Oct 05 2012

The hardest day so far.

Friday 5th October: Went with Jayne to catch the St Mawes Ferry via the Cinnamon Cafe to say a quick hello to Jo. A bit daunted by the prospect of a 20 mile walk, starting at 10.15 and with a poor weather forecast (plus my right leg is now playing up too – very hobbly until I get ‘warmed’ up and in my stride). Sent off with a packed lunch and a wave from the quayside. Second Place ferry from St Mawes skippered by a chatty young man with a penchant for expensive wellies (NOT in a weird way) .. explained in detail how £200 for a pair of neoprene lined Hunters is an investment. Good start to the day – made me smile!

Then the sea mist rolled in (where’s the Dodman gone?), and the rain started. Stop/starting all day – coat on, coat off, hat?, fleece?, off, on .. walking in a cagoule, fleece and over-trousers is a hot business. Wet both inside coat and outside. Rubbish. Lots of time wasted. So it took forever to get astride Nare Head – ate Jayne’s lunch around 2pm at the top, looking across Gerrans Bay, in the rain. Definite pain in right shin now, and left tendon still bruised. Will I get to Boswinger, to the youth hostel? With sights firmly fixed on Portloe and the hope of a hot drink I set off across the headland and down the other side. Disappointed at 4pm to find an up market hotel and not much sign of a friendly pub or cafe. So, reading the sign: 2 miles to West Portholland, I cracked on. Up and down deep gullies. Then as I was skirting around Veryan Bay it occurred to me that I was in the heart of Methodist country – the legacy of which seemed to be small grey villages, dark slate houses, converted chapels and no pubs. The happiness of a latte and a caramel shortbread stolen from this place. Now it was getting dark .. found a footpath that lead me across a farm to road above Boswinger – soon standing in the lobby of the youth hostel, signing in and ordering my next two meals. You cannot possibly appreciate just how wonderful it is to be inside, out of the rain with the prospect of a very early night – the Methodists would have been so very proud of me!

John told me yesterday how, when a young man, he had been inspired by a travel book written by a chap who’d walked Land’s End to John O’Groats. He had devised the path (I have a similar book by the loo at home – Simon is very worried about it). John had gone on many solo, long distant walks before meeting Jayne. He told me that the book had prepared him for the desperate lows and jubilant highs that one experiences when walking alone for days on end. This encouraged me .. glad to know that I haven’t completely lost it!

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