Day 3

on May 9, 2010 | 4 comments

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Porthleven to Carnon Downs

I slept as good as ever last night, i.e. not very, but I woke up feeling pretty good with not too many aches and pains; a good sign maybe?

Breakfast was a feast of local line caught pollock which was delicious. last night Penny – who runs the Rosemorran B & B with her husband Robert – asked me if I’d like some and seeing as I was to leave the coast the next day how could I not?! And if that wasn’t good enough they offered to make me a crab sandwich for my lunch…yummy! Really nice people and a great B & B.

I set off this morning a little earlier than the previous two days, hitting the road at 9am. Most  of the first hour’s walking was along narrow lanes with high hedgerows; not a great deal to look at which made the walking a bit on the boring side.

Down one of these little lanes I came across a lady riding her horse, who as I got closer became quite spooked – the horse, not the lady. The lady explained that the horse had seen people before but wasn’t happy with my map case around my neck…how peculiar? I covered it up with my arms and she passed by without any more problems.

After nearly two hours I got to my first – and as it would turn out only – off road footpath. Great I thought, that was until I realised that I had to cross my first field of cows. Normally I like cows, especially when they’re behind a fence or hedge, but as soon as I moved towards the steps over the wall in to the field they all came running over to see what I was about, mooing quite a lot because of their baby calves. Not wanting to be added to the static of people who are killed by cows I made a swift bee-line for my escape on the other side of the field and thankfully, the cows didn’t bother to follow me…phew!

At this point, and seeing as I had a signal, I thought I’d better try and find somewhere to stay for the night. The intended destination for the day was Carnon Downs, not a very big place, and I had only one number to try, which unfortunately was all booked up. The lovely lady did however give me a couple of other numbers to try: one was all booked up and the other didn’t answer. Bugger! It wasn’t looking good for a bed, but then I knew I could always get a bus or cab in to Truro and return tomorrow morning so I wasn’t too bothered about it.

Almost three hours in to the walk I found myself wandering down yet another lane, just like all the others, and quite unexpectedly I was accosted by two little yappy dogs! I had no idea where they came from or who they were with as I’d not passed anyone for a long time. No sooner had they said their piece and told me to get lost, they were gone!?

Shortly after the dog incident I came across a pub, and so put off was I by the fact that there was a pub, and that the bloody thing was shut, I went in completely the wrong direction. “Not a problem” I hear you say. Well it wouldn’t have been if I hadn’t been at the bottom of a very big hill when I realised this fact, and that there was no easy way to work round to my original route…so back up the hill it was! If that wasn’t bad enough, on the way up the hill I lost one of the rubber tips for my walking poles down a drain of all things. This meant I had to stop using it as the “tick tick” noise of metal hitting the road fast became too annoying. What else could go wrong?!

I had to ask as only a mile or so up the road I had to stop and take my boots off as my right foot, clearly aggravated by taking the brunt of yesterday’s walk, was getting very painful indeed. Oh dear, you should see the blister on the back of it; never have I had a blister like that before.

After trying to sort my foot out as best I can I put my boots back on and was on my way. Things were ok for another couple of miles but then both feet felt like I was walking on hot pins, and there was me with another five miles to go – not good in anybody’s books!

Then I had a stroke of luck. The number who I couldn’t get through to earlier on phoned me back, and they had a room – hurrah! Now all I had to do was get to Carnon Downs so I could rest up.

The final five miles were an absolute nightmare. My feet just got worse and worse and all I wanted to do was stop, take my boots off and crash exactly where I was, but I knew I couldn’t do that. I struggled on at a considerably slower pace than earlier but finally, after a massive effort I made it in to Carnon Downs at around 5pm.

I should have thought and popped in to the local Spar shop to pick up some bits to eat for dinner but all I could think about was getting to my room, taking my boots off and jumping in to a shower, well, a soak in the bath which was lovely.

