Day 68 – The Lizard to Porthleven 17th July 2015

I slept in and caught the 9.41 bus back to The Lizard. Sitting up the top, I got chatting to two other walkers – an American lady, Elaine, who was doing day walks, and a chap who stays down here periodically with his partner and does a lot of local walks. He was a mine of information. He was going back to Kennack Sands where I had tea yesterday, but she was going to Porthleven, same as me. Elaine and I walked from the bus stop to Lizard point, but her speed was quite unmatchable for me. I am never fast, and with a back pack, am quite slow. She, however, despite probably being 15 to 20 years older than me, was a power walker. She took some pictures of me at Lizard Point, then hared off. I could see her striding over the track ahead for about an hour, then I lost her.IMG_9984

Today was absolutely glorious, weather-wise. The sky was blue, and there wasn’t much wind, just a nice breeze. Within an hour, despite having factor 50 on, I had to cover up my arms and legs. The walk was along stretches of a cliff top that was so flat it was like someone had taken a knife and just sliced through the land. From time to time, there was a steep up and down into a valley. IMG_0001Even the cows were docile. I negotiated a herd of them strewn across the path by leaping into the bracken to avoid getting between calf and mother, but all seemed well.

My mood improved exponentially from yesterday, until, then, in front of me, was a black bullock, right on the path. Pleasingly, there were people coming the other way, so I thought there would be no problem. Unfortunately, something about them upset the bullock, so he called to his mates, who appeared out of nowhere and trotted smartly towards the path. The oncoming man waved his arms about and the bullock moved off. Towards me. Great. I now had five of them facing me up the path. They then turned and began to climb the narrow path ahead, which I had to follow. The lady, who despite probably being well into her 60s was exceptionally good looking, offered to go with me up the path – exceptionally kind, too. The man just rolled his eyes. She hated them, too, she said. Especially after she had been followed and shoved by a herd of twenty of them – a story she told in nerve-racking detail as she accompanied me to the stile. I hasten to add that she was armed with a pair of walking poles – I did not send her unarmed back through the bullocks to join her toe-tapping husband.

I carried on, past Mullion Cove, to Poldhu, where I had a cream tea on the beach. Poldhu is the location of the first transatlantic wireless station, which transmitted a signal (repetition of the Morse code letter ‘s’) repeatedly on 12th December, 1901, reaching Marconi in Newfoundland.IMG_0025

The weather was beginning to turn. On then to Porthleven. It wasn’t especially hard going, although more up and down than in the morning. The map showed a long beach walk, but actually the path was above the sands, which was fortunate, as the tide was in and right up to the cliffs.

I could see black clouds and ominous rumbles of thunder cracked out to sea. A squall came over, and I dived for my waterproof, but it only lasted ten minutes.IMG_0036I reached the bus stop at Porthleven around 6pm, to see the 17.54 to Penzance trundle up the hill away from me. The sun had come out again, so I sat and waited for the next bus.IMG_0037 It came in time. The whole way to Penzance (some 25 mins) was punctuated by a large lady, with flowers festooning her hair, singing folk songs. The first few songs were great: the next, pretty pleasant. After the fifteenth repetition the other passengers were getting restive, but were all too polite to say a word. I fell into conversation with a young man whose accent was so thick, I barely understood a word (except for f…, which appeared with some frequency).

Chris met me at the bus station and kindly carried my pack up to the Youth Hostel, where I thought I had a room booked, only, unfortunately, I hadn’t. I had managed , which I must say was quite a feat of internet cock-up, to book a slot in the male dorm in the YMCA instead. Fortunately, the extremely helpful receptionist at the YHA managed to sort it out, and find me a berth, before I actually panicked. The room was the usual YHA offering – hotter than hell, but fairly low grade snoring this time.

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