Saturday, 27 September 2014

Remote Cornwall

Day Eleven - Crackington Haven to Tregatta 20.6km (12.8 miles).
Time on route 6:35hrs, walking time 6:00hrs.

Tuesday 23 September 2014
Day 11 map
I left my car at my Tregetta B&B and caught the bus to Crackington Haven to pick up from where I finished on Monday.
14 09 23 Day 11 1 Crackington Haven (2)
It was another hot day and my legs were a bit sore from the walking yesterday so my speed was certainly slower. The route south of Crackington Haven is wonderful though. Majestic hills with steep climbs and sweeping descents into valleys. Quite a wilderness feel to it and I revelled in its remoteness.
14 09 23 Day 11 2 Cambeak
The photos don't really do this coastline justice.
14 09 23 Day 11 4 High Cliff
A steep downhill to cross a slate lined stream.
14 09 23 Day 11 6 Beeny
I stopped to watch some kestrels hunt before descending into Boscastle for a quick lunch stop.
14 09 23 Day 11 7 Boscastle (2)
14 09 23 Day 11 7 Boscastle (1)
The stretch south of Boscastle is far more popular than the route I'd just completed. I climbed out up to Willapark passing the former coast guard station (originally a summer house).
14 09 23 Day 11 8 Willapark
The guide book suggested I may see seals along this stretch but despite keeping my eyes peeled there were none around. The islands north of this coast used to host the largest colony of puffins in Cornwall but they were decimated once rats got onto the island.

After a few kms the path drops into the aptly named Rocky Valley.
14 09 23 Day 11 9 Rocky Valley
Beautiful views looking back along my route - a deep aqua coloured sea.
14 09 23 Day 11 10 Sea and ponies (1)
More ponies.
14 09 23 Day 11 10 Sea and ponies (2)
I muddled myself as I entered Tintagel walking along the 'out' path on the way 'in' by Tintagel Castle. Never mind, I strolled into Tintagel whichever way, had a gloriously much needed pot of tea, and left by the same route.

Not much to see of the castle now.
14 09 23 Day 11 11 Tintagel Castle
The route heads south past many old quarries. Just before I reached Lanterdan I left the path walking back to the B&B and my car.
14 09 23 Day 11 12 Quarry by Treknow

A Little Bit of Everything South of Bude

Day Ten - Bude to Crackington Haven 16.4km (10.2 miles).
Time on route 4:10hrs, walking time 4:00hrs.

Monday 22 September 2014
Day 10 map
On Monday I started a two dayer on the trail.  Up until now I've only ever walked one day at a stretch.  The advantage of this is that I can pretty much run at the route not caring if I expend all my energy as I'm not walking the next day.  The obvious disadvantage is that it isn't efficient on the travel and staying over near the trail saves time travelling to/from the start/finish.  During the planning stages I dithered over how far to extend south from Bude for my first day.  Although the guide book tempted me to push onto Boscastle this day (a total of 26km), I deemed that the extra 10km of pretty steep ups and downs would be too much for me.  My leg still gets sore after 10km or so and I wanted to ensure I could walk on Tuesday too.

I parked at Crackington Haveon and caught the bus up to Bude.
14 09 22 Day 10 1 Bude (1)
The weather was perfect, sun and little wind, and the stroll by the Bude Canal was pleasant.
14 09 22 Day 10 1 Bude (2)
Low water level in the canal.
14 09 22 Day 10 1 Bude (4)
Looking back towards Bude as I climbed out of the estuary.
14 09 22 Day 10 1 Bude (6)
The first climb takes you up onto Compass Point where there is an octagonal tower adorned with compass directions.
14 09 22 Day 10 2 Compass Point Tower (1)
14 09 22 Day 10 2 Compass Point Tower (2)
A few steps further on is the trig at Efford Beacon. I couldn't fathom out what the brick construction next to it was. The lid didn't lift and there were no other markings on it.
14 09 22 Day 10 3 TP3025 - Efford Beacon (1)
The route undulates along fields with blackberry edged footpaths. I'm not sure how helpful this sign to bikers really is. Snails on the path? Really? You'll be putting up signs next saying "stones on path" or "beware, puddles."
14 09 22 Day 10 4 Erosion and sign (2)
[Note - my family have pointed out that I'm quite a dunce.  It actually says nails on path but some wag has added the s.  Well, fooled me eh?].

The path turned to sand and I walked amongst the dunes which traverse the back of Widemouth Sand. Not my favourite walking surface - tssk sand in boots :-(
14 09 22 Day 10 5 Widemouth Bay (2)
This expansive bay is heavily populated by surfers catching the Atlantic Surf.
14 09 22 Day 10 5 Widemouth Bay (6)
The route follows road for a km or so south of the bay. And I came across another 'helpful' sign.
14 09 22 Day 10 5 Widemouth Bay (5)
It was a steep downhill into Millook, a pretty hamlet.
14 09 22 Day 10 6 Millook
Today's wildlife was in the form of Cornish ponies. Weathered, tough little things.
14 09 22 Day 10 7 Ponies
The scenery was a little bit everything; fields, sand, tarmac and now woodlands, which offered some welcome shade.
14 09 22 Day 10 8 Dizzard Woods (1)
Dizzard Woods contain dwarf oaks and, according to the guide book, "nationally important lichens" reminding me of Wistman's Wood on Dartmoor.
14 09 22 Day 10 8 Dizzard Woods (2)
I came across my second trig on the path whilst traversing the woods. Sad poor thing isn't it? And no surveyor would need to unpacked their plumb bob to see if this was out of true.
14 09 22 Day 10 9 TP2791 - Dizzard Point (1)
After the woods it was into gorse lined paths.
14 09 22 Day 10 10 Castle Point (1)
Heading off into space at Castle Point.
14 09 22 Day 10 10 Castle Point (3)
A short descent into Crackington Haven finished my walking for the day. I seriously considered pushing on for another few km, but the route ahead was somewhat "all or nothing" for 7km (I had to factor in walking back to the car which was in the Haven) so I called it quits and headed to Tintagel for a cup of tea and then onto my B&B, Trenowan at Tregatta, Tintagel. I have stayed at this B&B before and strongly recommend it. It is within walking distance of the lovely Port William pub at which I dined later that evening, accompanied by a wonderful sunset.
14 09 22 Day 10 12 Sunset over Trebarwith Strand

