Today is my last day in Cornwall and I found myself walking alone as everyone else was having a ‘lazy’ day, whatever those are.
I decided to end my holiday in Cornwall with a walk from our cottage in Porthtowan to Porthcadjack Cove, just above the village of Portreath, a distance of around 5 miles.
My walk started briskly enough, the weather was cloudy but there didn’t seem to be any threat of rain. I strolled across Porthtowan Beach and up onto the cliffs above. The coastal path led me past some amazing natural sea stacks such as the Tobban Horse. While taking a photo of this particular sea stack, I could have sworn that I saw a small black lizard move stealthily passed me, just at the bottom of my peripheral vision. Although I waited, it didn’t make a reappearance.
Continuing along, I came across perhaps one of the most intriguing sites that I’ve ever seen in Cornwall; RRH Portreath, or as it use to be called, RAF Nancekuke. During WW2 the site was built to function as a RAF fighter command center and as stop over for planes heading to/from North Africa and the Middle East. However it was during the Cold War that Nancekuke took on its most infamous role as a chemical weapon site.
Throughout the 1950s the site was owned by the CDE Porton Down and was used as a production site for the nerve agent, sarin and eventually much of the UK’s chemical weapons was stored in Nancekuke. However the most dangerous chemical produced on the site was VX. VX is an odorless, tasteless and extremely toxic gas, it is classed as a WMD by the United Nations.
The site was mothballed in the early 1970s and today it houses an RAF radar station and training sites for the local emergency services, but tales remain of workers falling ill on the site and there are even rumors that nerve agents were dumped in local mine shafts. Only stories of course, but they add a sense of mystery and conspiracy to the place.
The MOD fence-line followed me pretty much all the way to Portreath and unlike my earlier walk to St Agnes Head this part of the coastal path contained a lot more dips and climbs along the cliff-face.
Therefore, by the time I reached Portreath I was pretty dog tired and just about ready for a nice cream tea. However when I reached the village’s only cafe, it was full. I decided to keep walking and head straight to Porthcadjack Cove, which meant even more slogging up cliffs.
However it was all worth it when I finally reached Porthcadjack Cove. The landscape before me was a fantastic amalgamation of sea stacks, rough seas and rugged coastline, with the lighthouse of Godrevy, a mere beacon in the distance.
I would have admired the view more, but I soon felt rain against my face, having not brought my raincoat, I decided it was due time to head back to Portreath for that cream tea. However on my way down I found my path blocked by a pair of rather stubborn Shetland Ponies. Though I tried to move them along, they remained steadfast, and I didn’t want to get particularly close to them. Defeated I turned around and headed back up the path and down a much steeper route to Portreath where I prompt fell flat on my arse.
One sore bottom later, I finally made it back to the cafe and was relived to find it a lot emptier. However I could see that heavy rain was on its way and I didn’t fancy the long walk back. So I decided to call my parents (who were lazing back at the cottage) to ask if they could pick me up in the car. After 5 calls, plus texts. I began to get worried. I had finished my tea and had left the cafe and still they wouldn’t pick up the phone.
I eventually got through to mum who complained about bad signal or something (a likely story) and after a few distorted phone calls, I manged to tell them I required collecting and that I was in Portreath. At this point it decided chuck it down with rain and I quickly dived into a little bus shelter. And that’s how my Dad found me twenty minutes later; cold, wet and huddled in the corner of a ropy bus shelter. Well there are worse days to end your holiday.
Thus concludes my tale, if you enjoyed this story feel free to write in the comments, or leave a like and thanks for reading.