Thursday 6 October 2011

Boscastle to Dizzard

Distance: 17km; Ascent: 1260m; with Lynsey

My parents had kindly agreed to look after Isabel for the day so that Lynsey & I could go on a long day's walk.  We decided that after Monday's walk from Tintagel to Boscastle, it would be quite nice to walk from Boscastle back to Bude along the coast.  And so we boarded the bus to Boscastle this morning and found ourselves in a very blustery, but sunny, Boscastle at around 10am.

Boscastle Harbour
We wandered down to the harbour and started the ascent on the coast path out of the village.  We were soon exposed to the full force of the strong and gusty NW winds, although it was good that they were blowing us away from the cliff edges rather than towards them!

After a reasonably level section, we began to round the inlet of Pentargon and drop down into the valley at its head.  The wind was so strong here that there was a gravity defying waterfall with the water being blown up and back up the valley towards the path; hence we got a bit of a soaking whenever there was a strong gust!

Gravity defying waterfall at head of Pentargon inlet
Soon after we reached a junction where we had the choice of the main coast path or an alternative route slightly further inland.  We opted for the main coast path route, which took a traversing line across the hill-side just above Beeny Cliff.  This section felt quite exposed and I could easily see why some people might prefer the more inland option.

We continued to follow the coast path and we soon saw High Cliff, our highest point for the day at 223m and I believe the highest point on the coast path in Cornwall too.  However before we could reach it we had to descend most of the way down to Rusey Beach and then back up again!  It was very windy here, but we were both ready for lunch so we stopped part way up High Cliff on a fractionally more sheltered spot just by the edge of the path.

High Cliff from Buckator
After we reached the top of High Cliff, we continued to follow the coast path north for around another 2km, with good views of the rocks below including a small natural arch at one point.  Soon we were admiring the Cambeck headland with its interesting rock strata on display.  We skirted the headland on its SE side and Crackington Haven came into view across the bay.  It was only around a kilometre to Crackington but it seemed to take forever!

Lynsey approaching Crackington Haven
We reached Crackington just after 1pm, which was pretty much on schedule, and we decided to reward ourselves with an ice cream.  However with it being a very windy mid-week day in October, the ice-cream kiosk was shut.  We were undeterred and went into the neighbouring cafe to ask if we could have some ice-cream.

After our rest we began the uniformly steep ascent out of Crackington Haven, which was shortly followed by another drop back down to almost sea level; it's amazing the amount of ascent that you can rack up on a day's coastal walking!  As on Monday and Tuesday, there were plenty of sloes to be found, including some where the blackthorn was intermingled with gorse.

Sloes poking through the gorse
Our second ascent after leaving Crackington brought up onto Castle Point and a relatively more level section of coast path.  There were good views north from here to Dizzard Point and on towards Bude; we could even make out the satellite dishes at Morwenstow in the distance.

On Castle Point, North of Crackington
View north to Dizzard Point from cliffs east of Castle Point
We continued along the coast path and soon began a steep descent into the Chipman Valley, where the coast path descends a convex slope such that at one point it gives the impression of heading over the edge of the cliff!  On this steep descent, Lynsey unfortunately hurt her knee.  After a rest of 15 minutes or so, we slowly continued our descent and decided that we needed to cut our walk short so that Lynsey could properly rest her knee.  After consulting the map, we continued to the top of Chipman Point and after a few hundred metres we turned off the coast path on a footpath to Dizzard Farm on the coast road, from where we were able to get a lift back to Bude.

Chipman Point

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