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]

Thursday, 17 April 2008

Day 3 - Prendannack to just before Garras, via Lizard

17 April
Distance: 15.5 miles
No. of killer cows: one entire herd

The day did not start entirely well. Not only did we take an age to pack away, but I'd got something awry with my pack and couldn't get it comfortable.

Even so we were walking by quarter to eight and were soon back on the coast path, under clear blue skies once again and enjoying yet more stunning scenery.

The distance to Lizard wasn't great, only about five miles, and the terrain was perfectly easy walking - reasonably flat with good conditions underfoot.

How then did it take us the best part of two and three quarter hours to cover those five miles?

The wind. It was strong and at all times either head on or buffetting us from the side making us stagger all over the cliffs. My, it was a bit nippy too!

I was jolly glad to see Lizard come into view, and we even managed to battle the wind to take a self-photo at the most southerly point. Once I'd run down to the beach and back, to dip my feet in the sea, we headed straight for the nearest cafe.

Here, as people staggered in asking whether it was always this windy ('no' was the answer), I unpacked my bag all over the floor and packed it again in a more satisfactory way (it was all to do with the thermarest in the back-pad pocket).

Protected for a while by hedgerows, we then made our way north - a satisfactory direction to be heading, given our objective.

The find of Anne's Famous Pasty shop was timed just right. It was just what I was hankering after and I was even more pleased to find that they sold meatless Cornish pasties, which saved me having to pick the meat out!

We were then on to footpaths across farmland and we managed to negotiate them without mishap. There was the one hairy incident, involving me leaping over a gate rather than pausing to open it, but that was due to a large and rather frisky herd of Fresians which decided to stampede us.

The one bit of route for which I was working on a 'crossed fingers' basis was the area of apparent nothingness just west of Goonhilly Downs. I was banking on being able to trespass beyond the access land, find a way through the wind far and reach a road beyond.

Knowingly trespassing always makes me nervous. I always expect the land owner to come running, waving his shotgun and shouting 'gerroff my land'. Today facing that fear seemed the better alternative than the road based diversion that would be required.

From the map it looked like we should be able to find a way through, but of course what you can't tell from the map is what the going is like. My plotted straight-line route was perhaps rather overly optimistic!

It was very nice underfoot in the main, with only a few areas of bog and long grass. The foray into prickliness was foolihardy and shortlived, but then we found ourselves hemmed in by barbed wire fences and impassable woodland.

Due to distances, I didn't consider backtracking to be an option, so poring over the map I came up with plan B. It added on some distance, involved a bit of undergrowth and meandered a little, but it worked.

Nobody challenged us, but I was still very pleased to be back on access land and more pleased still to have reached the required road.

We were early to our campsite today - 16.15 compared to yesterday's 17.30 (and we had a long lunch today too), which made the whole set of camp chores much more relaxed than the previous two days of racing against darkness. Incidentally, we've managed to use the Bushbuddy each day so far - notwithstanding the strong winds (and that tinder paper stuff is the business!).

The excellent news of the day is that I've realised that there was a typo on the schedule and tomorrow is only 17 miles, not 18.8. After 50 miles in three days, that was a welcome find.

1 comment:

  1. Absolutely excellent start! I've been following your every word during all your preparations (lured here by that Sloman chap!) and I'm so pleased that everything is going so well for you. You write in a lovely easy style and I will devour it all as you meander northwards. Best Wishes from Manchester, Dave Newton.