Forget Sennen, Land's End and the Minack. When you're this far west, the place to be is Porthgwarra. You can hardly miss the pointer from the sea...
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The road snakes down ahead of us, through hills of purple and yellow, to the twinkling blue of the (I can see the...!) sea. It's a soft yet vibrant display of nature, made all the more glorious by the September sun. But there's something strange on the horizon, a pointy large beacon of bright red that pokes up out of the hilltop.
Our destination is Porthgwarra, a tiny little fishing village with little more than a cafe and a bench, but a lot more in terms of the view. Now there's definitely not enough room for everyone, but it could be a stop-off on your South West Coast Path trek as it's on the way from Land's End to Porthcurno. We meandered our way down and pulled up in the car park, paying a few pennies to the fellow snoozing under an umbrella. If I'd just looked back, I would've noticed the turquoise waters lapping the shore just a few feet behind me, but instead we set off straight up the hill in the opposite direction.
It wasn't too much of a trek, but it got a little steep in places, however we quickly passed the Coastguard cottages and were greeted with a rewarding view as we rounded the top corner. You can't buy carpets this big or beautiful, but the density of flowers was akin to a high quality weave of epic proportions. Maybe it was the midday sun, or the reflection from the sea, but the flora was blooming its heart out. Energetic, optimistic yellow fuelled the final push to the peak, while swathes of regal purple invoked a sensual, mystical tone. And en masse it was all the more breath-taking, we almost missed the sea view ahead, lego-like cliffs framing the scene with balanced boulders.
Up around the corner and the colours reach as far as the eye can see, punctuated with a big red triangle - slightly surreal but very much adding to the awe. It is partnered by a black and white enigma, both of which seem randomly placed and with no explanation. We've since found out their use as daymarkers - ships at sea can see the black and white marker wherever they are, unless it is obscured by the red triangle, at which point they should quickly change course lest their vessel be smashed upon the hazardous Runnel Stone! The National Coastwatch explains their story in more detail.
We followed the cliff edge down, past Hella Point, till the unbelievable blue of Porthgwarra cove came into view. The clarity of the water, the unusual colour and the height of the boulder-stacked cliffs bowl you over with a sense of serenity that could bring a tear to the eye. Ok, so we're gushing now, but it really was a sight to which words do no justice. Once you've woken up again, head down on into this smugglers' cove.
There is many a Legend of Porthgwarra to be told, most of which are based on the true stories set in the caves of the cliffs. Tunnels with secret hatches lead to hidden drop offs and we reckon a good day's exploring might still uncover some long lost contraband... It would certainly work up an appetite for a cuppa at the cafe.
Stay around this stunning area in one of our holiday cottages near Porthgwarra.