As it goes I should have gone to the shop earlier as I now seriously cannot think about putting my boots back on as my feet are now a complete mess: 3 blisters on my left foot and four on my right. Just to make things even worse, the nail on my little toe on my right foot is complete agony (I fear I may be losing this some time soon) and my right ankle/heel is playing up. This has always been weaker than the other one after a couple of accidents when I was younger, and all the awkward walking at the end of today and lots or miles on tarmac has clearly done it no good, and this was after an extremely tough walk yesterday!

So, looks like I won’t be having dinner tonight other than the kit kat in my bag. Better planning next time me thinks!

Nobody said this would be easy. If it was everybody would be doing it, but my feet are really beginning to worry me. The really annoying thing is, the rest of me is up for walking much further each day. My legs (bar the odd knee problem), arms and back are doing really well; it’s just my damn feet!

All I can hope now is that tomorrow morning some of the pain will have subsided and I can patch up my feet as best I can. I’ll be going through Truro tomorrow so I’ll be on the look out for more blister plasters – although these have been decidedly shite! – and, if I’m lucky, another set of rubber tips for my walking poles.

Tomorrow’s going to be tough as it’s a lot of the same as today so I need to be sure that I’m all right to do it. I’ll make my way in to Truro (about 4 miles) and see how it goes. If it’s too painful then I may have to consider stopping off there for the night to give myself a little more time to rest up. As Matt keeps on reminding me, I’m not on a deadline to finish this walk so if it takes longer then it takes longer. If I need to take more rest days until I finally harden up to the rigours of the walk then so be it. Hopefully not though but we’ll see what tomorrow has to bring.

Photos and Route Details

If you want to find out more about this day you can see the photos I took or view the route details.


  1. Ian

    May 9, 2010

    Cuz, we are wincing just reading this post. Within a week your feet will be hard as nails and you’ll wonder what the fuss was about – wrap em up good and tight. Laughed about the cows – I had a similar incident just recently when I stopped at the roadside deperate for bladder relief and had the whole herd watch me take a pee ha ha. Take you time, let your body tell you when to stop – right behind you. Cheers Ian & Frances

  2. Hag

    May 10, 2010

    I would also suggest that you put FREEZING water in a bath/bowl with some salt dip your feet in for fifteen minutes a night before you sleep and let the slat A. take away the infections ( thats going to sting like hell) and B. it’ll help harden and protect your feet, plus do as i had suggested and change your socks every half a day in order to keep the sweating etc to a minimum and therefore help your feet, corn plasters aren’t a bad idea either although i would’t rely on them, make sure you are keeping good use of bending your knee’s as far as the ankle is concerned dont walk flat footed as i saw in Scotland when you were here, if your ankle goes your journey is kaput. I know that sounds like im nagging but you know im right behind you and will do what i can (even if it is only advice) to help you. Keep your spririts up, WHATEVER, WHEN EVER, WHEREVER….keep going dude!

  3. Tim

    May 10, 2010

    Keep on trecking mate !!!!

    I totally agree with Matt. You’re not in a race, so time doesn’t matter (unless money dictates time). You’ve hit your first obstacle, and i’m sure there will be many more to come but it’s how you deal with them that will make the difference. Don’t let anything like this get you too down, try to put a happy spin on it.

    If you have time mate, can you send me your itinery ? It would be cool to follow you day to day on where you’re going to be.

  4. Rachel

    May 10, 2010

    Hi Darren, sorry to hear about your feet,blisters are miserable. I’m sure they’ll get better as your feet toughen up. Keep smiling! Try some old fashioned lambs wool, my ex used to race walk and on the London to Brighton, he used to swear by it. You pull lengths off and wrap it around your hurty bits. If you have a chance, look in a chemist or an outdoor shop. Anything’s worth a try.
    We’ve just bought a cross trainer, so we’ll join you in your long miles ( from the snug comfort of our own home, of course!). Looking forward to seeing you, lots of love ‘n’ stuff, Russ and Rachel xxxx