After trying to have an early night last night I failed miserably, only managing to steal 4 hours’ sleep before the three alarms I’d set went off. Tired? Certainly. Excited? Definitely! Scared? You’d better believe it!
We hit the road at 5:35am, which wasn’t bad considering the plan was for a 5:30am set off, and I’m pleased to say the early start paid off as the only trouble with traffic was a minor delay whilst going through Exeter. By virtue of the fact that we were stuck in Exeter you might have guessed that we took the scenic route down to Penzance which, although raining and misty, was a very nice drive indeed. I say drive, I was the passenger for the the entire journey (thanks Matt!) which was the first journey of that length I hadn’t been stuck behind the wheel. Made a nice change if I’m honest about it.
With about 111 miles still to go we passed a sign for Okehampton, somewhere I’ll be passing through en route to John O’Groats. It was at this point that it dawned on me that I’d very soon be having to walk every single one of those 111 miles back again over the coming week. Not a pleasant thought I can tell you, which I fast tried to eradicate from my mind before it scared me too much.
If that wasn’t enough to be occupying my mind with on the way down, during a petrol stop I had a major panic attack thinking I’d left my iPod at home; I freaked out! The thought of three months and 1108 miles without any music just about killed me. I madly rummaged through my bag and with an absolutely massive sigh of relief I found it…panic over – phew!
Once in Penzance we had a few hours to kill before we could check in to the Tremont Guest Accommodation – home for the next two nights – so Matt and I took a stroll in to the town centre to see what was about…and swiftly decided that Penzance had little to offer, to anyone! So, with nothing else to do we popped in to the London Inn, a pub that touted fine ales, original gas lighting etc. but was at the end of the day a little bit on the disappointing side. The pint of Skinners ale was perfectly adequate but the pub itself left a lot to be desired for sure, even though it looked very nice from the outside. Lesson learnt: never judge a pub by it’s exterior!
After that it was off down the high street to find something for lunch, which ended up being a pasty. I asked the question earlier on Twitter if this was a little cliché but, as Stu rightly stated, the humble pasty is indeed the food of champions and I will be making sure I eat one at every available opportunity.
One thing I meant to sort out before coming down to Cornwall was a hair cut, but with everything else I had to do it kind of slipped of the to-do list. Desperate to find somewhere half decent to get it cut I ended up in a salon in the high street which, although the cut wasn’t the best, the banter and chat was fantastic; everyone in the salon was amazed at what I was going to be doing. To be honest, I think I may well be getting my hair cut more often than not as the relaxing experience of having my hair washed and head massaged by a very nice young lady was highly enjoyable indeed. More of that please!
With still more time to kill before checking in Matt and I visited the local Wetherspoons to see what beers they had on there. The beer was fine but the pub itself was pretty awful – I can see a pattern forming here in Penzance?!
Desperate for somewhere better to go I put my faith in my trusty iPhone to magic up the answer. A quick Google search and I’d found the Turks Head pub. The pub is reputed to date from 1233 when, during the crusades, the Turks invaded Penzance, from Jerusalem. What ever the history we’d finally found a gem of a pub and enjoyed some very fine ales (Doom Bar, Otter ale and Flying Dutchman). In fact, the pub was so good we booked a table for dinner, which was top notch, and delighted in yet more great ale. I will definitely be going back there tomorrow night to recover from the day’s walking that’s for sure!
Not sure what the weather’s supposed to be doing tomorrow but I guess on some level it doesn’t really matter as I’ll be walking come rain or shine. I really hope I manage to get some sleep tonight through all the worrying about kit, pack weight, covering the miles etc., and that I wake up fresh and ready to start the big adventure…well, the first 1% of it anyway!