ABLE – Adventures Beyond Life Expectancy

30th November 2017

I wrote a page entitled LEJOG, and the one question I didn’t answer was ‘Why?’

It’s maybe the hardest question of all, but I was asked it today, by someone who already knew the answer and nodded with recognition when I spoke about expanding boundaries and making memories, “What an amazing thing to look back on, and just imagine all the things you’ll see and experience…” Yes, you ‘got’ it. 🙂

Much of 2015 was spent in a dark haze of pain as the result of a multiple-cause shoulder problem that was eventually resolved by surgery in August. With the aid of physiotherapy I progressed quickly and by the end of the year I had not only recovered almost all of the use of my right arm, but was feeling much better and finding the joy in life again, as well as trying to regain some of the lost fitness.

Joy is about recognising opportunities and not just obstacles, choosing to say “Why not?” more often than “No way” or “I can’t” and sometimes just taking a deep breath and going for it.

I follow the exploits and achievements of some extraordinary people. The point about them is that they are ordinary people who just kept going when other people stopped (including me).  Physically they may also be statistical outliers, but they are my inspiration – not to emulate their achievements, but to recognise their ‘can do’ attitude and apply some of it to my own dreams. (I may come back and edit this paragraph to name the names and embarrass individuals…)

When I was at primary school I wanted to become the youngest person to swim the English Channel. The reality of a North London suburban childhood meant this was a dream that went unfulfilled. And when I investigated the logistics about ten years ago I discovered that, although I now had the resources to plan and train for a channel swim, I’d rather gone off the idea.

LEJOG was a distant thought in my mind. Gradually over the last year it has gone from something that ‘other people’ with amazing fitness and experience and reserves of awesomeness do, to something that is ‘way outside’ my capabilities to… hang on, I used to be a project manager. Now, remind myself, how do you eat an elephant*? And gradually the idea moved from the impossible fantasy to a planned possibility, and if it can be done, and doesn’t involve goose fat and oil slicks, then why not?

ABLE – Adventures Beyond Life Expectancy
Given that there’s not enough time in one life to do everything that interests me, or that catches my attention; given that there are adventures that have had to be left behind because there’s always a balance of needs – e.g. working close to home while my children were young… given all sorts of other reasons/excuses… there are still adventures beyond life expectancy – too many for a bucket list 🙂

I’d rather reach the end of my road knowing I’ve taken as many of the opportunities as I could, when I could. That includes building a home and a family and faith, caring for others as well as the different career stepping-stones. And it includes the occasional foray into the “She’s doing what?!” category. If only to show my grandchildren that the world is a wonderful place, that most people are kind and lovely, that even old people can have fun, and that dreams are worth pursuing.

Lose this day loitering—’twill be the same story
To-morrow–and the next more dilatory;
Then indecision brings its own delays,
And days are lost lamenting o’er lost days.
Are you in earnest? seize this very minute–
What you can do, or dream you can, begin it,
Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it,
Only engage, and then the mind grows heated—
Begin it, and the work will be completed!


*One slice at a time


End of Phase 1

Saturday 4th November 2017

Hopefully most of the blog is now updated, even if the unpacking isn’t complete and the washing is piled up.

It was odd sleeping in a bed last night after a few nights in a tent, and normal life has to be resumed between now and April.

I’m happy with most of the kit I took with me, but now need to practice carrying my bigger rucksack over winter because I’ll need to include tent, sleeping bag etc in the loads for next year, and no matter how much I like the Deuter, it simply isn’t big enough.

We took a lot of food that we didn’t eat – it was too cold and wet to be cooking out of doors and I won’t risk carbon monoxide poisoning so cooking in the tent is out of the question. We used the microwave in the car to boil water and heat soup, and that was about it.

I also found that I wasn’t particularly hungry during a day of walking and never did touch that emergency can of pilchards recommended by Daryl May. (As I recall his idea was that emergency food should not be so attractive that you eat it because you want to. I demonstrated the accuracy of his idea when the chocolate vanished during the last three miles to Tintagel.)

