Monday, 28 January 2013

Trail report: Coast to coast on the mineral tramway

Mineral Tramway near Bissoe
We wanted to complete a long run at a steady, consistent pace this weekend as part of the build up to the Duchy Marathon, so chose to leave the coast path and instead take the Mineral Tramway from Devoran to Portreath and back. 

This route, popular with cyclists, follows the old mining tramways used to transport copper ore from the rich seams around Redruth to the ports at Portreath on the north coast and Devoran on the south.  From here the ore was shipped to Swansea for smelting with the returning vessels bringing coal back into the county.

Overall the ascent is about 400 feet, but spread over 5 miles or so it’s not too noticeable.  Although most of the route is off road, nowhere is it in any way technical, mostly being on well maintained level paths.

It’s surprising to realise that the county can be crossed so easily and without much apparent change in elevation.  The first few miles follow the path of the Carnon River and pass numerous mining remains.  Scorrier is the highest point of the route, after which the trail descends gradually through farmland and wooded valleys before finally arriving back at sea level at Portreath.

If you have a car at each end then a one way trip is a pleasant 11 miles or you can do the whole thing there and back; of course on the way back all those little changes in elevation become more noticeable as fatigue increases, but at least the last few miles will be downhill.  It’s also worth noting that this is a popular route (did I mention cyclists?), in summer it’s likely to be pretty congested.

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