We made a fairly early start, by our standards, leaving our very modern B & B at Three Gates Meadow at 8.30. The day is marked as ‘severe’ in the book, same as the Pendeen to St Ives stretch, but only 14.8km rather than 23.5 (that is less than 10 miles).
We decided not to walk back to the cliff edge at Port Isaac but to go along the road for a mile to avoid the first big drop, and we were very glad to have done so. We cut back to the coast and after about a quarter of a mile, the land fell away into one of the steepest valleys of the route so far – ie since setting out from London Bridge! Going down was horrible. My knees have been pretty good this trip, with no heavy bag to carry and shorter distances but this was evil and they were protesting severely. Up the other side, I was almost on all fours – generally up hill is less troublesome to me but this was a killer.
Back on the top the path was flat for no more than a quarter mile before dropping away again, not quite so severely but bad enough. Up again, and along (through a herd of young stirks who hovered near the stile, of course). A flat bit and then down the dip we’ve christened Big Bertha for obvious reasons. We met a man and his daughter who are doing the whole South West Coast Path, – camping! Ugh! They were bowed under the weight of the kit. Rather them than me, but they seemed pretty jaunty. Bet they didn’t enjoy Big Bertha.
From the map, it looked as though the worst were over, but no. Dropping down into Trebarthwith sands was an almost vertical staircase. A quick ice-cream as reward, then up the other side and a final 2 miles into Tintagel, where we cut across the fields to the church before collapsing into a pub for lunch. We had made it with just 20 minutes to spare to bolt some food before picked up by our taxi.
The weather today was a fascinating mix. There was a heavy sea mist when we set out, which cleared off the tops, leaving bright sunshine above, with thick mist over the sea – very atmospheric.
The temperature has now soared. It must be around 28 degrees, but fortunately, our train is air conditioned and Jon and Stephen were very happy whilst waiting for it, as a steam train pulled in, to be ooh’d and aah’d over by admiring crowds.
Goodbye to another part of the great adventure, although I am feeling as though I have barely scratched the surface yet…
In theory, I have now done 20% having broken through the 1,300 mile point today – assuming the 6,500 guestimate is close enough to the reality.