Overall I’m happy with Phase 1.

I’d planned to walk around 100 miles and managed 96, which included a day lost due to toothache. My knees didn’t dislocate (no strapping required), my legs are stronger and I estimated the effort fairly accurately. The way I used my walking poles has strengthened my upper body more than I expected, which is no bad thing. At this rate it will even get rid of bingo wings; I may be onto a new exercise fad.

My attention to navigation needs to improve, especially when I think I know where I am and where I’m going. Complacency is dangerous.

Using a mobile for blogging needs a lot more work, and the lack of a signal for huge areas is something I need to think more carefully about, especially if I need to use it as a backup for navigation.

Now to spend winter planning…

Walk Day 9 – Wadebridge to Tintagel

Thursday 2nd November 2017

15 miles today, 96.2 miles in total.

A cold mist was lying low over the land as I started walking again from Tesco car park after a day off. Rather than go back up to the A39 roundabout I elected to go down through the town. It’s always up or down in Cornwall!

2017 11 02 DSC_0124 Wadebridge to Tintagel


In the middle of Wadebridge is the ‘Old Bridge’, with seventeen arches.

2017 11 02 DSC_0125 Wadebridge to Tintagel

It spans the River Camel, this is five miles upstream from Padstow. The new bridge that takes the A39 is in the distance. The Camel Trail joins the two towns and it’s where we walked the dog yesterday between dental appointments.

2017 11 02 DSC_000001f Wadebridge to Tintagel

With the exception of a chat with the man in the ‘Nice Baps’ roadside cafe (he stamped my log-book for me) the first few miles were boring and rather dangerous, walking along the side of the A39. There is no footpath and the traffic is relentless, with heavy lorries, tractors, white vans aplenty (their wing mirrors are at my head height), and a variety of different driving styles on display. I felt I needed to concentrate better than pheasants to avoid becoming roadkill.

After a while I turned onto the side road through St Kew then up to the B3314 at Pendoggett and was rewarded with better views and a less dangerous road. But it was still road, and very hard underfoot.

There were some good views to either side. This was looking south. The sea was to the north.

2017 11 02 DSC_0128 Wadebridge to Tintagel

I stopped at the top of the hill coming out of St Kew for lunch, sitting at the bottom of this signpost.

2017 11 02 DSC_0127 Wadebridge to Tintagel

At Delabole I turned off the B road towards Trebarwith Village. Tintagel came into view, so near and yet so far.

2017 11 02 DSC_000001g Wadebridge to Tintagel

I found Trebarwith, and chatted to a local man who told me I was close to Tintagel but at least an hour’s walk away. He gave me directions which I managed to mis-hear or ignore. Coming down the (very steep!) hill from the village I turned left at the bottom of this hill instead of carrying straight on, and walked down almost to sea level at Trebarwith Strand instead of back up the equally steep hill on the other side.


There’s always a silver lining, and in Trebarwith Strand I came across a (closed) art gallery with some stunning seascapes painted by Dean Murphy. If you like art he’s worth checking out.

The diversion meant I added another steep stepped section of the SWCP to get back up the cliff to Treknow, (at least it wasn’t road) and sat down to rest on a bench at the top of the climb.

Today’s route seemed to go on for ever, but it was simply a brain/legs combination that had decided 12 miles was ‘enough’ and 15 miles was ‘too much’, and the fact that the last three miles were the steepest and hardest to walk meant I was playing the “Rest if you must but don’t you quit” mantra for quite a while.

Tintagel tourist office was also closed when I arrived. The Post Office marked on the OS map closed some time ago. I found the car in the car park and waited for Mr to return to take a souvenir photo of the end of Phase 1.

2017 11 02 P 1059065 Wadebridge to Tintagel

It has been a cold and sunny day, perfect for walking.

15 miles in total, hilly and at times quite hard.

7 hours walking.

Phase 1 complete.

