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At one point, while camping near the pretty peak of Lanín in Argentina I think it was, I harboured vague aspirations to climb up high stuff. Since then I have had three hip surgeries, and live with the  lingering pain of hip impingement syndrome, so it’s a very good thing for me that the peaks of West Penwith are measured in hundreds rather than thousands of metres – and take on average 10 minutes to climb. Ideal for those with motivation impingement syndrome too!

Herewith, documentation of my first 2012 peak of Penwith: the Iron Age fortification of Chun Castle, atop a bloody great hill near Pendeen. It’s a bit rubbly now, as you might fairly expect after 2,400 years, but the circular hillfort and its granite gates are still perfectly clear and impressive. No longer needed for spying approaching enemies perhaps but for me a useful vantage point from which to decide on my favourite remote Penwith property…

Click for more pics: Read the rest of this entry »

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winter penwith moors cornwall

When weighing up the move to Cornwall a few years ago, I was quite preoccupied with the idea of getting through the winters. In my first week in Penzance, at the start of winter, I noted with deep concern that every light on the street was out by 10pm, and thought my worst fears had been realised. No signs of life!

But it’s funny how wrong you can be because I love winter down here. There are the obvious bonuses like being able to find a parking space, quiet roads and empty beaches, but also the Penwith landscape wears the dark tones of foul weather well.

Here are a few late afternoon shots taken from a beacon near Sancreed (randomly chosen from the OS map – coordinates on a postcard plse!) shortly before the sleet started, at which point we repaired to the Sportsman’s Arms in Heamoor for pints of Trade Winds.

winter penwith cornwallwinter penwith

Every few weeks, I escape the Metropolis on a Saturday morning and burn over to Higher Trenowin farm shop up on the scenic PZ-St Ives road.

It is an exemplary farm shop, as I was saying the other day, but to be honest I take almost any excuse to go for a drive that road – it climbs high out of Penzance and gives an instant feeling of space. There’s a excellent layby en route – here’s a very short vid from last weekend.

Trencrom Hill Fort is one of the highest hills in the westernmost Cornish district of Penwith – and I was looking forward to finally conquering this great peak. Ten minutes after parking the car, I had.

The ascent was a little tamer than expected but it was none the less epic at the summit. The views from these granite stacks are incredible – from sand-trimmed St Ives Bay to the north to Mount’s Bay in the south, and the ancient field patterns stretching west across the moors towards Land’s End.

In my Trencrom expedition team were some visiting friends, one of whom enquired about the age of this historic site. I usefully stated it was ‘really bloody old’. Read the rest of this entry »

p&c january header: artist’s studio Newlyn

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