Wednesday, December 23, 2009


We traveled to Cornwall last weekend to spend Christmas with my family. After having told everyone in the US how mild the southwest of England is, we arrived to a far chillier environment than normal, frost, sleet, hail and even the occasional snow shower.

However the day after we arrived the weather was clear and we took the opportunity to walk off a bit of our jet lag.

First stop, Chapel Carn Brea. The 'most westerly hill in Britain'. It is an outstanding landmark dominating the surrounding countryside. From its summit, some 657 feet above sea level it is possible to overlook St. Just to the north, Sennen and Lands End to the west and Mounts Bay to the southeast. There is a ruined Bronze Age Chambered Barrow at the summit as well as the former site of a medieval chapel. A fire beacon is lit here every Midsummer's eve. From there we went on to Porthgwarra (don't you love the Cornish place names.)

A superb , secluded Cornish Cove just under 3 miles southeast of Lands End. Porthgwarra is steeped in history and tradition - one time a busy fishing cove , now just one boat regularly works crab pots from here. The cliff path leads away west towards Lands End and east towards Porthcurno both very scenic and dramatic routes !
Above Porthgwarra is Gwennap Head.

Gwennap Head is the most southerly headland on the south coast of the Penwith peninsula. There are a pair of cone-shaped navigation markers on Gwennap Head, in line with the Runnelstone buoy. These are day markers warning vessels of the hazard of the Runnel Stone. The cone to the seaward side is painted red and the inland one is black and white. When at sea the black and white one should always be kept in sight in order to avoid the submerged rocks nearer the shore. If the black and white cone is completely obscured by the red cone then the vessel would be directly on top of the Runnel Stone. The black and white landmark was erected by the Corporation of Trinity House in 1821- an event recorded on a plaque on the back of the marker.

It was a stunning afternoon to be walking the cliff tops. It was so clear we could easily see the Isles of Scilly that are thirty miles away. At this time of year the sun sets early and the beautiful wash of colour this creates made the whole scene even more spectacular.

The sinking sun reflected off the cliffs to give them a deep orange hue.

A guaranteed cure for jet lag! :)

Photo Credits - CJT & Dominick

1 comment:

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Beautiful vistas! Great way to get rid of the jet lag to be sure. The story behind the cones was fascinating.