We have always loved Gunwalloe Beach on the west coast of The Lizard peninsular. It is a thirty-minute drive from The Captain’s House but well worth it for the long empty beach and the wonderful sunsets on a clear day. The white horses that break on the three miles of sand that stretch south from Porthleven have travelled far. Galloping over the Atlantic Ocean before leaping onto the shore. Jelly fish wash up regularly. Sometimes Portuguese Men of War that sting.
This week we were there in a gale at high water springs: the waves stampeded in from the west at full tilt and the unusually narrow beach was a little scary. We kept the dogs on a lead for fear they would get washed away. Carol would surely run in to save them if they did, leaving me with the dilemma of either trying to save her, and almost certainly drowning in the process, or letting her be the lone sacrifice to our dear dogs. Impossible. So, we didn’t stay long. We ventured a little south to Gunwalloe Church Cove (not to be mistaken with other Church Coves on The Lizard) where we explored the Church of the Storms.
St Winwaloe Church you see today is a mix of thirteenth and fifteenth century structural elements with nothing left of the fifth century church that originally occupied the site. It sits in a secluded spot between two lovely coves. From the headland, Castle Mound, that protects it from the storms, there are great views south towards Mullion, as well as north towards Porthleven. The church’s detached bell tower embedded in the side of the cliff. A National Trust carpark in easy walking distance and a café too. What more can you want on a bright, blustery November day?
We attended a service of Holy Communion in the Celtic tradition there a few days later – they hold them twice a month. With us, the congregation only eleven. The service was refreshingly different and as it was Remembrance Sunday the vicar read out the names of the dead and the survivors from the local parish from both WWI and WWII. Nice touch, the survivors.
Don’t miss Gunwalloe Church Cove and the Church of the Storms. Seen best in a storm, with sun breaking through the low clouds from time-to-time to spotlight an advancing thoroughbred. The racing waves, always the stars of this landscape on such days.