Definitely a day of plans going ‘aft agley’. Eagle-eyed regular readers (yes, both of you) will note I was planning to walk to Port Isaac yesterday. However, a very disturbed night (an inevitable consequence of sharing a small space with children who still wet the bed) meant a slow start to the morning and, with a long drive from the campsite to Mawgan Porth, I didn’t start walking until well past 10am. Feeling sluggish from lack of sleep, I made slow progress, although the cliffs north of Mawgan Porth were spectacular (I will get round to posting photos soon I promise). I made it to Constantine Bay (more golden sand and clear blue waters) just after lunch, then embarked on the first of two ‘shortcuts’, designed to get me to Padstow in good time by cutting off the wiggly bits round two headlands. I have learned an important lesson: do not, repeat do not, try to navigate shortcuts cross-country via footpaths with an OS Landranger map. It doesn’t work. Eventually reached a village, only to find it was St Merrell, rather than Trevone, meaning I had veered off course by around 2 miles and there was no way of regaining the coast path except by walking suicidally on busy A roads. I decided to make the best of a bad job by following the suggested End to End route via Wadebridge, and headed southeast, only to find that the footpath marked on my map down to the Camel Trail was in fact nonexistent, meaning I had to retrace my steps to Padstow and then back along the trail.
On the other hand, the unintentional diversion did lead to a bizarre discovery. Trudging down a quiet country lane, I came across a small bungalow with an immaculate lawn filled entirely with large standing stones, including a Stonehenge style trilithon. Looking more closely at the house, I saw that it was covered entirely with slate plaques, each inscribed in bright primary coloured paint with the name of an inventor or famous person. Looking it up on the web it seems the creator is well known. Archdruid Ed, thanks – whatever the power of the standing stones I felt a lot more energised having seen your house!
I eventually reached Wadebridge after a brisk 5 mile trek at the end of the day, feeling extremely pleased that I hadn’t given up. I think overall the distance was about 19 miles, so not bad for this stage. The Camel Trail is a long tarmac bike-friendly track which had great views of the river Camel (glassy still, wading birds and seagulls), but is a bit hard-going underfoot. It was however quite a nice change to be walking on the flat, and I met a very nice woman named Maggie who offered me a lift on her motorised wheelchair (I turned it down).
Highlights: Bedruthan Steps, with spray glinting off the rocks in the sun; large expanses of turf and sheep coming round Treyvarnon; more larks overhead (you can never have too many larks); Archdruid Ed’s amazing house; the view across the Camel Estuary to Padstow and Rock, with boats bobbing on the ebb tide; a heron picking its way along the river mud in the still afternoon; cold drinking water fountain at the end of the Camel Trail.