The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Day 1 - Land's End to Marazion

15 April
Distance: 17 miles
Number of killer dogs encountered: 0

I did not have a good night's sleep. The nervous excitement that I had been expecting to keep me awake throughout the past week finally snuck up on me.

Fortunately, the lack of sleep was in no way a reflection on our B&B. Our room was very well presented and immaculate. The bathroom was vast and we had at our disposal everything we could possibly want including a sumptuously comfortable bed. If you find yourself in the vicinity of Land's End and in need of a bed then I heartily recommend Weavers.

It was 9am by the time we had breakfasted, I had resolved an emergency sewing requirement on my trousers (and we'd not even set foot on the trail!), had done photos at Land's End (no signpost man in attendance at that hour), signed the End to End book and set out.

We bade farewell to Noelle, the Macmillan fundraising manager who kindly came to take photos and wave us off, and off we went.

All was going well, we had followed lanes and located our first footpath without a hitch. Then we rounded a corner and in front of us the track became a large pool of water for maybe twenty yards. We fannied around the edges for the while, but the water went right up to the walls and hedgerows. There was only one thing for it. Husband rolled up his trousers and went first. I saw it as a good opportunity to test the Sealskinz so had a quick change and soon followed.

With liberally mud covered shoes and socks we continued, not long after finding ourselves faced with a crossing of a wide stream. Now I expected to have to ford water obstacles once we get to Scotland, but I confess that I didn't expect it on day one in Cornwall!

Having heard many warnings about the state of Cornish footpath upkeep it was inevitable that we would meet problems. Crop fields and a missing stile started it and we would have missed the line of one footpath whilst searching for a way over a hedgerow if it hadn't been for some chap who had walked it before us leaving his footprints in the furrowed field we were trying to enter. Those prints led us to a way to scramble over a wall and we were away again to face more and more varied navigational challenges.

Of course, when we finally did the inevitable and made a navigational faux pas, it was in a really easy place on a very obvious path.

Lanes and fields eventually led us back to the coast, first through Newlyn then Penzance. The views were magnificent, but they weren't enough to distract my mind wholly. By the time we reached Penzance I was beginning to feel like I'd walked far enough for one day.

A mental slap sorted me out and with the uninterrupted view of St Michael's Mount and sandy beaches to distract from the fact that we were walking on concrete, we reached first Marazion then our campsite for the night, eight hours after setting off.

And the weather? One cloud obscured the sun for about 2 minutes when we stopped for lunch. At all other times the sun beat down allowing us to walk in shirtsleeves. Heaven.


  1. Sorry, forgot to tell you what to expect in Cornwall. More of the same to come (and in Devon). On Exmoor a few weeks ago I was up to my ankles in slurry for about thirty feet - nice.

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