Cornish coastal wanderings – and a hill with an amusing name

Hills: Brown Willy
Marilyns: Ditto
County Tops: Ditto
When: Wednesday 10th October
Who: Me and the mountaineering minion
Weather: Good, but very windy at times
Bog factor: Dried out (yay!)
Post walk drink: St Austell Proper Job
Post walk watering hole: Our cottage (does that count?)

It has been a very long time since I have put pen to paper, or should that be hands to keyboard, to write anything on this blog. In part, that has been down to sheer lack of anything remotely resembling walking, but has also been in part due to some health issues which I’m not going to go into on here but which have resulted in me having very little energy for quite some time. Things however seemed to be on the up, and we had a week booked in a cottage in Cornwall, so walking of some sort was a distinct possibility.

Are there hills in Cornwall? Well, it isn’t known for them – the best walking in the area is probably on the coast path and for the first few days of the holiday that’s what I did, as well as get plenty of rest. I saw some cracking coastal scenery on the Tuesday 9th in particular, when I walked from Land’s End on the coast path towards a bay called Mill Bay, with cracking scenery all round. I was pretty lucky with the weather which obviously didn’t hurt, although it was pretty windy.


The weather was still set fair on the Wednesday 10th – and after a couple of days of coastal walking I seemed to have more energy. The highest point of Cornwall is the amusingly named Brown W*lly, which is a corruption of the old Cornish name which I won’t even try to spell. This hill has the bonus of a high start point and is both a Marilyn (not that I am ticking them) and a County Top (not that I am ticking those either). It also had the benefit of a high start, although annoyingly you have to climb over another hill and drop down in order to get to it (rather negating the high start). Another minus point was that it was at least an hour and a half drive away as it is in the North of Cornwall and we were staying in the far south-west. Oh well! We were in the car and away at about 10.30 so would be at the hill by 12 or thereabouts. Well we would have been had we not got stuck behind various slow moving vehicles etc on any part of the journey which was single carriageway.

In the end, Stuart decided he would prefer to potter about so I dropped him off at the nearest town and was parked up at the start point at around 12.15 – at which point I went majorly into faff mode so it was after 12.30 before I actually started up the hill. The path from the car park is clear, and rises at a gentle angle up to a slight dip between two tors, Showery Tor and the much larger Rough Tor. The going underfoot was dry grass and I made pretty decent time up to the dip, though I was conscious that I was far from being at my best. It was good to be out there though, it was quite windy but the sun was out which is always a bonus with any sort of walk.



On hitting the dip, my heart sank a bit at seeing the drop and reascent – you drop to a stream (again at a gentle angle) and then follow another grassy path up towards the highest point. It looked like there was a lot of drop and renascent. In reality though it looked a lot worse than it actually was, although with about 50m of ascent to go to the top tiredness really hit me and the last pull – which was still pretty gentle – was hard work. I eventually reached the trig point (and cairn which is slightly higher) at 1.15 to expansive views all round. It was really good to be back on a hill after an over 3 month lay off, and I took a break on the summit to enjoy the views and the fresh air.


After about 15 minutes, I headed off downhill – the initial descent was quick but the haul back up to Showery Tor seemed to take forever. As it happened though I made good time on the final descent back to the car and was back at it shortly after 2.15, picking Stuart up 15 minutes before heading off for some (non-alcoholic in my case) drinks in Boscastle before the drive back to our cottage. The proper post walk drink had to wait until we got there and was not Malbec but (appropriately) a local pale ale.


All in all not a classic by any means but it was really good to get back out there. And I’ll hopefully get back out on some more Northern hills before too long!


4 thoughts on “Cornish coastal wanderings – and a hill with an amusing name

  1. Good to hear you are recovering Tessa…thought you had been a bit quiet of late.

    I assume you climbed Brown Willy simply to be able to use it in the blog post (just as I would have done) 🙂 . What I found interesting was that you had a couple of days walking on the coast beforehand as a warm-up. I remember doing a couple of walks on the coastal path in North Cornwall and it was hard going with the constant ups and downs. Looking at the terrain on the hill it looked more straightforward. How did you find it?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks – as to the name, of course!

      I agree about coastal walking – it’s been a long time since I’ve done any and I’d forgotten you get a lot of up and down. The hill was straightforward, although having to walk downhill before the final bit of uphill is always annoying!


  2. Isn’t the Cheesewring tor on the side of Brown Willy? I thought I visited that on the way up the side I went up. The coast in Cornwall is pretty good (we stayed in Mevagissey for a week) but I found the climate very, very cold in summer there (although sunny, as you say).

    I was pretty frustrated at the lack of real mountains though and, in the end, insisted on going and staring at the China Clay area tips as they looked like hills!


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