, this is evidently the spot from which the Spanish Armada was first spotted on the horizon in 1588: "The Rill".)

Yes, indeed, the Fujifilm J10 zoom has picked up the presence of Lizard Village on the skyline, so at least we know where we are so far.

Kristin hastening, wisely

We're looking (through an unexpected rain shower) at Gull Rock on the right, and next to it -- ready? -- Asparagus Island, and the beach called The Bellows. So we've made it halfway, and now we'll turn back and head for Mullion over the meadows.

There is a growing lack of confidence in my plan. It's not about anything said out loud. Just a feeling.

That's Kynance Cove down there, a well-known tourist destination, though perhaps not today

Fuji zoom on Kynance Cove. Quite pretty -- Tennyson loved it, George Bernard Shaw doted on the place -- but we need to take command here, and lead the way confidently back to Mullion Cove.

I may have led us a bit off the best way back -- it's difficult to pick one's way across the farm fields in this surprisingly wet weather -- but we need to achieve the goals we set for ourselves and find our way back to Mullion. No matter what happens.

My plans are clear, even if the pathway isn't, and firm, but we're losing our consensus again.

Our fragile coalition has collapsed -- Kristin's heading for Lizard Village, which at least is visible through the rain.

So I began to feel like a fool and rushed to catch up.

We're traversing the raised "double hedge" walkway through the sodden fields. Once in Lizard Village, we sheltered in at the bus stop, where a nice lady co-stranded with us called into the bus company and learnt that the bus wasn't planning to come along today after all. So we shared a taxi.

We're back at New Thatch, another memorable pub dinner at the Cadgwith Cove Inn, and tomorrow off for the hinterlands of Devon.

Sorry about all the rain. When we insist upon traveling in the very off-season, we escape the schoolkids but take our chances on the weather.

Pubcrawling in Cornwall and Devon, 2009
Cadgwith Cove to Lizard Point
Mullion to Lizard Village
St Mawes Castle, Falmouth
Cotehele, Buckland Abbey
Polperro coastal hike
Brent Tor, Lydford Gorge, Devon
Exeter and Cardiff before the plane

Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 20 November 2009, revised 24 April 2013.

Devon and Cornwall, 2009

Devon and Cornwall, 2006

Devon and Cornwall, 2004

Devon and Cornwall, 2003