Today was a scheduled rest day and I was feeling happy with the last few day’s progress, so decided to take the day off and give my feet a well-earned rest. We spent the morning at Launceston, first visiting the castle and then going on the steam railway. The castle (English Heritage) is surprisingly impressive – it was begun after the Norman Conquest for the Earl of Cornwall and has a motte and bailey construction with a large round stone keep like a giant wedding cake. Rowan was particularly impressed with the archery target complete with bows and arrows and the random cat which submitted to stroking.
The steam railway was great. I am a sucker for a narrow gauge railway and I think by now we have been on a substantial proportion of the ones in the UK – one of my main regrets about doing the walk is that Arran will take the kids on more railways while I am off trudging over hill and dale. The Launceston one is a short trip – about 20 minutes – but has open-sided carriages available and lovely thick cardboard tickets which get punched properly by a man in a cap. The other end is a sort of farm playground with animals and various toys and outdoor things for the kids, where we had a cream tea before returning.
We went to Crackington Haven for lunch, partly if I’m honest because I wanted to brag about having walked the cliffs, and pottered about on the beach making a dam out of stones. Rowan found one with a fossilised worm of some sort, but obedient to the large warning signs we left it and all the other stones on the beach. I’m fairly sure that when I was little it was standard practice to bring home souvenir stones and bits of twig and things, but then maybe that’s why we have the warning signs up now.
We had a Cornish icecream from the cafe and admired the huge flax plants, which were in full bloom and looked extremely exotic (like miniature bananas), before heading back to the campsite for tea. We drove via Millook so that the others could see the weird zigzag rock formations in the cliffs, and I did a bit more bragging about the huge cliffs. Well, you have to get your kicks where you can…