Thank you to all who have already contributed to the fundraising at

2017 11 02 P 1059065a Wadebridge to Tintagel

Home tomorrow to replanning. I’ve learned a few useful lessons, not least that road walking makes my feet sore and that I need to keep concentrating, especially when I think I know where I’m going.

1st November – not walking.

Wednesday 1st November 2017

The toothache is taking all my attention and the emergency dentist appointment is at lunchtime. Today will be an official rest day. One lost day won’t destroy the plan.

Update.  Tooth now drilled and filled and I have antibiotics and Ibuprofen. A bit of replanning means that I think I can finish tomorrow at a bus stop that will be reachable next year when I restart.

Walk Day 8 – Mawgan Porth to Wadebridge

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…

LEJog day 8 2017 10 31 1 Lower Trenowth Farm

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)

LEJog day 8 2017 10 31 2 View across country

I still managed to see the sea, and I presume this is Padstow.

LEJog day 8 2017 10 31 3 DSC_0122 I can see the sea

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.

LEJog day 8 2017 10 31 4 DSC_0123


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.


Walk Day 7 – Crantock to Park Head (Poldark Country)

Monday 30th October 2017

Around 14.5 miles today, 70 miles in total.

This morning’s start was from Crantock, and the destination, via Newquay, was intended to be Bedruthan Steps.

From Crantock I followed the SWCP




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across the River Gannel to find myself suddenly on a housing estate of bungalows in Newquay, a blocked footpath, and a diversion around the estate until I found the way back up hill into town.

I followed the signs to the public toilets at the Bus station, only to find they were closed due to vandalism. A lady waiting for a bus told me about a legal dispute between the bus company and the council that means the toilets have been closed for a long time, but she was able to tell me where the alternative facilities were located. This was my first experience of the ’20p-to-pee’ policy of so many places in Cornwall, and provided an unexpected tour of Newquay. This tour was extended later when building work had closed one of the access points to the path and I had to retrace my steps.

The weather was lovely so I sat in the sun to eat my sandwich, eyed up by a greedy seagull.

I was looking at the little bridge that joined a house on an island to the mainland and wondering how tradesmen get materials across.

2017 10 30 P1050935 Crantock to Park Head

The weather was fine and clear, and the sun shone. It was tempting to stay exactly where I was. But I had to move on.

2017 10 30 P1050937 Crantock to Park Head

This was set into the pavement in Newquay. Presumably there are others.

2017 10 30 P1050938 Crantock to Park Head

Finally leaving the town, looking back.

2017 10 30 P1050939 Crantock to Park Head

The grass area I was walking across had some interesting-looking mounds on it, and then I found this notice.

2017 10 30 P1050940 Crantock to Park Head

Most of the day was spent on the SWCP because the road and path run close to each other,  but the road is horrible and the path is lovely. However, the SWCP comes with many warnings about crumbling edges etc. No, I don’t get blase about it.

2017 10 30 P1050942 Crantock to Park Head

This was only about a mile away from our campsite at Tregurrian.

2017 10 30 P1050943 Crantock to Park Head

I carried on walking up and down as one does.




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At Mawgan Porth a woman accompanied by a young red-headed boy stopped me to ask if I was the woman walking to John O’Groats who had a husband and dog waiting for me in the car park at Bedruthan Steps. Her son said he wouldn’t walk all that way and thought it more sensible to take the bus. I agreed with him and said he wasn’t to do un-sensible things until he was as old as me. They told me I was about a mile away so,  with no mobile signal. I sent a text saying I’d be there within an hour.  Hmmm.

Too many miles were covered due to my assumption that the  otherwise excellent National Trust signage would identify Bedruthan Steps.

2017 10 30 P1050952 Crantock to Park Head2017 10 30 P1050952a Crantock to Park Head2017 10 30 P1050953 Crantock to Park Head

I’ve since discovered that the NT doesn’t own ‘Bed Steps’ so there is no sign. I walked past the steps up to the tearooms without seeing them then carried on, too far and found myself at dusk realising I’d missed it and, not wanting to trespass, unable to find the official footpath out to the road.

