Tuesday, 5 April 2016
The Roseland peninsula - a Place apart
Whilst working in Cornwall I've managed to do some coastal walking based around the town of Falmouth. One stretch of coast I'd particularly wanted to explore was the Roseland peninsula, but not having use of a car this involves two ferries. A couple of attempts to reach the area were unsuccessful due to winter ferry timetable restrictions or windy weather preventing the smaller ferry running.
On a bright and breezy day the plan came together. I caught the ferry from Falmouth to the pretty village of St Mawes, and although the smaller onward ferry wasn't running, the skipper of the "Duchess of Falmouth" kindly dropped me at the landing point on the Roseland - a place called Place. From near Place, theere's a lovely view back to the neat white houses of St Mawes.
The coastal path passes behind Place House, through a churchyard containing a mediaeval stone coffin......
...before crossing farmland to the shoreline with a view to the lighthouse at St Anthony's Head. Built in 1835, this light marks the eastern entrance to the large natural harbour of Falmouth - Carrick Roads. It was originally lit by Argand lamps, then by pressurised vapour (the former paraffin store is near to the path) before being converted to electricity in 1954. The light flashes white once every 15 seconds, is visible for 22 miles, and contains a red sector to warn shipping of the Manacles rocks. As there are no longer any lightkeepers, part of the building can be rented as holiday accommodation.
Also protecting the entrance to Carrick Roads, which is one of the largest natural harbours in the world, are the remains of these gun emplacements - a view indicator sited where the guns would once have been.
The coast path from St Anthony's Head to Portscatho is a pure delight; a path winding along the cliffs above a wild and in most places inaccessible shoreline. The weather on my walk alternated between bright sunshine and intense, lancing showers of hail and rain - it suited the scene perfectly.
Conditions have been so mild in Cornwall through the winter of 2015-16 that it's hardly been a winter at all. Daffodils flowered in late January, and on the last weekend of March the Primroses were well in bloom. Quite a contrast to home in Aberdeenshire some 700 miles north!
Towan Beach was sheltered from the wind and pleasantly warm inbetween the showers; a couple of hardy souls were even taking a swim. It was tempting to linger, but I had the ferry timetable firmly in my mind - I needed to be back at St Mawes to catch the last ferry to Falmouth, departing late afternoon, so reluctantly pressed on.