Tuesday 31st October 2017
11.3 miles today, 81.2 miles in total.
Cold, clear and sunny today with a refreshing breeze. The best walking weather yet, and my first day in short sleeves, which made up for sudden severe toothache, soggy fields and all road walking today.
The road walking was the result of a simple error early in the planning process where I had thought there was a walking route across the Camel from Padstow, so had planned to aim for St Minver. For some reason I didn’t notice this, even when I was marking the maps. Doh!
And all of the extra miles from Morgan Porth to Park Head yesterday were unnecessary, although the location and environment meant they weren’t ‘wasted’. It was very beautiful.
The choice was between an undoubtedly lovely ten mile diversion around the Camel Trail, or direct(ish) to Wadebridge in a straight line from an earlier point. The fields were too wet and smelly to consider using the footpaths. Definitely wellington boot conditions. I chose the road. Even the tarmac was well muddied by the constant tractor movements, and the bodies of pheasants that were running in front of cars as fast as only they can. Twenty-ish squashed in half a mile on one road.
Today I really needed a minder. The good burgers of St Columb had kindly placed milestones to the town and I kept finding them on each road. At one point they were counting down, which was a little worrying when it wasn’t on my route.
In the interests of accuracy I should add that I started from the wrong road junction in Mawgan Porth and walked a route further south than planned. Sometimes when something starts to go wrong…
The entrance to Lower Trenowth Farm gave me one of the occasional glimpses of a wider world from within the closed lanes (the walls are often higher than me)
I still managed to see the sea, and I presume this is Padstow.
Eventually I reached the A39 and despite my promise to myself that I wouldn’t risk life, limb and sanity, walked along it to Wadebridge. I no longer trusted my ability to navigate when distracted by toothache.
The views are spectacular in parts, but the countryside is very open. Along the way I tried to nip into a field of maize that was taller than me for a call of nature, only to see a gigantic combine harvester approaching in one direction in the field and an empty tractor/collector truck approaching on the road from the other direction. So I abandoned that idea and waited until I could see a pub – the Halfway House. There was a sense of inevitability when I saw that it was closed for refurbishment following a fire. Sometimes you just have to sing, and the choice for today was ‘King of the Road’.
Fortunately not too much further on, at the site of an old garage I found a modern thriving business called Hawkfield that was open, had clean facilities, and included a cafe called Adolfos that served wonderful coffee, and a slice of pomegranate cake that I ate with Ibuprofen.
The staff members were friendly and stamped my log-book, and another family stopped for a chat to find out what I was up to, and seemed to ‘get’ the idea, with lots of laughter and an offer of a sneaky lift if I wanted it. I declined, but it was refreshment of the best sort.
Mobile reception was patchy and Mr and I often couldn’t speak to each other but texts eventually arrived, so I sent him a message to let him know where I was. He then surprised me at the Cornish Showground by appearing at the side of the road in the car and jokingly asked if I wanted a lift. I declined again, and agreed to meet him at the Tesco car park in Wadebridge.
Finally, the numbers on the milestones from St Columb (which I just managed to miss) reached the magic figure that indicated I’d reached my destination.
I met Mr as agreed, and he came armed with the telephone number of an emergency dentist in the town and instructions to ring before 11am tomorrow. Good man.
Further (clear-headed and accurate) re-planning may be needed if I can get an appointment.
Only two walking days left. Where did the time go?
We have been camping at the Tregurrian Camping and Caravan Club Site. It has nice soft level grass pitches, a heated shower block with proper wash hand basin cubicles as well as toilets, showers etc, which all make for a more comfortable stay. Despite not advertising that they accept dogs, the other seven temporary residents all seem to have dogs too. I think the phrase, ‘well-behaved’ is key and I gather they don’t accept pets in high season.
Overnight the outside temperature dropped lower and our little chiller in the car that keeps food at 5 degrees less than the ambient temperature, presented us with milk containing ice crystals for our breakfast. It was almost cold enough for gloves! Luckily our fan heater in the tent has kept us cosy.
There is no mobile reception, and I needed to buy a network card to be able to connect with WiFi, which seems to work fine.
We are next to Newquay airport and pilot training tonight has involved a rather heavy plane doing practice touch and go landings, then circle and do it again for quite a few turns. I don’t mind. I’d rather they practiced before I get on board. Apparently this happens quite often.
Along with the cattle that call for attention from dawn and the farm tractor that answers that cry, and the assorted cries of seagulls, crows and other birds the one thing this patch of countryside isn’t is quiet. And along with the other things that don’t show in photos, there is a pervading smell of muck spreading.
If you want your countryside neatly packaged, this isn’t the place to come, but it is very beautiful and well worth being here.