A couple ahead of me were walking their dog and I asked for their help. They were local; explained another(!) legal dispute that has resulted in the existing signage, and suggested that retracing my steps in the dark for an hour would be unsafe,  then offered me a lift back to car park to meet Mr and the dog. On the walk back to their car they told me that the area where I met them has recently been used to film Poldark.  So I now have a mental image of brooding Demelza on the clifftop to add to the wonderful views. Nigel and Linda, I thank you for your kindness to this stranger and will remember your tip about Tom the postie when I reach Helmsdale.

By the time we got to the car park the temperature had dropped a lot and I suddenly felt very cold indeed. Our drive back to the campsite was accompanied by the heater on full blast with me shivering in the passenger seat. Most unusual.

One exchange en-route left me smiling. A couple from the Lake District suggested that when I come to replace my walking poles I should buy some like theirs.  They had matching pairs of poles in their backpacks that looked smart, expensive and unused. The husband referred to my poles as ‘glorified ski poles’, which, of course, they are,  and that’s exactly how I use them. His added expressed dislike for end-to-end walks left me thinking what a good job it is that we are all different,  but I wasn’t convinced by the walking poles. 😉

Walking time – 6 hours

Distance – around 14.5 miles

Ear-worm ‘One more step’ and ‘One day at a time’


Walk Day 6 – Perranporth to Crantock

Sunday 29th October 2017

6 miles today, 55.4 miles in total.

This may be the toughest day so far because of the accumulated leg strain. My preferred route is to Crantock via the SWCP but that will mean walking across sand dunes as well as the usual undulations of the coastline. My knees are quite swollen this morning so I’m considering the longer and less interesting places road route.

Decisions,  decisions…

Update at 5pm. I avoided the coast path and walked in almost a straight line on nice footpaths, saving at least a third on mileage.

On the way I discovered the village of Cubert with an ancient church being refurbished,

LeJOG 2017 10 29 DSC_0114 - St Cubert Church

and a plaque on a house in Wesley Street commemorating a visit by John Wesley to the village.

LeJOG 2017 10 29 DSC_0115 - Cubert Methodism

I also found a farm with ostriches/emus/something flightless,

LeJOG 2017 10 29DSC_0108 - flightless birds

and a lady coming the other way who was struggling more than me and left me feeling quite fit.

On the way I found a copse of twisted wood trees and a Pooh-sticks bridge over a clear stream where I half expected to find tokens tied to the branches. It had the feeling of a ‘thin’ place, and I was fascinated to find, as I came up the hill on the other side,a signpost pointing back to Holywell.  I didn’t see any Cornish Piskies though. 🙂

LeJOG 2017 10 29DSC_0112 - Holywell

I only walked for 3 hours, 6 miles, and Mr and I treated ourselves to a cream tea afterwards.  I had enough leg power left to take the dog for a walk on the beach.


It was cold and blustery today, definitely not for standing still, and I got quite chilly once I’d stopped walking purposefully.

On the way home we stopped in Perranporth for a cream tea and to wander around the town. We were browsing the contents of a surf shop. As well as surfboards, t shirts, buckets, spades and cut-price end of season wetsuits, there were souvenirs galore, mainly beach-inspired ‘things’ to decorate your home. Gradually working our way towards the back of the very long shop, there was a sudden commotion and a black bird (jackdaw?) flew past my head heading for the low sunlight shining through the window on the back wall, hit the glass and fell to the floor, stunned. The shop owner simply picked it up, ignoring the loud cawing protests and took it back to the front of the shop to release it back into the street. “It happens occasionally” she said, totally blase about it. (I was remembering a Hitchcock film.) As with all things British, this broke the ice and the customers started speaking to each other for about two minutes before we all moved on.

Today’s earworm, no doubt inspired by seeing the John Wesley memorial was Charles Wesley’s ‘And can it be’ with all the associations of freedom that holds for me.


