By Dimitra Lavrakas
Senior Voice Travel Correspondent 

Roaming freely across Cornwall

Walking tour offers stunning scenery at leisurely pace


June 1, 2017

Jim Lavrakas photo

If your favorite Alaska walking trail has become a bit too predictable, Senior Voice travel writer Dimitra Lavrakas recommends England – Cornwall, specifically, where travelers (and PBS fans) can book a guided tour done on foot, at a leisurely pace. Above, walkers exploring the very western point of England near Land's End approach an overlook that reveals the quintessential Cornish rocky cliff coast.

Palm trees and swans in the harbor may not seem possible in England, but in Cornwall it is. Its temperate ocean climate is the mildest and sunniest in all of the United Kingdom due to its position at 50.503632 degrees (Anchorage is 61.217381 degrees) with the Gulf Stream wafting warm air from the south.

The region shares a literary mythical relation to Alaska. Considered a magical place, Cornwall is home to the legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Roundtable, and notably his sister Morgan le Fay, referred to as Fata Morgana in Italian, meaning Morgan the Fairy. She had the ability to change shape and was blamed for causing mirages over bodies of water. I have seen her tricks displayed as the Alaska Range doubled itself into the sky looking like the Himalayas.

Cornwall has many charms to offer the traveler

In the mid-1960s, my family stayed over Christmas holiday at an inn at St. Mawes, after taking the train down from London. The belching fires of the copper mines lit the night as we passed.

Cornwall is the setting for the BBC drama "Poldark" and the detective series "Doc Martin." If you watch them, then you have the lay of the land.

In May for their 20th anniversary, my brother Jim and his wife Ruth Lavrakas walked across a section of Cornwall with guide and owner of Walk It Cornwall (, Paul Simmons. In addition, he runs walks of Corfu, Menorca, Dartmoor and in 2018, Crete.

Traveling five days at a leisurely pace of 1 to 1.5 mph for 6 to 9 miles a day, the hills and dales of Cornwall open up to you - seascapes, fields and village trails and sometimes cows.

Book for September 16-23 for the Poldark Tour and you'll walk the scenery where the series is filmed, and is supposed to be filming at that time.

Jim Lavrakas photo

At the end of a day of hiking the travelers come across a farmer and his cattle going back to the barn for milking. Guide Paul Simmons of WalkItCornwall shows great patience for the cows, as he does with his clients.

The cost of $1,200 for two includes packed lunches, transportation, CD ROM of photos of your walking week, the annual guidebook from the South West Coast Path Association, a native tree chosen by you planted on Walk It Cornwall's land in Cornwall, and seven nights' accommodation – you choose from a list of inns the company works with.

England has public access rights, called "right to roam," that were passed in 2000, allowing anyone to pass over property if it is mountain, moor, heath, down or registered common land.

The upside of all this walking is you can eat all you want, and English fare does tend to be heavy – steak and kidney pie, and once I had fried bread as part of my breakfast meal.

But do not pass up teatime, with its wonderful selection of pastries made with lots of butter and jam, and of course the best tea you ever had.

It's strange that the British cook heavily but bake heavenly.

My brother had an innkeeper bake a cake and he even had it for his morning meal. Truly a vacation indulgence.

Oddly enough at Land's End in Cornwall there's a Land's End Inn, just as there is in Homer.


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