Penzance to Porthleven
Last night I had a bit of a think about things I desperately needed in my pack and maybe some things I could probably do without. This was tough as high up on the list of items to lighten the load was my netbook. Without it I wouldn’t be able to jump on to wifi hotspots if I came across any, and if that were the case I wouldn’t be able to have a Skype video call with the girls, like last night. Tough decision that one so I slept on it.
This morning I decided that no matter what the weight I couldn’t do without it as the video call with them last night meant the world to me. So, I shed some weight getting of some now-deemed non essential items and managed to get the weight down by a couple of pounds – good stuff.
After another hearty breakfast it was time to say goodbye to Matt. It’d been great having him there for the first couple of days but now it was time for me to head off in to the wild on my lonesome. I grabbed my stuff from the room and was soon shaking hands outside the guest house and was on my way at 9:20am. I think I need to sort out this morning routine better because I should really be on the move earlier than that, but in my defence, after yesterday’s rain I repacked knowing the small weaknesses in the waterproofing of the pack, that and the fact that breakfast didn’t start until 8am! Same as tomorrow morning so we’ll see what time I head off then.
I’m not sure if it was just in my mind but the pack did indeed feel a lot lighter this morning. I knew that by the end of the day it would be feeling just as heavy though.
Penzance high street was beginning to fill up with people as I strolled through, not knowing what the Cornish coast was going to throw at me today. The weather was good walking weather – not too hot, a nice breeze and no rain…phew! Again, a silent wish was made for it to last but after yesterday I wasn’t holding out much hope, especially as the clouds were looming.
After a short 25 minutes, or so it seemed, I left the hustle and bustle of Penzance behind me, walking along the coastal path past St. Michaels Mount.
I ended up walking behind two women walkers, one using walking poles but clearly following that new keep fit fad; can’t remember what it’s called now but it’s probably Swedish or something? Anyway, although dressed up in all the proper walking gear I found it quite amusing watching them do their utmost to avoid all the rather large puddles left over from yesterday’s rain. Small things eh?
By now I was beginning to wonder whether or not a lot of this walk was going to be like this, flat and easy going, but it wasn’t long before I was walking through Marazion and the hills started…and boy was this a corker!
When I was about half way up some old guys on their sporty bikes went past – not too quickly I hasten to add – and the guy at the back said “you need to get yourself one of these”, pointing to his bike. I shouted back that I wasn’t too sure about that as I personally found walking up hills far easier than doing it on any bike!
Soon after that I found myself back on the coastal path going up one hill, down the other side, round one cove or another – this was tiring work I can tell you. I got passed by two guys walking considerably quicker than I was, but they were carrying far less than I was – that’s my story and I’m sticking to it! As the miles went by they must have been popping off the coastal path as I think they ended up passing me three times in the end. We got chatting on the final pass and they told me they’ve been making their way round the coast path…starting at Minehead! Ok, to be fair, they only walk for three or so days each year. I didn’t like to ask how many years they’d been doing it for; they both looked about fifty at least!
The scenery was absolutely stunning and the sound of the waves crashing on the rocks below was magic. At that point in time I was glad I’d chosen to use some of the coastal path before heading in land and not seeing the sea again until I was way up in Scotland. That was if course until my left knee decided to all but give up, around mile nine for the day!
That left me with four miles to go before I could crash out and rest up before tomorrow’s walk. These were not just any four miles though, oh no. Take the hills I’d managed to get up and down earlier and times them by a hundred! The path just got harder and harder and harder to walk – great! All I can say is I was so glad I splashed out on two very good walking poles for this walk. They certainly earnt their £86 (for the pair) price tag today that’s for sure. Without them I would have been pretty stuck as some of the inclines and drop-offs were almost bloody vertical!
As I struggled on I met a nice chap out walking his dogs. We got chatting as I lugged my huge pack up some steps, and he was very impressed with my decision to walk the length of the UK – follow your dream was what he said to me; too true. He gave me some idea of how far it was to Porthleven and headed off with his dogs. I’d given up looking at the map by this point as it was all I could do to stay on my feet!
It was slow going for the rest of the walk and every piece of headland I managed to struggle round I was desperately hoping it would be the last before Porthleven…but no. The path seemed to go on and on and on. Those final miles were a real drain, physically and mentally. Ibwas ready to give up, but where could I go? I was stuck walking along a bloomin’ path above the cliffs without a house or road to be seen. So, I stuck my head down, gritted my teeth – swore a bit – and trudged on until I finally made it to Porthleven harbour at around 5pm. A long day for sure.
Who do I meet there? the two guys from earlier on on the path, and even more bizarre, it transpired after a little more chat that they were staying at the same place as me – weird?! They were full of praise for my efforts today though which was great to hear.
I also bumped into the chap who was out walking his dog Nd he very kindly told me where to find a fish and chip shop – heaven! I thought it wise to get some food before heading off to check in at my B & B – which was up another bloody hill! – as I suspected I wouldn’t be in any condition to walk down to get some food and maybe a pint, just to walk…yep you got it…all the way back up the hill again. I’d had enough hill walking for one day!
That was a good decision as I’ve not gone anywhere since getting to the Rosemorran B & B. It was lucky I managed to get in anywhere as there’s some flower show or something going on. I ended up getting this chalet thing in the garden with a separate shower room. They said they didn’t normally let it out as most people weren’t interested in it. It’s great, all the more for the fact that I won’t be disturbed by anyone. Why nobody would want it escapes me?!
So there you have it. Today was the toughest thirteen miles I’ve ever walked! Why I decided to take that route for today is something I’ll never understand. Clearly that romantic idea of the coastal path won me over when I was planning?In reality it’s a path I’d probably struggle with without carrying all that weight, so deciding to do it today was a crazy idea! Saying that though, deciding to walk the length of the UK is pretty bloody crazy anyway isn’t it?!
Still, I managed to finish it today, albeit a little slower than planned. Fingers crossed I’ll be fighting fit for tomorrow’s seventeen miles, and that the route won’t be anywhere near as mental as today! Pretty it most certainly was, but still a very bad idea at the end of the day!