It was cold on Sunday, but dry, which was a very welcome change. The runs starts, as you might expect, with a hill. You can either head up the road and turn left by the Driftwood Spars hotel or take a path through a memorial garden above the public toilets. Both are steep and converge after a hundred yards or so; the climb goes on much longer.
Once up top you'll fast become aware of another drop approaching. Take the time to look over your shoulder beforehand as the views of the Cove from the cliff top are impressive. A steep rocky path takes you down to sea level. Follow the road a short distance, past the entrance for Blue Hills Tin before regaining the path again. There are a couple of options but both lead up and both have their fair share of the ubiquitous steps to contend with.
At last you reach the top of the cliff and from here an enjoyable romp along largely flat trail takes you past Perranporth airfield and, in a few miles, to Perranporth itself. Even in winter it tends to be heaving here and is a popular dog walking venue, though we were early enough to beat the crowds (on the way out at least).
After negotiating the town, which can be confusing, head up onto the dunes of Penhale Sands. There are numerous paths to choose from and it can be difficult to find the right one; staying as close to the cliff edge as possible seems the best option. An alternative if the tide is out is to run along the beach, there is a path leading up at the far end. We chose this for our return rather than brave the strength sapping soft sand of the dunes a second time.
On the way back, Penhale Sands
Towards the end of the dunes you enter Penhale training camp, an Army facility and are warned to avoid straying from the path. This is easy enough as there are red and white way markers showing the route. Keep these to your right to avoid straying into any war games or unexploded ordinance.
You will round a headland, after which the camp itself appears and a rather disturbing section of the run takes you between a wooden fence at the cliff edge and razor-wire topped chain link to landward. With the ageing barracks to the right its easy to imagine you are arriving at a prisoner of war camp. Soon though you are free, although another worrying installation, a grid of metal hoops with the sign "Ionising radiation and high voltage" is passed on the right before the camp is finally behind you.
Now follows the pleasant descent to Holywell Bay, with its beautiful Dunes and beach. This was the turn around point for us; just over 9 miles. Much of this run is through mine spoil, along crumbling, decaying cliff tops but the rugged beauty is easy to appreciate.