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Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Little Horses on a Lizard, An Abandoned Cottage and the Devils Frying Pan

A group of us went to Cornwall this weekend gone. We share common interests including SCUBA diving, running, ukuleles and twitter.

Claire and I took the opportunity to do a run on the Saturday so we thought we would head West along the South West Coastal Path. This path ran right past our caravan in Kuggar so it was too good an opportunity to miss. The path is a whopping 630 miles long!

Claire taking care down the South West Coastal Path near Kuggar
We looked at the map and reckoned at our Greensand Way pace we could run to the Lizard Lighthouse and back in under 2 hours.

The coastal path is a very enjoyable change from Greensand Way running. The path westwards from Kuggar (where we were staying) runs within a few feet of the Cliff and gives you a great view out to sea as well as the headlands in both directions in the far distance.

Lee finds a fish carving bench on the South West Coastal Path near Poltesco
The path is very steep and the sheer drop on the seaward side means you are always watching your feet VERY carefully as you run along it. It was noisy with the crashing of the waves, it smelt of sea salt and wild garlic and you could hear seagulls. This run was more like the run I did with Dave in Devon. I loved it.

Lee by an abandoned cottage on the seafront on the South West Coastal Path near Polbream Point
I had actually run this section of path a few years before (when I had first taken up cross country running again to lose weight). I knew that an abandonded cottage was there on the beach between the cliffs on the path and also a little bridge that crossed a beautiful stream.

crossing the stream by the abandoned cottage near Polbream point on the South West Coastal Path

We crossed the stream and began another ascent to the next section of the cliff top path. This was around the Enys head area of the coast. We came across some little wild ponies on the cliff top here who were very used to people and would meander over to us to say hello.

A little pony comes to say hi to Claire on the South West Costal Path near Enys head.
We then descended again down to a very picturesque cornish village called Cadgwith. There was a small strip of beach with the village nestled between the cliffs. The strip of beach had a number of fishing boats pulled up on it that were picture postcard perfect.

fishing boats in Cadgwith on the South West Coastal Path

Its was about now that we realised that we were running WAAAAAY slower up and down this coastal path than we were used to. A quick check of 'science' showed us we were running at a pace of 20 minutes per mile. This was obviously much slower than we thought we would run it, caused by a combination of running up and down very steep sandy paths with steep dangerous drop offs and me stopping far too much to take far too many pretty pictures.

The Devils Frying Pan on the South West Coastal Path
As we ran on westwards we could see the 'science' was showing a strange 'hole' on the ordnance survey map marked The Devils Frying Pan. This turned out to be a very large 'bridge' of land over a hole through the cliffs that the sea had punched through. The view to it was looking down a very sheer cliff path which only added to how exciting and epic it was.

The Devils Frying Pan
We ran on with time against us. It was an evening run and we had already been running for nearly an hour. We could make out the lifeboat station at Bass Point but didnt stand a chance of getting to the Lizard lighthouse at our coastal running pace.

no matter what national trust path you run'll always find gloves

We turned back Dollar Ogo and tried running faster and harder to get the pace time improving. after an hours running we had travelled under 3 miles ! We had a chuckle on the way back when we found out it isnt just the Greensand Way that is littered with gloves, they were here on the coastal path too.

lee enjoying a beer stop on the South West Coastal Path at Kuggar

The weather was 'closing in' and the sky got darker and looked like rain so this was a further incentive to get back quick. Claire acted as pace setter and really got us back fast. When we got back to the golf course at the camp site in Kuggar we enjoyed a quick beer stop to celebrate such a scenic (but bloody short on distance!) run.

Tim with sports drink back at the caravan in Kuggar

Tim (who runs Greensand Way HQ online) was waiting for us back at the caravan. He gave us the furious 'where have you been' look as our dinner was ready.

On the return run back from the Devils Frying Pan we were running fast and I got less time to take in the views or take pics. This was a good chance as I ran hard to think about how great this run was. This was another one in a hundred. The pictures show just how amazing it was. We were planning to run east on the coastal path as well before the holiday ended but looking at the map I couldnt really see how it would beat this superb run for pictures and views.

The South West Coast Path at the Devils Frying Pan

I was very wrong.

The run we did next (which is the next blog) produced some of the most stunning pics we've taken so far in training.

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