Isaac (aged 16 months) has not been sleeping well in the caravan, and has regularly been waking up screaming for anything up to half an hour at intervals between 1 and 3am. After yet another night of this, both Arran and I were hollow-eyed and exhausted, and I started the day’s walk (target destination Bude, over what the book descibes as “one of the most strenuous stretches of the whole End to End trail”) feeling like my legs and feet were made of lead.
Despite another beautiful sunny day and a nice start round the clifftops at Tintagel, my energy level and motivation did not improve. Even the relatively short descent into and climb out of the lovely Rocky Valley felt like a mammoth task and took me about an hour; the rising temperature did not help and my right knee in particular was very sore and reluctant to do any steps. My legs and arms were also covered in angry red hives from yesterday’s walk and I was itchy, sweaty and thoroughly miserable. I began to think that the day’s plan of walking to Bude, over some of the more demanding parts of the Coast Path, was simply not going to be feasible without a bit more sleep, and was starting to question the wisdom of attempting LEJOG with two small children in tow. I dragged myself round the coast to Boscastle, walked down into the harbour, and decided to have a cup of strong coffee in the hopes of boosting my flagging spirits.
Two large cups of coffee at the Harbour Light cafe opposite the Witchcraft Museum (friendly staff and an ace bacon sandwich) made me feel better, but no more energetic, and after about half an hour sat in the sun, eyeing the path out of the harbour with growing reluctance, I decided that it would be more sensible to have a very short day and continue from Boscastle towards Bude tomorrow. Feeling immensely relieved, but also guilty at wimping out, panicky at the thought of falling further behind schedule, and questioning my ability to do the walk at all, I sat on a bench in the shade drinking water and waited for Arran to rescue me. I had a long (unplanned) nap in the afternoon and went to bed early.
Highlights: The clear blue water round Tintagel Head, which looked so inviting I wished I could shed my boots and simply swim the rest of the way; the cheerful stream in Rocky Valley; a lovely waitress who was amazed at the thought of anyone walking anywhere along the coast from Boscastle; the mixture of relief and disappointment at the abortive day.