Coast to Coast in a Day

What? you may ask! Well this was down in Cornwall and it is one of the few coast to coast routes that you can do in a day. It runs from Portreath on the Atlantic coast  to Devoran on the estuary of the River Fal, near Falmouth. The route is part of the Cornish Mineral Tramways and is about 11.5 miles, however once again we would double up by going there and back again.

Pau Amma on the pontoon

Pau Amma’s new home

We moved on down to Cornwall from Devon to a small campsite at the wonderfully named ‘Come-to-good Farm’. The site was very basic although we did have an electric hook-up for the motorhome. It was fairly near the Devoran end of the trail and we had chosen it as we wished to visit the people who had bought our small trailer-sailer ‘Pau Amma’ earlier in the year for their young daughters and who owned a boatyard nearby. We had also brought our little ‘pop-pop’ motorbike along on this trip but so far hadn’t used it so we pressed it into service to go and visit the boatyard.  Unfortunately no-one was there (we subsequently found out they were away for a couple of days – just our luck) however we did see our little boat tied up to the pontoon, she is the little blue one in the middle of the photo. Climbing on and off and sitting on the pillion was a tad uncomfortable after my little cycling accident some days before.

Our Mixte bikes at Portreath

Our Mixte bikes at Portreath

We picked up the cycle trail near the campsite just a bit inland from the estuary. It was a very hilly ride of about 3 miles to get to the trail, which we joined near a place called Bissoe where we passed the Bike Chain Café. I had made the mistake of assuming this was another disused railway line and this proved to be a big mistake. It was in fact more of a cart track that served the areas copper and tin mines. It was the roughest trail we have ridden, in parts very steep and very stony with patches of loose stones to ride through and we would have been much better off with proper mountain bikes with fat tyres! The rough ride jogged my injured arm painfully, was taxing on my groin problem and the constant attention to staying in balance was very tiring. There were a few short tarmac and on-road sections which gave some relief. On arriving at Portreath we stopped to reward ourselves with and ice-cream and admired the wonderful beach – it must be heaving in the full season and there were plenty of people there on a day that was warm and sunny for the time of year.

The Bike Chain Cafe, Bissoe

The Bike Chain Cafe, Bissoe

After a good rest our return was, unsurprisingly, pretty much the same as the outward one. We had found that there were plenty of others making use of the trail, walkers, families and other cyclists – mostly on mountain bikes it has to be said. Several cyclists actually overtook us and I confess I was going along a bit gingerly at times, especially downhill, having no wish to fall off again while still recovering from my previous fall. We were even passed by a Dad with his two kiddies on little bikes doing a short section of it and they were managing very well. On the way back we stopped off at the Bike Chain Café at Bissoe for a cup of tea and a bite to eat. Off to the right hand side of the photo there is a long line of bike racks but fortunately there were not too many people around. The café also supports a well stocked bike shop which we had to have a good look round of course.

Devoran, trail end

Devoran, trail end

Rather than leave the track at Bissoe, where we had joined it, we decided to continue along to Devoran so that we had completed the full trail. This section was easier riding and was flatter. It passes through the Carnon valley under the wonderful Carnon viaduct. The largest nugget of gold ever found in Cornwall was once discovered by tin streamers in this area. The last short section on-road brought us into Devoran. Then we had a long, hard, hilly ride back to our campsite. My Mixte bike isn’t as low geared as hubby’s and on one steep hill I had to get off and walk, but with my groin injury walking wasn’t something I managed very well. I found it very painful and had to have frequent rests, in fact I didn’t think I was going to make it but of course I eventually did and I was never more relieved to see the motorhome again.

In all we cycled about 27 miles. It was a pleasant day out but it was rather too much for me in my injured condition and I paid for it later. The next day should have helped me recover as it was a rest day for me while we moved on down to Sennan to visit various relatives in the area – or should I say they mostly visited us as I was completely unable to walk again and in considerable pain.

We decided that if it didn’t improve soon it was time I got properly checked out so a couple of days later we took a taxi to Penzance hospital – straight in to A&E, no-one else waiting to be seen! In turns out I have a severe groin strain which is likely to take some time to heal, but fortunately no serious damage. The advice was to try to keep moving, take pain-killers and carry on cycling as this is exercise without putting too much weight on my injury. I was given a powerful dose of pain-killers at the hospital then hubby’s cousin picked us up and took us back to his house where we spent a lovely time with him and his wife and I was even able to walk around their beautiful large garden without too much discomfort – and then the pain-killers wore off!

The next day we cycled a 6.5 mile round trip on road, to Lands End and back to our campsite. Lands End, like so many lovely iconic places is completely ruined and made into an expensive tourist attraction which you have to pay through the nose to get in – needless to say we didn’t, we turned round at the gates. We have been there many times in the past when it was open and free for all. I found myself wondering how the Lands End to John O’Groats brigade manage to start their rides without forking out the fee.


Site content copyright of Elizabeth Leaper (Libby).

Supporting the Printed Word

Read the Printed Word!