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Favourite British Scenic Drives: St Just To St Ives

The barbed Atlantic winds screamed at me relentlessly, penetrating the bones and drowning the songs of seabirds. Cape Cornwall stood defiantly in the face of the mighty Atlantic Ocean, sculptured over time by driving currents, wind and rain. Cape Cornwall lies in the far west of county Cornwall, deep in the south-westerly reaches of England. Standing sentry against the intensity of the Atlantic, Cape Cornwall guards the town of St Just from the worst of the elements. St Just is the last major town in England before the shipping graveyard of Landís End and its treacherous stretch of rugged coastline. A delightful little town, St Just is just minutes from the ancient monument site of Carn Gluze on the Penwith Heritage Coast.

Travelling north from St Just along the B3306, you soon descend a steep gradient before passing through the sleepy little village of Botallack. A little further is the enchanting Pendeen, home to the old Geevor Tin Mines, offering a glimpse of days gone by and unenviable working practises. Pendeen Watch stands at the head of the shore, embedding you amongst the jagged Cornish coastline at the mercy of the elements and Atlantic Ocean. The South West Coast Path provides opportunity to explore more of the seacoast. The coastal road continued northeast through Morvah village and the excellent coastal observation post Gurnards Head, before the panorama broadened to incorporate a vast expanse of land slowly descend as it approached the sea.

Vibrant coloured plants and shrubs blanketed the ground as they raced across the decline towards the towering cliff tops, stopping suddenly at the edge to observe the high seas. A fusion of scents emanated from the vast array of flowers swaying in the ocean breeze. The narrow road continued to twist and turn slowly through the pretty Cornish countryside. The monopoly of fields and shrubs rescinded upon arrival of Zennor. Calm and peaceful, this serene village seemed the perfect antidote to the rigours of modern day city living. A steep downhill gradient preceded the final approach to St Ives with its tight cobbled streets and busy harbour. The land began to rise again as the town neared. Tantalising glimpses of St Ives Bay and a glut of sailing vessels suddenly emerged between breaks in the houses. The steep descent through cramped streets became a battle of wills with pedestrians; everybody fought for the same space. A fortunate place in the harbour car park left me gazing into the Atlantic.

The wind had now relented; all was calm again.


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