Today’s distance walked – approx 26kms (16 miles).
Ascent – approx 1207m (3959 ft).
I woke early after a disturbed night’s sleep. Because I haven’t drunk alcohol in ages I forgot how it deregulates my temperature, so I was tossing and turning for ages as I tried to get to sleep. It was also pretty light in my room from the street lights outside, which I’m not used to after all the camping I’ve been doing. Then I woke in the night with awful cramp in the arch of my left foot. But despite the crappy sleep I still woke up at 5.15am.
I made a coffee and tidied my belongings. It’s amazing how with such little stuff, you can spend so long organising it! I also tore the pages I’ve used out of the SWCP book now that I’m about half way into the hike, to save a tiny bit of weight in my pack.
Despite the huge amount of food I ate last night, I still managed a cooked breakfast this morning at 7.30am in the b&b.
I left by 9am, and caught the 9.30 ferry over to St Mawes which took about 20 minutes. From St Mawes I took another ferry straight away to Place (yes, ‘Place’) and I started walking at around 10.15am.
Today was really hot and humid. I wasn’t feeling 100% due to the wine (not that I had far too much, but rather that I’m just not used to it any more). The trail initially led up to St Anthony lighthouse and the headland. Today was billed as ‘strenuous’ in the guidebook, and I felt every kilometre of it. The path varied in terrain from nice and wide, to overgrown, through bracken, hedgerows, fields, low cliff paths, low cliff tops. Whilst it was all quite pleasant, there was nothing particularly special about it. There were some nice uncrowded sandy beaches – Towan, Pendower, Carne and latterly the nice little coves of Porthholland and Porthlune.
I reached the village of Portscatho at 12.30pm, and bought a ham and cheese croissant for lunch.
Between Portscatho and Pendower Beach there was an awful stretch with lots of horseflies where the farmer had cut down lots of fields of bracken.
The ups and downs continued. The climb to Nare Point is one that I found painful, plus several afterwards. Today was a mix of sun and cloud, and it was really hot and humid all day. There was a rumble of thunder in the afternoon and it threatened to rain, but only ever gave a few drops. I sweated a lot all day, and drank loads of water.
When I got to Portloe at 4.30pm, I filled up with water at the hotel there, as I wanted to wild camp. This meant I was now carrying 3 litres of water – an extra 3kg load to haul up and down the seemingly never ending hills.
To digress… Last night, Kerstin and I were talking about the fact that when we hike, we always have a song in our head. No matter if you know the whole song or just 2 lines of the chorus it’s always there, on repeat for most of the day. Today’s song for me, was Careless Whisper by George Michael, which luckily I know most of the words to! This replaced Van Morrison’s Moondance, which I’d been singing the day before because Mike who I met last week, sent me a lovely photo of the weekend’s full moon. I wonder what song it’ll be tomorrow.
It was getting late and there wasn’t a sniff of a wild camp opportunity along the way. I’ve occasionally been looking at a PDF file which I got from a UK Backpackers club, detailing camping and some wild pitch options for the UKs national/long trails (with grid references, which mostly turn out to be a bit vague). There was one listed after Porthlune beach, but there was nothing at the grid reference mentioned.
I was so tired I couldn’t go any further and literally set up my tent right on the trail. Despite the fact it’s in some nice woodlands, it’s probably the worst wild pitch location I’ve ever had! As I write I have a family of pheasants clucking and pecking around the tent, and some wood pidgeons cooing madly.