The Port Quin to Port Isaac ‘Rollercoster Path’
If you fancy an adventurous walk in Cornwall, the ‘Rollercoaster Path’ on the dramatic north coast might suit you. Distance: 5 miles
Port Isaac, fictional home and location of the series ‘Doc Martin’, is a small but picturesque village on the Atlantic coast of north Cornwall. It is home to the wonderful sea-shanty singers ‘Fisherman’s Friends’ and as you meander throughout the narrow winding streets littered with quaint whitewashed cottages, you really do feel transported into another, quite beautiful world. This quirky and vibrant village always feels full of life, and not one pub or restaurant seems void of humans or dogs. The hustle and bustle of villagers going about their day to day lives mixed with excited visitors searching for Doc Martins house is infectious, and you can’t help but get caught up in the rush of it all. The harbour is dotted with people and seems the perfect pitstop for a sarnie or to stare out at the beauty ahead – it’s hard not to lose yourself in a fantasy world whilst standing amongst it all.
If you’re looking for a mini Cornish walking challenge, then I suggest the impressive Port Quin to Port Isaac route. Also known as the ‘Rollercoaster Path’ you’ll be left breathless, not only from the number of steps you’ll be clambering up and down, but from the most magnificent views. Endless coastlines and rolling waves are there to gawp at as you gather yourself, and your breath, after the steep inclines. This walk is only five miles but is a perfect amount of mileage if you’re after something picturesque and exhilarating to conquer before you settle down with a nice slice of cake and a cup of tea.
This five mile route is suited to anyone looking to push themselves a little further with their hiking capabilities. The views make the ups and downs completely worth it but be prepared for burning thighs. A local legend surrounds Port Quin where one stormy night, around about the early 19th Century, angry gales sank the entire fishing fleet which left 32 women widowed. Beginning from the car park at the much busier 21st Century Port Quin, we made our way towards the coast path and through a kissing gate towards a luscious green field. Across the field you’ll be hit with spectacular views of the inlet and Doyden Castle, a cliff-edge folly built in 1830. Stop here and take it all in. Making your way around and across the fields, you’ll begin to see several flights of steps which will take you up and around the headland. Make sure you have someone with you to either pull you up the last few steps, or who will be waiting at the top with water and a snickers bar!
For anyone who tackles the rugged coastline from Port Quin to Port Isaac, I task you with counting just how many blinking steps you go up and down because quite frankly, I lost count after the first set. They weren’t lying when they said it was like a rollercoaster! I also dare you to not fall in love a little bit more with each glance out at the stunning scenery and sweeping shorelines – I tried but no matter how rapid my breathing was from clambering up a gazillion steps, the views still knocked me for six and managed to take what little breath I had left. Although this walk can seem daunting, please don’t be put off. This coastline is there to be enjoyed, not rushed — unless you’re in training and get your thrills from running around and up the coastline! Taking the steps at a slow and steady pace will allow you to enjoy the views for much longer and turn it from a chore into a well-deserved break from reality.
Once you get past the soaring coastline, undulating stairways and precipitous pathways and make your way into the small fishing village of Port Isaac, there are an abundance of cafes and restaurants to put your feet up and unwind in before the last leg of the journey. You’ll also be pleased to hear the remainder of the route is a lot gentler on the knees and can be enjoyed without fear of too many hills and steps. You’ll end up back at the car park before you know it.
So, what are you waiting for? Go on and give the tantalising rollercoaster path a whirl. Whether you’re walking with your partner, out with your buddies or taking a walking group for a hike, this route is suited to anyone looking for a beautiful challenge. And to anyone reading this who is planning to venture to Cornwall for a holiday, I recommend you give this mini Cornish challenge a go whilst you’re here…and let me know the total amount of steps you believe to have clambered up too!