THE CORNISH PILGRIMAGE – PHASE 9
ST IVES TO ST MICHAEL’S MOUNT
This part of the Pilgrimage retraces the footsteps of the early Celtic travellers as it reaches a conclusion in Mounts Bay.
START: St. Ia Church, St Ives.
DISTANCE: 15 Miles.
ROUTE SUMMARY: The main route adopts the St Michael’s Way; cyclists have to complete their pilgrimage along Route 3 from Hayle/St. Erth to Marazion. Those continuing beyond St Michael's Mount to Lands End, follow the cycle route/coast path to Penzance. This section of Route 3, known as 'The First and Last Trail', extends to Cornwall’s busiest fishing centre at Newlyn; then continues via Mousehole, Lamorna and St Buryans to Land’s End.
The traditional pilgrim route is only accessible on foot and begins in St Ives at the church of St Ia which stands as a tribute to the Irish Saint who founded the town in AD460.
Using the side lane from the church and war memorial, walk to the top of town and Porthminster Beach.
Locating the coast path at Porthminster Beach (next to the train station) the journey back tracks a mile or so to the St Michael’s Way footpath which bears right on an uphill course to the Cornish Arms at Carbis Bay. At the back of the pub the route turns left up Steeple Lane to a nature reserve and Knills Monument.
Walking through the site, locate the wooden sign post marker and descend to Laity Lane. From here the path is a mixture of road and paddock; later passing behind some residential properties as the Pilgrimage nears Bowl Rock. After crossing a busy road at Bowl Rock Chapel there is a steep climb across the pastures to Trencrom Hill. Cross the farm road and follow the path through the nature reserve. Then from the car park, make a 1 mile further descent to a church building which is now a residential property. The trail runs through the garden to a stile and then crosses 3 fields to a farmyard; keep to the left of the farmyard and continue along a dirt track which eventually leads back to the road. The off-road sections are good fun but you need to follow the signs carefully when on the road; at one point the trail crosses a ford, winds back on itself sharply and then spectacularly ascends to expose walkers to magnificent views of
St Michael’s Mount and Ludgvan Church. From here the path tumbles through more pastures, streams and numerous stiles before a final muddy climb to Lugvan Village. In close proximity to the church is the White Hart Inn, and a few yards downhill on the opposite side is the remainder of the trail. Enjoying a conclusion of seaward views, it crosses marsh land, the A30 and the mainline railway which terminates at Penzance.
If the tide is low at Marazion, it may be possible to walk the causeway to the Mount, where the Ferry Master or Tourist Officer will stamp your passport. Many centuries ago the Mount was a sanctuary for the pilgrims and a stepping stone in their greater journey to Europe. After replenishing supplies, they embarked on a sea crossing to France, scaled the Pyrenees and then walked to Santiago de Compostella in Galicia, Spain. The Cathedral and assumed resting place of St James at Santiago was the final destination for those weary monks from Ireland, and remains the iconic landmark for pilgrims worldwide today.
The only sea journey from the Mount these days is a ferry service taking visitors back on shore at high tide. You can then rejoin the coast path/cycle trail which continues to Penzance Tourist Office (and Land’s End if you need it!).
GETTING THERE: Most main line train services stop at St. Erth; change here for the scenic branch line to St Ives where trains run every half hour. Cycles are permitted on trains and note that Route 3 runs directly from
St Erth station to St Michael’s Mount.
In St Ives, the train station and bus depot are in close proximity and there are good bus services operating from most Cornish destinations to St Ives. Contact Traveline – Tel: 0871 200 22 33.
PLACES TO STAY: There is a backpackers at Penzance and a youth hostel at St Just; also numerous B&B/inns between Marazion and Mousehole. The Tourist Office is situated opposite Penzance Train Station (terminus).
PASSPORT: The harbour master at the Mount can authenticate your passports, or at high tide you can obtain a stamp from St Michael’s Church in Marazion. Other places include: Penzance Tourist Office; The White Hart, Ludgvan; the Railway Inn, Marazion. It may still be possible to acquire an independent certificate from the Penzance Tourist Office for walking The St Michael’s Way. You will need to stamp the St Michael’s Way Passport en route to ensure qualifying for the certificate.