Porthcurno – in turquoise water

“I headed down the coast towards Land’s End in search of turquoise water, and found it in the cove at Porthcurno. My first sight of the water’s dappled beauty was from high above the cliffs at the Minack open–air theatre.”

After the seething waves at Godrevy, Molly and I want something a bit more amenable to a lengthy sunshine dip, a place where we can strike out and not trouble surfers with our heads out breaststroke. So we make Porthcurno our next port of call, arriving at lunchtime on yet another unseasonably warm September day.

Having almost burnt out the clutch of her car in the middle of a spectacular downhill three–point turn, I can tell Molly needs the water as much as I do. The temperature in her Ford Ka is unbearable even with all the windows wound down.

Rather than clambering up to the Minack and then picking our way down the vertiginous steps cut in the cliff face, we take the less awkward route, walking along the path past the Porthcurno cable station (this little place’s connection to the distant American land) and down onto the beach.

Being September, the ‘bronzed ones’ Roger talks of are rather sparse in numbers. One wind–break is set into a kind of roofless beach bothy, an older gentleman topping up an already impressive leathery tan. A young couple flout the ‘no inflatables’ rule and take an inner tube out into the clear waters of the Atlantic, the girl screaming as her backside gets a lick from an incoming wave.

Unlike the endless walk to swimming depth at Godrevy, the beach here shelves quickly, Covehithe–style. Within three steps I am chest deep and able to swim hard and fast out towards the horizon. We are not alone. Some swimmers have taken Roger’s approach and make a beeline towards Logan’s Rock. One snorkels along in the deep, the occasional flash of an arm periscoping ever further out to sea.

Molly opts to go for the headland while I take myself a few hundred metres out to get a good view of ‘the British at play’, as my predecessor says. Their numbers may be diminished what with school holidays being over, but young families and plummy sixth formers are scattered across the sand. With not a cloud in the sky and the chance to soak in the remaining sun of a late Sunday afternoon, it isn’t hard to see why some have elected to give a return to normality a hearty two fingers.

Despite the heat, the pure Atlantic water has a delightful chill to it. I can feel it soaking through my bones, sending me giddy with endorphins as I let the incoming tide edge me back to my book and the chance to attempt some bronzing of my own.

Wallowing for the afternoon done, I doze off to the sound of young kids frolicking in shallower water, berating each other for not performing daring dives to the sandy bottom and splashing about like there’s no school tomorrow. I keep my eyes close and forget everything, indulging myself in this ‘regressive heaven’.

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