18 May – A tourist trap travesty

Our stay last night at YHA Land’s End – near Cape Cornwall (not Land’s End) was exceptional.

We had our own room with full ensuite. It had a bath tub. The water was hot. The tub was deep and comfortable. Bliss. We arranged for full board so the charming young man who checked us in, changed into his bar tender role and sold us wine and beer. Then he slipped into his chef’s garb to cook us wholesome bangers and mash with peas. Not mushy peas thank goodness. Apple pie and ice cream, for dessert. The setting was lovely, the house sits on a hill commanding a view down a valley to the shoreline. The western sun shone on its wide green lawn on which we sat at bright blue picnic benches to drink our beers and relax.

After a very good night’s sleep, good breakfast and receiving our bags of lunches we set off on an easy day. The trail rose and fell over rocky promontories but none were high and nothing was steep for long. We did have a bit of clambering to do to negotiate through some immense rocky crags. All very scenic. Soon we were climbing down onto the sandy beach of Sennen Cove.

This was our lunch spot and we took advantage of the warm day to dip our feet into the chilly ocean. Really chilly! We then cut inland to Sennen village where there is a church built in 520 and a pub next door built in 1620. It is a smugglers hang out at one point. A hole in the floor leads to underground passages ways to the sea. Our B& B is really pleasant – we have the entire upper floor to ourselves. No smugglers passage ways that we know of.

We dumped our packs at the B&B. Pat went to the smugglers pub for a beer. I had read about the tacky tourist trap of Lands End but felt I wanted to see for myself before before making comments, so I walked down with Marianne, who is a keen sightseer.

It is as developed as advertised. I’m not sure if developed is the right word. The probably once beautiful headland that marks England’s most western point has been built up with a series of gift shops, cafes, amusement venues, a miniature village, a stone circle (not ancient), an expensive hotel, an expensive restaurant, a massive parking lot – with tour busses. After spending so many days enjoying the beauty of this remarkable coastline, this construction is hideous and jarring. Why the buildings couldn’t have been placed a few hundred metres back from the shore line, and the cliffs left in their natural glory is a mystery I have no answer to.

I’m glad I didn’t arrive here with high expectations. For many years Cape Cornwall was thought to be England’s most western point. Happily it is still an unspoilt naturally pretty place to visit. Here at Lands End – not so much. While no “Trip Advisor,” I rate this tourist stop as an unwarranted travesty inflicted on the natural world.

We have now returned from a delicious pub meal at the Local Sennen pub – the smugglers pub I mentioned earlier – “The First and the Last Inn.” We looked down the smugglers hole. The woman smuggler, Annie, had turned on her partners. For her treacherous testimony to the courts, she was staked on the beach and the tide got her. Hmm…. best not turn kings witness in these parts. We ate lunch on that beach -it would have been a long slow horrendous way to die.

Tomorrow is Harry and Megan’s wedding. We have seen lots of coastal patrols via military choppers over the past couple of days. We aren’t sure if that has something to do with wedding security of not. Each time there’s been a low fly-by of our location we can see the fellows sitting in the open side doors of the chopper so we wave and smile! We are a distinct three some. If anyone’s paying any attention, they will realize we don’t walk too far on any given day.

Good night from the village of Sennen.

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