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The Route

Gurnards Head

Awesome West Cornwall

I will describe this route from the perspective of running the Classic Jack.

Those running the Ultra, you have to do it all backwards first then enjoy the return

A short walk from St Just Miners Chapel takes you to the start, adjacent to the old pasty factory.

From here, you head downhill onto a farm track and though some fields. Your first bit of mud and water.

Around the farm, down a small amount of road and then right onto the hard packed track beside the golf course.

This brings you down to the coast path proper and where you will join the ultra runners. Please beware, some will still be heading towards you. 

You are now on dirt, mud and a few rocks around the hill and down into the valley. As with most of this race, beware, it can be slippery and treacherous in places.

Cross the valley, pass the donkey and turn left. Past the house and look for the right turn up the hill.

Continue up the hill until you reach a t junction, turn left for about 200 yards and lookout for the right turn up some rough steps to the very top of the hill.

Once at the top, follow the wide trail on a gentle right bend then straight on for 1/4 mile. You will reach a dirt track, turn left then follow this for a short distance before a slight left back onto the trail. 

This trail meanders for a while, watch for the sawdust on your left. You will pass an engine house on your right and Botallack far down on your left side. 

Back up and left onto the rough track for a very short distance before dropping down left onto the trail again.

You will follow this trail for a while, keep a watch for the sawdust until you curve round to the car park at Levant Mine. This deviates slightly from the coast path but has long been the traditional route for Cousin jack. There will be lots of Sawdust to help with this section.

From the car park, follow the wide track down to lower engine house, across the footbridge and up across the mine waste. Keep going through the tips until you head down to another footbridge. This takes you back onto the muddy coast path. Around the headland and up the steep hill. From here, you will catch sight of Pendeen Lighthouse. Photo time!

Follow the well defined trail down into the valley then back up to the tarmac road. Turn left and continue to the lighthouse. Here is your first water stop.

Give your thanks and head off down the road into a small car park, over the wall and onto a wide downhill track.

Follow for about 300 yards and keep an eye out for the acorn post turning you right uphill on a switchback trail.

If you weren't wet yet, you soon will be. The trail gradually descends into the valley, with lots of deep puddles and streams. Be careful, there are also large, loose stones.

Across the stone bridge at the bottom, up a little bit then say hello to your first proper hill. Yes, it does go on 

forever. Once at the top, you have a long flat grassy bit with occasional gates. This is Morvah which used to horrendously muddy! And for those that love mud, it is again!!

Once though the grassy area of Morvah, you skip down to a wet area, across some wobbly stones then up through an area usually filled with running water on the path. The trail is then undulating for a while with the occasional boulder until you get to a gate at Commando Ridge and catch sight of the impressive cliff at Bosigran. 

Drop down into the valley and back up around the cliff to the top. Sharp right at the top and then head back down again. Watch for the left over the wall, wobbly stone on the other side.

Again, the trails meanders, goes up and down, You may of noticed a pattern here, until you go up hill into a open grass field. Head to the stile, hop over and follow the path round to Carn Gloose. From here you can see Gurnards Head. Follow the trail, ignore the left and rights that head from the pub to the Head. Watch for the sawdust.

You are heading down hill towards the disused mine and your next feed station.

This is just off the trail on your right after you have crossed the wooden step bridge.

After your rest stop, keep going down the narrow trail and into the shrubs. Cross the track, straight across and down the steps. Follow this trail, across the bridge and up the hill. Look back at the top, the view is worth it.

Follow the hill round and slightly down to the wooden bridge. Careful on the next bit, the path is covered in boulders and they are tricky. Up the long hill and be careful here as well. This is the false Zennor turning, so many people go wrong at this point that a member of public put a wooden sign in. If its still there, it says turn left down the hill. This is correct. Around the headland and you will see the proper Zennor Headland. Two hills to go before you get there though. One long one, across the top before you descend again to the bottom and Zennor steps are in front of you. Yes, you guessed it, up the longest set of steps.

There will be a water stop here as its 6 miles until St Ives. Once you have filled, onwards you go. Stick to the cliff path, no cheating and cutting across. Disqualification for those that do!

There is not much I can write about this section except that it goes on forever. It goes up and down more times than I can count. Shortly after going round Zennor head, you will see a big bay. You will eventually descend to the bottom of this bay and at the bottom you have to actually scrambled over rocks. This is the coast path, it just goes right through the rocks! Follow the muddy trail left by the others.

Up and Down, mud and water, rocks and hills for about 4 miles. 

On this section, you will come to Carn Naun Trig Pillar. Remember to grab a pic at the trig.

There are some notable points after the trig pillar.

The trail around the corner is actually runnable but don't get carried away. On the way down the hill, there are some sneaky rocks to try and trip you up.

Back up, past the stone circle on your right. Following the trail, you come to a wooden walkway, watch these planks! Round the corner, through a metal kissing gate and immediately turn right. Keep on the grassy trail, until you head down to a wooden gate. Follow the narrow path, between a cleft in the rock and down a very steep valley. Up again and continue until you reach a new metal gate. The new coast path turns left very soon after this gate, its marked with a small granite sign. This descent can be slippery and treacherous. Please take it steady. 

The section from here to St Ives needs your full attention. Its slippery, rocks, muddy and its close to the edge. Take your time. Once through the second new metal gate, your follow the rock strewn, barely runnable path until you reach the giant steeping stones. In fear of repeating myself, again take it steady on these stones.

Down off the stones, follow the trail down the grass bank, over the walls and you will catch sight of St Ives. Keep following the trail towards St Ives, Through a narrow fence, watch for pegs and stones here. And then, tarmac! Up a steep bit, then along the top before heading down Clodgy Point. Watch the tarmac bumps!

Follow the tarmac path around the bowling green and past Porthmeor Car park. After the car park, look out for the marshal opposite the Tate. They will send you down to the infamous beach finish ish. Across the beach towards the island. A marshal will guide you up from the beach onto the footopath that goes around the island before you climb your final steps to the finish!!

Well Done

Jack first half.jpg
jack second half.jpg

Classic and Ultra route in green

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