WILD THING

County Corn­wall on Eng­land’s rugged south­west­ern tip forms a penin­sula en­com­pass­ing wild moor­land and hun­dreds of sandy beaches

The Courier-Mail - QWeekend - - ESCAPE - PAUL WICKS

The Devon­shire teas were $10, the views price­less. Both were on of­fer at the lo­cal cafe the day we de­scended into Ky­nance Cove in the deep south of Eng­land, around the cor­ner from the coun­try’s south­ern­most spot, Lizard Point.

The Lizard, with its brac­ing coast­line walks and at-times tired tourist shops and vil­lage green, was draw­ing the crowds on a sunny Sun­day, but the star at­trac­tion was next door – Ky­nance Cove, rated by a lead­ing UK writer as hav­ing among the very best views in the Old Dart.

From the top is a stun­ning view of the cove, of craggy hills slop­ing down to an in­trigu­ing mix of sand, rock pools and streams. Perched above this is the cafe. I’ve seen a lot of the British coast­line and this is up there with the very best and worth a look next time you head into Eng­land’s south­west coun­ties. The cafe was the ideal spot for a breather be­fore tack­ling the steep climb back to the carpark.

Ky­nance is sign­posted from the main road. Miss it and you’ll be sorry as it was about the high­light of our roam­ing. Even a week was not enough to take in all the sights, but we gave it a red-hot go.

Giv­ing Ky­nance a se­ri­ous run for its money was Porthcurno Beach, around the cor­ner from the bet­ter-known Land’s End, the most west­erly main­land point of the UK. Porthcurno’s golden sand sur­prised and de­lighted. It’s not a mas­sive beach, be­ing framed by big cliffs, one of which we gin­gerly climbed on our way to have a gan­der at the ope­nair Mi­nack Theatre, cut into the cliff around the cor­ner. A mati­nee send-up of the Thatcher years was draw­ing the num­bers on the day. Af­ter­wards, we headed down the hill to a pleas­ant lit­tle cafe where my wife got her wish – a baguette over­flow­ing with crab meat.

Less im­pres­sive was the car park­ing. Peo­ple in the know parked at nearby Sen­nen Cove, the west­ern­most set­tle­ment on the English main­land, and hiked up the hill to the End and its fa­mous sign.

Just next to Sen­nen is White­sand Bay, one of the best for surfers. A cool­ish arvo didn’t de­ter the wet­suit bri­gade. For us it was an­other walk along the beach. More golden sand was the go at Porth­towan, framed by cliffs, one of which we climbed slowly to sneak an­other peek at the coast with the most. A short drive to the south brings you to Go­drevy with its light­house and life­savers, but a col­lapsed stair­way made it near im­pos­si­ble to get to the sand.

Per­haps the most dra­matic set­ting in the area is the cen­turies-old St Michael’s Mount. It tow­ers over the sur­rounds, off the coast in Mount’s Bay, near the cute town of Marazion. Get the tide times right and you can walk to the Mount, get them wrong and it’s wet, as we found out. No chance of walk­ing on wa­ter on the way back, so it was a quick $4 ride in a small com­muter boat.

A visit to the Mount is well worth it, even at $17 (free if you’re a Na­tional Trust mem­ber). The room dis­plays are im­pres­sive. But be warned, it’s a bit of a climb over cob­ble­stones. And park­ing next to the beach costs $7.

Nearby was the town of Pen­zance, which was a let­down, apart from its ex­cel­lent shoe shop. There are many more ap­peal­ing places, such as tiny, hilly Cadg­with, near Lizard. Among the big­ger cen­tres are Truro with its im­pres­sive cathe­dral, Fal­mouth with a pretty beach, castle and a very long shop­ping street, and St Ives, which is per­haps the pick. For more to do, duck down to Pen­zance and hop on the

Scil­lo­nian III ves­sel for a three-hour trip to the Isles of Scilly. We stayed at the Cor­nish mar­ket town of Hel­ston for no other rea­son than it was cen­tral for our ac­tiv­i­ties. The onebed, con­verted build­ing cost about $400 a week.

The pleas­ant own­ers even pro­vided a welcome pack that in­cluded Aus­tralian wine.

( From top) St Michael’s Mount, Marazion, in Corn­wall; the view to Porthcurno from the open-air Mi­nack Theatre; and the beach at St Ives.

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