porthcurno beach2

My mind was an odd soup of emotions as I stood on the western most point of Mainland Britain, staring out in the blue of the North Atlantic at 8am on the 7th of September.

Sure, I was excited and eager to get started on our mission to cycle the length of country. I was happy to be back in saddle again, visiting old places and new. But there was also an uneasiness that I couldn’t put my finger on.

The lighthouse off Land’s End.

Maybe it was because it felt wrong to spend a whole day travelling to a place only to take a few photos and then immediately start cycling away as far and as fast as possible in the opposite direction.

Or maybe it was they have done to the place itself.

Land’s End has a fascinating history dating back at least as far as the Ancient Greeks, who called it ‘The Shining Lands’ and it would be the perfect place to educate visitors and promote local culture.

But no – instead somebody decided to build a haunted house and a bunch of souvenir shops selling tacky tourist crap 50 yards from the end of mainland Britain.

Or perhaps it was just the combination of sleep deprivation and coffee fueled anxiety.

The sun had only just risen when took our photos.

Any we I snapped out of it and we headed 50 metres away from the visitor centre towards the rocky outcrop that is the true end of the land.

I hopped over the fence and headed down the slop towards the rocks, ignoring the sign warning me of impending doom if I carried on, and we went to see if I could get a few photos.

I much preferred this part of Land’s End, away from all the crap. Silence, solitude – things the belong at the end of the world.

The rocky outcrop at Land’s End.

After taking too many photos I headed back to the bike and began cycling back to the hostel to pick up our gear. By the time we left the car park another half a dozen cars were parked up and the signpost was taken. It was definitely the right choice on to arrive early!

Once we were packed and our bikes properly packed this time, we said goodbye to our hosts and set off down the road, ready for our adventure!

Lizzy cycling ahead with her 2 pannier setup

Our only stop on enroute today was the Minak Theatre, a spectacular outdoor theatre built into the cliffside 5 miles from Land’s End. Clearly designed to resemble the ancient Greek amphitheaters of old, it’s an impressive sight and a massive tourist draw even when there is no production.

Porthcurno Beach

Getting to the Minak involved a steep descent down a winding road down to Porthcurno Beach and then up short but steep rise than both Lizzy and I walked up.

Unfortunately we made the mistake of just turning up and trying to get in. Due to COVID they were restricting visitor numbers and were only accepting pre-booked tickets. Lizzy was really miffed at not being able get and we tried to catch a glimpse of the stage by following the coastal footpath round the headland but to no avail.

Eventually we gave up and got back on the bikes. Lizzy set up satnav again (she was in charge of navigation for the whole trip) and we followed Google’s directions faithfully as it took us back past the beach entrance and round to the bottom of the steep hill that we had descended along to get here an hour ago.

Again we both got off to push and it took us a good half an hour to get back to the main road.

Fortunately that was the only major hill from day one, but it was enough for us to appreciate why Cornwall is regarded as the toughest part of the LEJOG!

We cycled on until we reached the tiny village of St Buryan and although we had only done about 10 miles in total, we decided that here would be a great place to stop for a break.

After our snack break we turned off the main road and opted to take one of the quieter roads towards Penzance. We cycled on leisurely for another hour and finally we crested the hill and began our descent into Penzance itself.

Descending into Penzance

The road dropped steeply down into the port itself and soon we found ourselves cycling promenade. The council were still in the process of upgrading and renovating the promenade but the first section was gorgeous.

Penzance seafront promenade

We cycled along the promenade, stopping off along the way at LIDL to grab some lunch and supplies for the rest of the week. We at lunch down on the gravel beach below the the promenade.

The water looked inviting and a family were paddling in the water in the distance but I knew in reality the sea would be chilly so I resisted the urge to join them in the water.

After a leisurely lunch/sunbathing break we set off once more along the promenade towards a campsite that was further round the bay.

Eventually we reached the campsite, and popped in to see if they had a space for us to pitch up. The site was pretty much full but the lady was impressed with our mission to cycle the LEJOG route and so let us on anyway. We were both tired and ready to stop so we were very relieved!

After we pitched up we headed down to the beach to take a look at St Michael’s mount, an island that is cut-off from the mainland at high tide. Lizzy bought us a tray of chips from the local chip shop and we sat by the sea wall and munched through them greedily!

St Michael’s Mount.

After dinner we headed back to our tent to grab a second dinner and share a bottle of wine before sleep!