Rest Day, 22nd March: Newquay
OK OK OK – so a night in a hotel is a bit of a luxury. But sharing a room with a hairy a***d scotsman doesn’t make it five-star. Even so, I was extremely grateful for Alec’s generosity and as he slinked out of the room at 5:30am to catch his bus back to London I tried to say goodbye and thank you again – but the door was already closed. Once awake, I had my second BBC Radio Leicester interview with Monica. For some reason I was much more nervous about doing it this time. Maybe I felt a bit of a fraud and a softy sitting on my hotel bed telling her how difficult it was.
After a cracking cooked breakfast, a quick clean up of the van and some grocery shopping, I headed over to meet up with my next support driver Mark (aka Banger), who was staying at friends Paul and Manti’s smallholding near Truro. I arrived at the bottom of a very long narrow track to be greeted by Manti who made me exceptionally welcome and allowed me to park Snickers in their barn. The evening passed with great hospitality in lovely company and I tucked myself into yet another comfy bed.
Oh and HAPPY BIRTHDAY MUM!!!!
Stage 28, 23rd March: Newquay to Trevone
A very cold and blustery north-westerly gave my nose a chill. I set out and watched carefully as the showers seemed to skirt around me. The path felt easy and the climbs gradual rather than steep, so maybe the rest day had done me some good.
A lovely sandy cove greeted me at Portcothan. It was surrounded by post-war houses which would usually make me grimace but in this instance it didn’t and the whole ensemble seemed to work surprisingly well. A further easy walk around the lighthouse at Trevose Head and I met up with Banger and Paul near Harlyn – scene of one of my childhood holidays, spending hours in the sea with my plywood surfboard. We ambled the last half an hour back to Trevone a quick pint and headed back for a second night at Paul and Manti’s.
Stage 29, 24th March: Trevone to Port Isaac
After a quick but heartfelt thanks and goodbye to my new friends, Paul and Manti, it was back into Snickers and off to Trevone with a weather forecast from home sounding decidedly grim.
The forecast was spot on. Hence there was not much for me to see today as it was very much head down and walk into the wind and the rain….ALL DAY! Over the last few days I had clearly tempted fate by saying that all day rain is actually quite a rareity. Yeah – that’ll teach me. The wind was very much in my face as I made my way down from Stepper Point to Padstow. At one point, the wind was gusting so strongly that I even found myself pushing hard against my trekking pole to proceed forwards downhill. At Padstow I jumped straight on to the ferry for a bumpy little ride over to Rock which I happily bypassed. It’s a place that isn’t particularly pretty, is vastly overrated and hugely overpriced. The rain suited it.
I continued forwards to Portreath where I am sure the wind direction had swung round to be in my face again. Though not easy in the circumstances I did manage a quick shouty telephone interview over the wind for the local paper back home and a hot pasty (not ice cream weather) from the first shop I found was very very welcome. I then trudged my increasingly sodden self around the headland at Pentire Point and made my way into ‘Doc Martin’ land.
Port Quin was first. A tiny hamlet with an equally tiny castle, used in one episode when the local chemist went AWOL with ‘Baby Martin’. Port Isaac was a blissful find at the end of the day and I’m afraid I had no urge to do any more Doc Martin spotting or sightseeing and instead just wanted to dry out and get warm. In a masochistic sort of way – I actually enjoyed today.
Stage 30, March 25th: Port Isaac to Boscastle
What a difference a day makes! Though I had planned a short day to even out the expected height gain efforts over the coming week, it still felt more than a little tough. After confidently taking on five short but steep climbs I was more than a little annoyed that the cliff top path was so deep and narrow that it was difficult to put one foot infront of the other. Add in some mud from yesterdays rain and progress was slow.
The track became decidedly slatey as I rounded Delabole with its famous and incredibly deep quarry hidden out of sight a little way inland and as I arrived at Trebarwith Strand I was disappointed that the tide was in as I had wanted to revisit a good example of some honeycomb weathering in the limestone on the foreshore (nerd again). Teenage field trip memories again – huh! At least the rolling and crashing waves made up for it. They were very refreshing waves. Refreshing in a mouthwash advertisement sort of way.
Tintagel was closed, but for a few early season souls who tried to look around the castle despite a locked iron gate. I then met up with a few fellow friendly walkers on my way round to Boscastle and a few minutes of snatched chats made a bright end to the day. I do like the odd chat on the path and I aways like to know where they are heading.