Today is probably going to be the shortest day of the whole walk – a mere 3.3m from Penzance to Mousehole, where I started Day 69 last year.
The walk was simple – along the cob from Penzance to Newlyn. Newlyn was interesting: I enjoyed seeing a real working fishing port rather than the little ports that just seem to run pleasure craft. The warehouses were shabby, and the place does not seem to be very wealthy but there were dozens of ships crowded into the harbour and numerous fish wholesalers lining the streets. I also came across another of the cycle way signposts – haven’t seen one of those for ages.
Just outside Mousehole there is a memorial garden to the volunteers of the Penlee Life Boat station. Closed now, it performed its last service in 1981, when the Solomon Browne set out in hurricane force winds and 50ft seas to help the Union Star. After initial reports that four men had been saved, contact with the station was dropped and both ships were lost with all hands. Eight men from Mousehole had been in the lifeboat, a very high number for such a tiny village, but within forty-eight hours sufficient volunteers had come forward to form a full crew. The replacement boat, the Mabel Alice, was stationed in Newlyn.
The weather was not much to write home about. The cloud stubbornly refused to lift and the west wind was quite strong. I reached my destination by 10.45, and caught the bus back to Penzance. My original plan had been to return to Marazion to go into the castle at St Michael’s Mount, but my landlady informed me at breafast that it is closed on Saturdays.
I wish I had taken the chance to go around quickly yesterday. My second thought was the open air theatre at Mynack, which I missed last year through going inland, but the weather was so dull it hardly seemed worth the bother. In the end, I took a bus to Gwithian, a small town in North Cornwall where a branch of my family came from, before emigrating to South Wales in the 1840s. The churchyard was full of Hockins, Cocks, Andrewarthas and Pascoes, all cousins in the 99th degree. A swift bus ride back (First Kernow operate an excellent and comprehensive service) gave me time to go to the Penlee Gallery to look at an exhibition of sea painting.