Porth Nanven is a small cove in the far west of Cornwall, between Land’s End and Cape Cornwall. It is about three-quarters of a mile from the town of St Just, at the end of Cot Valley.
Facing west, it suffers the full onslaught of the Atlantic, and the sea is very often not accessible there.
A spider crab finds its ‘oasis’.
It is sometimes referred to as Dinosaur Egg Beach, because of the remarkable deposits of ovoid boulders varying in size from hen’s egg to a metre or more long.
They were formed by the sea some 120,000 years ago, when levels were higher. It’s a spectacular landscape, and a favourite with photographers, especially at sunset.
Protected as a site of special scientific interest and owned by the National Trust, this is a cove I had always wanted to snorkel and explore but, as is often the case, the weather and wind had been unkind.
This summer, however, there was an opportunity when the winds changed to the east. It was a full gale, but the cove is protected from this direction.
I drove to the small National Trust car park at the end of Cot Valley and walked to the top of the beach.
The east wind blew strongly down the valley but the emerald sea was calm inshore and conditions looked good.
The sea was offering 15-20m of vis, and the sun shone from a blue sky.
I changed quickly and scrambled over the boulders into the sea.
Wearing and carrying scuba-gear, this would have been virtually impossible, but in that respect snorkelling is much easier.