Day 8 (Rest day) – Tintagel in the rain and some lolling about

Rest day today as planned, especially as the next few days’ walking promise to be some of the hardest on the whole walk (gulp). On the other hand, there has been a noticeable improvement in my fitness – compared to last week’s rest day, when I was so stiff I had difficulty getting out of bed, I felt remarkably chipper this morning. Going to bed at 8.30 last night may have helped.

After a brief shopping trip to Bude to stock up on new maps (see how I learn from yesterday’s getting lost!) and some trail mix (the previous packet having turned out to contain salted nuts (who but a loon would put salted nuts in a mix intended for exercise, together with chocolate?), we headed off beneath grey skies and thick cloud to see Tintagel Castle. We arrived just as a torrential downpour started, so sheltered under a cliff for a bit before watching one of those overly dramatic films in the visitors’ centre, complete with shadowy cowled figures standing on headlands, portentous voiceover, and some rather creative historical interpretation. Fact is, there is absolutely nothing to link King Arthur with it at all, but it is still an interesting place to visit, not least because it’s hard to imagine why you would build so many buildings over such a long time out on a cliff somewhere which is hard to get to and has no strategic importance. It was extremely windy, and getting up to the castle requires climbing a lot of very steep steps, but Rowan bounded up them like a mountain goat, shouting ‘come on Mummy, we have to get to the highest rock’, then charged round the place with me trailing in her wake feebly saying ‘please don’t stand so close to the edge’ with apocalyptic maternal visions of a freak wind blowing her off the 50 foot rock plateau and over the cliff. Rowan decided that when she grew up she would also hire builders to have a castle on top of a rock, and said graciously that I could have one close by, only “a little bit lower”.

Pasties for lunch in the car overlooking part of tomorrow’s coastal walk (along the imaginatively named High Cliff), then back to the caravan at our campsite and a quiet afternoon spent gluing and drawing in Rowan’s scrapbook, playing with Isaac, and reading with my feet up. I also patched up the annoying air leak in my water pouch mouthpiece with Vaseline, so hopefully should actually be able to use the tube to drink from without swallowing mostly air. Tomorrow promises to be a long (and demanding) day up to Boscastle and I am a little apprehensive, but after all it’s just one step at a time.

 

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