The Art of Exploration · a diary of day trips, natural places, and miscellaneous adventures

Carn Galver to Porthmoina Cove

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011 in Cornwall
Carn Galver to Porthmoina Cove

A mild, sunny day in West Cornwall should never be wasted indoors. Especially in November. So, to best enjoy today’s cobalt blue skies, we decided to hike from Carn Galver to Porthmoina Cove. It’s a short walk (we usually prefer to hike the entire Carn Galver Mine – Gurnard’s Head path) but daylight is fleeting this time of year and we didn’t want to find ourselves stumbling along a sea cliff whilst the sun dipped below the horizon.

Carn Galver Mine engine houses
Atop Carn Galver, looking down at the Carn Galver Mine engine houses.

Our hike began 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.

Path to Bosigran Cliff
Path to Bosigran Cliff

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, which is good news for hikers because the views are spectacular.

Bosigran Cliff
Hiking down Bosigran Cliff towards the Portmoina Cove overlook.

Our hike was essentially one big loop. First we stumbled to the top of Carn Galver, a rocky slope that tops off at a modest 229-foot crest. We retraced our steps back to our starting point and then set off down the rocky slopes to Porthmoina Cove.

Our timing was perfect: just as we reached the edge overlooking the cove, the sun started to kiss the horizon. As we walked back up to our car, the blue November day gave way to a clear night sky.

Portmoina Cove
Overlooking Portmoina Cove.
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