Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Heartbreak hills - Porthpean to Mevagissey

Porthpean beach
Last week, with the Plague fast approaching, I decided it was time to get familiar with the course. So after work on Thursday I headed over to Porthpean. Porthpean to Mevagissey is the first and last six miles of the out and back Plague route as well as the finish for all the other distances. I've run it before - two years ago I ran the red twenty mile course - and it is brutal. The Plague starts at midnight so the first twenty miles or more will be run under cover of darkness; I want to know where I'm going!

Memorial to Al Rowse
From Porthpean beach the coast path is gained via a steady climb uphill, which continues up a track before opening out into fields. A ludicrously steep climb follows and afterwards the first set of steps arrive. These first few climbs are just a warm up though. The coast path pops out onto a road at Trenarren; its easy to get lost here: take the left fork then left again just after a house. If you miss this you will be directed via some very clear signs through farmland before rejoining the coast path in a half mile of so. Get it right though and you will soon gain Black Head, passing a large carved monolith commemorating the life of Poet and Historian Al Rowse.

The path drops down, into woodland, and up again. More steps follow, steep ones, long ones, overgrown ones (at this time of year at least). After about three miles or so though the assault on your quads eases off. From here until Pentewan the path is hemmed in between the cliff and fenced off fields and a lot less hilly.

Looking West from Black Head
On arrival at Pentewan you skirt in front of some attractive houses, not sure but I assume they are holiday homes, then turn sharp left and steeply down into the village, passing through the square and past the Ship Inn. From here its out onto the main road briefly before rejoining the coast path at the entrance to the holiday park.

Looking back to Pentewan
If you thought you had left behind the hills then think again, more steep climbing follows over grassy fields and in the company of cattle. The views, first back to Pentewan and soon across towards Mevagissey are spectacular, so stop a minute to catch your breath as you take them in.

Towards Mevagissey
Entering Mevagissey you'll cross an open green and descend steps to the side of the harbour. Depending on the time of year you may be greeted by a far few tourists at this point. Last Thursday it was quiet though and I stopped for an ice cream and looked at the boats for a bit before heading back.

Mevagissey Harbour

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