Walk Day 5 – Porthtowan to Perranporth

Saturday 28th October 2017

7 miles today, 49.4miles to date.Walking for 4 hours including breaks.

More good weather for walking today after an even colder start, but after yesterday’s steps I decided to hammer my feet by walking on the roads rather than stress my knees by more ‘steps’.

This shortened the route quite a lot which was welcome. It’s all a balancing act and I do feel as if I’m getting stronger.

My last view of Porthtowan. You can see yesterday’s path down from the cliff.

2017 10 28 DSC_0099 Porthtowan to Perranporth

The route was varied – hills of course, it’s always hills – but some tree lined, some open, sun and dappled shade, and the smell of woodland early on. There were some pretty houses tucked away.

2017 10 28 DSC_0100 Porthtowan to Perranporth

I had a complete mind-blank at one junction. I was looking at my map and compass and a woman on a bicycle stopped and asked if I needed help. The conversation went something like this,

“I’m trying to get to St Agnes and it should be straight on… but the map and the signpost say it is to the right”
“St Agnes is to the right”
“Yes, that’s what the map says too.” I remained puzzled for at least five minutes, but headed right anyway until my brain re-calibrated.

At St Agnes I found one of the oldest post boxes still in use.

2017 10 28 DSC_0101 Porthtowan to Perranporth

I also found a delightful Garden of Rest that had been adapted into a peaceful public park. It made a good place to stop and rest for a few minutes, and I was able to dispose of the collected rubbish in the bins. Excellent.

2017 10 28 DSC_0102 Porthtowan to Perranporth

St Agnes had some strange names as well. A house called ‘Slippy Widden’ and this street name,

2017 10 28 DSC_0103 Porthtowan to Perranporth

Something I didn’t photograph was the hair of the ladies of the town of St Agnes (which set off another ear-worm about the court of King Caractacus – you need to be a certain age to remember that one). I spoke to one lady, and saw another two who had white hair, but with vivid coloured accents in purple, deep pink and orange respectively. At first I wondered if this was a strange local fashion, then remembered that it’s the 28th October and Halloween is not far away, and I wondered about the social life of the ladies of the town of St Agnes.

Mr had been playing ball with Jet the dog on the beach, so when I got to Perranporth the dog was wet, sandy, tired and in his crate in the car. I was too late to get a stamp in the Post Office which had closed at 12.30pm as it was Saturday.

2017 10 28 DSC_0106 Porthtowan to Perranporth

Luckily some of the cafes were still open so as the darkness and the cold closed in we were able to get some hot food before returning to our tent.


Walk Day 4 – Gwithian to Porthtowan

Friday 27th October 2017

9.75 miles today, 42.4 miles in total. Another lovely walking day; clear, slightly overcast with some sunshine in the afternoon –  but oh my goodness, my knees. This was the ‘day of the steps’ on the SWCP. Steps which are designed and built by people much taller than me. My ear-worm changed from Mr’s rendition of ‘The Ballad of Trelawney’ that he was singing in the car to ‘the Grand Old Duke of York.’ Again.

2017 10 27 DSC_000001a Gwithian to Porthtowan

I started as always, from yesterday’s finishing point, and on the main road uphill. When I got to the top I switched across to the SWCP.

Today’s big theme was litter. So far I’ve found very little on the footpaths and it’s been easy to collect and dispose of it. Today there were a lot of squashed aluminium and steel cans, loads of McDonalds wrappers and even in one of the National Trust beauty spots, the remains of a firework party.

2017 10 27 DSC_0083 Gwithian to Porthtowan

The rubbish bag got too heavy, was catching on the brambles and tearing and I couldn’t find a bin. My ear worm changed to ‘Waltzing Matilda’ as I tried different ways of carrying a bag of swag – none of them very succesful.

I was getting quite frustrated when I reached a car park and approached a couple who were in their car admiring the view and asked them to take my rubbish home with them and dispose of it. They not only agreed, but they offered me a cup of tea from their Thermos as well. I keep saying it, but folks really are very nice and love to help.

