Carn Galver to Porthmoina Cove
This time of year in West Cornwall, a mild and sunny day should never be wasted indoors. To enjoy the agreeable weather, we decide to hike from Carn Galver to Porthmoina Cove. It’s a short ramble and we usually prefer to hike the entire Carn Galver Mine – Gurnard’s Head path, but daylight is fleeting this time of year and we don’t want to find ourselves stumbling along a sea cliff on the way back when the sun dips below the horizon.
The hike proper begins near the Carn Galver Tin Mine. This particular mine was operational on and off from about 1851 to 1878. Although this may sound old, it’s not—the Carn Galver is a relative youngster. Mining in Cornwall and Devon is an ancient practice, dating back to the Bronze Age. Turns out, there used to be a lot of tin and copper in them there hills.
Although the mine is now a scenic landmark, in its heyday the Carn Galver appears to have been a bit of a lemon. According to mine records, it never produced much tin and was plagued with drainage problems. The National Trust now looks after the mine and its surrounding lands and this is good news for hikers because the views are spectacular.
Our hike is essentially one big loop. First, we stumble to the top of Carn Galver, a rocky slope that tops off at a modest 229-foot crest. We retrace our steps back to our starting point and then set off down the rocky slopes to Porthmoina Cove.
Our timing is perfect: just as we reach the edge overlooking the cove, the sun starts to kiss the horizon. As we walk back up to our car, the blue November day gives way to a clear night sky.