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Farewell Devon - See You in a Few Years

Day Nine - Sandhill Cliff to Bude 20.5km (12.7 miles).
Time on route 6:00hrs, walking time 5:45hrs.

Saturday 06 September 2014

Day 9
It was a wonderfully hot day on the coast path.  The views were constantly hazy blending the sea/sky into each other.
14 09 06 Day 9 - 1 Sea and sky merge
Notwithstanding the heat, it was a strenuous day of ups and downs on this leg. There were 9 river valleys to descend into and climb out of and I ascended over 1km in this walk. My first valley, Welcombe Mouth, was hosting a vintage car get together.
14 09 06 Day 9 - 2 Welcome Mouth (2)
14 09 06 Day 9 - 2 Welcome Mouth (1)
Before I reached the next valley I came across Ronald Duncan's hut, which was open.
14 09 06 Day 9 - 3 Ronald Duncan hut (2)
Ronald Duncan was a local author, 1914 to 1982, who wrote many of his poems and plays in this hut. It is a 100m ascent from Old Mill Leat and has an amazing sea view. No wonder he found inspiration here.
14 09 06 Day 9 - 3 Ronald Duncan hut (3)
I dropped into the Old Mill Leat valley and crossed the border from Devon into Cornwall. This is the first time I've ever seen a footbridge mark a county boundary. And it's the last time I'm going to walk the SWCP in Devon for many years. It's Cornwall now for miles and miles - or rather kilometres and kilometres.
14 09 06 Day 9 - 4 Cornwall (3)
And, in case you were wondering, yes Devon marks its territory out too. It's on the coastal path direction post.
14 09 06 Day 9 - 4 Cornwall (1)
Descending into the next valley, Litter Mouth, I saw my next ascent. Oh the joy.
14 09 06 Day 9 - 6 Litter Mouth
Each leg of the walk brings different elements of the wildlife to my attention. Last time I was surrounded by butterflies. Today it was blackberries (yum) and fungi.
14 09 06 Day 9 - 5 Wildlife (1)
And this little fellow caught my eye.
14 09 06 Day 9 - 5 Wildlife (2)
Once out of Litter Mouth the climb up to Cornakey Cliff gave wonderful views of Gull Rock.
14 09 06 Day 9 - 7 Gull Rock
The descents and ascents didn't let up with Morwenna, Tidna Shute and Stanbury Mouth all sapping my energy. I didn't even have spare zing to find a trig only 300m off the route (ahem, perhaps the local cows guarding it also dissuaded me?). I seemed to be making slow progress compared to my estimated ETAs at various locations. I suppose I hadn't factored in how much height slows you down.

The next attraction on my route was Hawkers Hut. This turfed covered hut was built by the vicar of Morwenstow using driftwood.
14 09 06 Day 9 - (14)
He used it for 40 years as a place of contemplation. With views like this I'm not surprised.
14 09 06 Day 9 - (16)
After the next river valley, Tidna Shute, I passed a disused coastguard station.
14 09 06 Day 9 - (17)
The next feature was the Composite Signals Organisation at Cleave Camp: a site full of radar domes. Between me and the path I came across my familiar nemesis. Big, scary and with horns. The fact that they were lazily minding their own business did little to assure me and I gave them a wide berth (oh the shame).
14 09 06 Day 9 - 10 Cows
Sustained by refreshments from an icecream kiosk at Stanbury Mouth and then the facilities at Duckpool I trotted south. The next beach was Northcott Mouth and the path actually went across it this time. Often the path crosses the stream/river at a footbridge 50/100m upstream of the coastline, but this time it was great to walk on the beach itself. I sort of feel it's a 'proper' day's walk on the coastpath if I actually set foot on a bit of sand/shingle.
14 09 06 Day 9 - 11 Northcott Mouth
As Bude came into sight something caught my eye. Surely not? This trig wasn't on my map but it certainly had a certain familiar look about it. However, as I neared it, I realised it was a trig-shaped-object, but not the real thing.
14 09 06 Day 9 - 12 Hospital memorial (1)
It is a memorial to a local hospital and has a direction finder in place of a spider.
14 09 06 Day 9 - 12 Hospital memorial (2)
Bude was lovely. The River Neet splits as it enters Bude and has a few bridges crossing it.
14 09 06 Day 9 - 13 Bude (3)
And as I walked to the car this creative sign caught my eye. And now I can't stop humming Eurthymics!
14 09 06 Day 9 - 13 Bude (5)