Running From Mousehole to Lamorna Cove

A day in Mousehole finally led to me running to pretty Lamorna Cove, covering a circular 5 miles along the Cornish coast and countryside. 

Lamorna Cove is renowned for being one of the most beautiful spots in Cornwall so I was definitely overdue a visit.

It’s also a place people name their children after, amplifying how special this hamlet on the Penwith peninsula in west Cornwall is. 

This circular Mousehole to Lamorna Cove route involves taking the public footpath from Mousehole to Kemyel Drea, before heading down a valley to Lamorna Cove. The other half, from Lamorna to Mousehole, is on my favourite playground, the south west coast path

Armed with my Raidlight hydration pack and my trusty OS map, I decided to head out of Mousehole on the public footpath to Lamorna Cove, and return to Mousehole via the coast. 

It was a case of saving the best til last but to be honest, it was all pretty good.

Fishing boats in Mousehole Harbour
A row of terraced houses overlooking the sea in Mousehole

From Mousehole to Kemyel Drea

Leaving Mousehole via south quay, I headed past the public toilets, and along Gurnick Street (very nice indeed). I look out to St Clements Isle before turning left and embarking on a lengthy climb out of Mousehole, up Raginnis Hill.

Mousehole in Cornwall
A house overlooking the sea on the south west coast path

I make a mistake by taking the south west coast path part way up the Raginnis Hill. When I consulted my map, I wasn’t convinced it was the correct route but went anyway ?‍♀️ .

I end up at a lookout called Merlyn Rock. It’s totally stunning and looks like a decent place for a picnic. Unfortunately it’s a dead end so back I go, retracing my steps to Raginnis Hill.

Thankfully, I learn that the whole running route to Lamorna Cove is well signed. In fact, aside from this error, I could’ve left my map at home.

Merlyn Rock in Cornwall

Working my way up Raginnis Hill, I eventually see the turning for the south west coast path. I clock it for later on and carry on running around a corner. Just past a farm house, I find the public footpath to Kemyel. 

Penny Bedford climbing over a stile

Crossing 4 fields in total, I arrive at the first of 3 farms on this circular run, Kemyel Drea. I instantly think of cows and wonder if I’ll have to navigate a few bovines as I cross the field. Thankfully they’re all in a yard behind a gate. They simply gaze at me, somewhat unimpressed, as I make my way across the road, before getting to another field. 

From Kemyel Drea to Higher Kemyel Farm

The next farm I head for is Kemyel Crease. Again reached by running across several fields.

It’s running to Kemyel Crease that I end up getting proper muddy. Field after field, the mud just gets thicker and deeper. As we say in Cornwall, I was lampered!

I find out how bad it is when I asked to overtake some walkers. You know that scene in the Vicar of Dibley where Geraldine jumps in a deep puddle? It’s a bit like that and I’m relieved I’ve not lost a shoe.

Getting to Kemyel Crease farm, I learn it supplies Roddas with dairy produce; they must churn out some top notch cream. The big Roddas sign sits proudly on the side of the farm. For a while, all I can think of is a scone, with jam, totally laden with thick clotted cream.

Past the farm, I head down a lane, onto the final section of the public footpath that leads to Higher Kemyel Farm and then Lamorna Cove.

Woman running along a flat trail

Higher Kemyel Farm is a small smattering of farm houses and barn conversions, all with sea views. One house even has its own black Royal Mail postbox. When I reached this final farm I’m happy to come away from the claggy and muddy fields and run on dry, cobbled trails.

A house with a coast path sign

After these buildings, I have 2 possible ways of getting to Lamorna Cove. Either straight on, into another field, or head to my left, down a valley that eventually leads to Lamorna Cove. 

Of course I go left, as planned. This is the shorter option and I’d estimate the longer route would make this a good 10k run.

I’m happy with my choice too. I spend what seemed like forever sailing downhill, ducking under tree branches and listening to the flowing water making its way to the sea. 

Lamorna Cove
Penny Bedford The Great Cornish Outdoors at Lamorna Cove

At Lamorna Cove

Lamorna Cove may be a small hamlet but it’s rich in history. This privately owned cove was built in the 1850s. Since then, the harbour’s needed quite a bit of help over the years. Storms have left it battered and in need of repair.

Until 1911, Lamorna Cove was an active granite quarry, shipping granite to nearby Penzance and other destinations. While the quarry is now derelict, granite slopes remain, hovering above the few houses on the cliff. 

Experiencing Lamorna Cove for myself, I can see why it has, and continues to offer, much artistic inspiration. As an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, it was the go-to place for many artists at the turn of the last century. Lamorna Cove’s only 4 miles from Penzance which has a strong art scene alongside St Ives and Newlyn, making it an obvious destination for a quiet day’s painting or sketching.

A house with a blue stable door and Morsylla name plaque
Lamorna Cove the house overlooking the sea

Lamorna Cove’s a secluded fishing hamlet, or village. At low tide there’s a small beach near the slipway. It’s high tide when I get there and I have the joy of seeing some locals fishing off the harbour. I hear much celebration and excitement at one point. There’s a catch and it’s a beaut!

Lamorna Cove
The harbour at Lamorna Cove

I spend quite a while soaking up the atmosphere in Lamorna Cove. It’s clearly remained unchanged for decades, probably longer. Some people come and go from the Lamorna Cove Cafe, who have seafood chowder on the menu.

If only I didn’t have another 3 miles to run!

To Mousehole On The South West Coast Path

Leaving Lamorna Cove behind me, it’s time to scale some big boulders and rocks. My main aim is to stay upright and not to fall over on this very technical and demanding part of the south west coast path. Running’s impossible in many places but I love a challenge. Especially one with a view. 

Rocks and cliffs coastline
The grass and cliffs overlooking the sea

Looking at the coastline from Lamorna Cove, I could see the jagged rocks and boulders but assumed the actual path would be slightly more inland.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

As I climb my way along, I keep thinking about the Arc of Attrition, Cornwall’s 100 mile winter ultra. Runners tackle this patch of the south west coast path in the dark. I can’t imagine what that’s like.

Rocks, cliffs and the sea
Rocks off the coast path in west Cornwall Slinke Dean

Despite how difficult the trail is here, there’s no denying it’s beauty. Waves crash against the pointy, vertical muted ochre cliffs and salty air brushes my face. It’s pure, blissful solitude. 

It doesn’t last long though as I meet some walkers who saw me leaving Mousehole! They seem surprised to see me.

After scaling a coastal climb I’m rewarded with a flat section of coast path. Running at last. Although just being on the south west coast path is joyous. The fact that I’m doing it is enough for me. 

Woman running on the coast path from Lamorna Cove

After tackling some steep steps, I enter Kemyel Crease Nature Reserve, a conifer plantation that slopes down to the sea.

I know after this that there’s not long to go. I can see the house on the edge of Mousehole in the distance and before I know it, I’m at the junction on Raginnis Hill. 

It’s all downhill from here, in a good way of course. I make my way back to my car via Mousehole harbour. I weave my way round people wandering the harbour, gazing at the sea, with an ice cream in hand. 

But all I want is a hot chocolate. 

Back at the car, and a quick change before the last stop at Hole Foods for the hot chocolate I’ve been thinking of for the last hour. 

Now that’s a result and how I like to end a run. 

If you’d like to run this Mousehole to Lamorna Cove route, I’ve saved it to my Strava account, or you can find it on plot a route.

Author: plbedford

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