Rame Head Loop – 16/06/2018

This week I went out with my best friend, Rob Waldron, and explored part of the Rame Peninsula. Designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1959, I was excited to take Rob out to see one of my favourite places in our local area. Heading off at lunchtime, after the weather had mostly cleared, we decided to go for a slightly longer drive and crossed the Tamar Bridge instead of the Torpoint Ferry.

Heading to Saint John Village

At low tide and heading to Saint John, we took the ford at Gooseford Lane to see the Tamar all the way out. After such a great start to the afternoon, naturally, there was a hiccup shortly after. Heading out of Saint John we took a wrong turn and ended up trying to scramble up a hill not built for cars. Being stubborn we naturally tried to continue, only to be forced to a stop by a mudslide. With no room to turn around the next half hour was spent slowly but surely reversing down the narrowest, muddiest and least vehicle friendly hill in the area to join the main road and head to the start of our walk – Wiggle Cliff.

One stuck car… apologies for the low-resolution screenshotted photo!

After reaching Wiggle Cliff we started our hike, destination number one being Rame Head and St. Michael’s Chapel. The South West Coast Path offers some of the best views in the country – green verges, white sand, sprawling coastline. With the wind blowing and the waves crashing, the pair of us absorbed the sea air, glad we made the choice to head out on a day that started so grim.

Early views set the tone for the walk ahead – what an afternoon to be out

Walking along the coast we made a good time towards our goal. Rame Head and St Michael’s Chapel soon came into view. With cliffs on all sides, the climb up to Rame Head is a very rapid and steep 97 metres, but the views from the Chapel promised to be worth it.

Final approach to Rame Head

St Michael’s Chapel was first consecrated for Mass in 1397 and is on the site of a much older Celtic hermitage. Interestingly Ordwuf, Uncle to King Ethelred the Unready, gifted Rame to Tavistock Abbey. Comsequently this Cornish landmark was temporarily part of a Devon parish, until modern ecclesiastical reform.

St Michael’s Chapel  – old  and lonely on the rugged top

Rob and I were greeted at the summit of Rame Head with better weather momentarily. It was as if our efforts had been rewarded, and I personally was thrilled that I could share some of my favourite views in the South West with my best friend. After taking in the amazing view of the cold water reefs, and a brief refuelling stop (food and water) we resumed our walk onto Penlee point.

Stunning views across the coast

Heading to Penlee point we were greeted with views of the Great Mewstone and Wembury far across the bay. A good half hour later we reached our destination – Queen Adelaide’s Grotto. Built into a natural cave, on the site of watchhouse, this grotto was dedicated after Prince William and Princess Adelaide visited in 1827, before he became King William IV and she became Queen Consort in 1830. Here we made friends with dog walkers who had managed to walk 200 miles of the South West Coastal Path last year, and were aiming for another 200 this year! Impressive stuff!

Queen Adelaide’s Grotto

After saying goodbye to our new friends we headed to Cawsand and started the return leg of our journey. The coastal path from Penlee to Cawsand drops into woods and you lose sight of the sea for about 20 minutes. Since we had been walking by the sea all afternoon this was a welcome change of pace. Less welcome were the steep rolling hills we had suddenly found ourselves walking through, and this short stretch became the most demanding of the whole hike. Luckily it wasn’t long before we were at Cawsand, a lovely seaside town and beach. In life, I don’t think anyone can say they spent too much time by the sea. Which is why I daresay I will walk the South West Coast Path at every opportunity I can, for as long as I am able.

Cawsand… we weren’t the only ones enjoying the afternoon

After spending some time on the beach, we had to leave Cawsand behind and cut across the country at Wigford Down to the carpark in order to head home. Even this part of the walk was beautiful, and not the disappointment of departing the coast path we imagined.

Last view of the sea as we headed across Wigford Down

Tired and heading home I’m pleased to say that Rob smashed his previous PB for a walk and cardio in a day. It didn’t even put him off – he messaged me today asking when we were going to go out again. I’m always up for an adventure, and the best adventures are those you share with your mates. Who knows where we will end up next time! Until then, I leave you with an embarrassing photo taken by Rob, and as always the various sources I referred to while either planning or referencing my walk.

Watch this space!

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I don’t regret posing for this at all…

Credit is due to the following links providing maps and reference for our walk:

http://www.iwalkcornwall.co.uk/walk/rame_head

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rame_Head

http://visitrame.org.uk/listing/penlee-grotto