2017 10 27 DSC_0091 Gwithian to Porthtowan

A lot of the path was alongside sheer drops over the most amazing cliffs, with some rather sad notices at several car parks and beauty spots that told their own story.

2017 10 27 DSC_0078 Gwithian to Porthtowan

2017 10 27 DSC_0079 Gwithian to Porthtowan

2017 10 27 DSC_0081 Gwithian to Porthtowan

2017 10 27 DSC_0087 Gwithian to Porthtowan

This was the most dramatic part of the landscape so far and I loved seeing it. My knees didn’t appreciate this though.

2017 10 27 DSC_0092 Gwithian to Porthtowan

Portreath was a welcome sight, and then I think there were four more sets of steps before Porthtowan and the long walk down to the Post Office to collect the stamp for my logbook.

Walk Day 3 – St Ives to Gwithian

Thursday 26th October 2017

11 miles today, 32.6 in total. Once again a misty morning turned into a clear day, but each day is starting a bit colder and the days are getting noticeably shorter.

The walk from the camp site to the starting point involved yet more steps,

2017 10 25 P1050908 St Ives

and some schoolyard humour.

2017 10 26 P1050909 St Ives to Gwithian

I started at St Ives waving to family members on the harbour web-cam while talking to them on the phone, then waving to a second group of people who assured me later that they were waving back. The badge on my hat is my ‘logo’ from the fundraising page.

2017 10 26 P1050910 St Ives to Gwithian

The women working in the Aspects Holidays office looked a little bemused, and my explanation didn’t really help.

So then it was off along the harbour, past the lifeboat station and out on the SWCP around St Ives Bay.

So many beautiful beaches, and even at the end of the season there were people surfing, walking and enjoying the last of the sunshine.

2017 10 26 DSC_0063 St Ives to Gwithian

Part of this route is also known as St Michael’s Way – a pilgrimage trail.




Undecided about which way to choose I was stopped by an American woman who warned me that the Coast Path was very muddy. I looked at my still wet and slurried shoes from yesterday and decided that I’d cope. The sealskin socks were doing a good job of protecting my feet from the worst of the sludge. The woman was right about part of the path, but with a bit of judicious pole-hopping I managed to avoid the worst of it, and my shoes gradually dried out through the day.

I’m getting used to the ups and downs of the coast path, but there was a bit less of it today as most of the path stayed above sea level around the sand dunes of the Hayle estuary, and out towards Lelant.

On this section, passing the golf course, I found a sign for coffee and cake, and discovered the old Methodist mortuary chapel that has been converted into a Heritage Centre.

2017 10 26 DSC_0065 St Ives to Gwithian

It made a good place to stop for ten minutes and there was a lot more than ten minutes worth of stuff to see, worth a proper visit one day. The coffee cake was nice too.

The tide was out at Hayle and the mud flats provided a bird sanctuary. There were a number of keen photographers with long lenses and notebooks, all pointed at the wildlife. I think it was here that the funeral cortege came past with the motorcycle-sidecar hearse.

2017 10 26 DSC_0068 St Ives to Gwithian

Once through the town I set off up the hill (there is always another hill!) towards Gwithian.

2017 10 26 DSC_0073 St Ives to Gwithian

The footpath I’d chosen to use went around a field of brassicas, and the farmer had put a pile of earth across the footpath. Was this an attempt to stop walkers? I walked around the earth. Then I saw that all around the edge of the field was chicken wire, lying on the ground. I wondered if it was intended to stop the many rabbits I kept seeing from eating the crops. Then I watched as one of the bunnies hopped across the wire to get to the vegetables and my ear worm changed from “The Grand Old Duke of York” to the story of Peter Rabbit. Except that Mr McGregor was noticeable by his absence. His influence was visible in the big notices telling walkers the footpath had been re-routed. Once I got out to the other side of the field it was downhill into Gwithian, to meet Mr at the pub for a quick drink before walking on to the car just outside town. And… he managed to buy a fan heater today. Light and heat. What luxury.