I can’t believe I haven’t been to Cape Cornwall before. Energy seems to radiate from the atmosphere. Light reflects off of the waves and intensifies the landscape’s colours, and salty air billowing in from the Celtic Sea is exhilarating.

Evidence of the county’s tin and copper mining legacy is all around, and on approach, a statuesque chimney stack on the headland is striking.

Checking details of our hike, Mr Word Loft studied his Ordnance Survey phone app. “This way,” he said, opening a wooden gate leading to a footpath heading towards Pendeen Watch, and then down past a fetching coastal holiday house from which the views must be stunning.

Next, we tramped up and down steep and winding pathways. My ankles aren’t too good on uneven terrain, but the effort was worthwhile. We reached ruined engine houses and other workings of Kenidjack mine tucked down in a wooded valley where a small crystal-clear river sparkles over pebbles. It’s crossed via a wooden bridge with sunny yellow gorse spiking hedgerows on either side. Two mules grazing in a field blinked nonchalantly over at us. Oh, how I wish I could have stroked them, their rich brown winter coats still thick and downy.

The countryside is tranquil now and vastly different from the 1800s when it was hectic with waterwheels clunking, and rock crushing machines thumping. We were eager to explore more and trekked up high stony steps where, at the top, I was surprised to learn that history goes back even further. There the remains of a Stone Age castle are still evident.

Between St Just and Botallack, and then on to Levant, we followed in the footsteps of hundreds of Cornish miners, where there are several ruined engine houses. It reminded me of a feature I wrote a few years ago published in “The People’s Friend” called a ‘Mine of Information’ about Bodmin Moor’s mining heritage, and the pottery models I made of the iconic buildings.

I was astounded by the vastness of the industry’s heritage then, but even more so now.

Seeing the old workings lodged along the cliffs against a backdrop of glittering teal is remarkable. I almost expected to see Winston Graham’s character Ross Poldark on horseback galloping by, but alas that wasn’t to be.

Until next time,
Sue. X