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]

Monday, 21 April 2008

The missing Day 4: Garras to Carnon Downs

(sorry, this post took a bit of a detour. Vic)

18 April
Distance: 17 miles
No. of Killer Dogs: 2
No. of Killer Horses: 1

As we set out from the campsite just outside of Garras at 7.35 this morning (having used the Utility Room at the campsite as our Breakfast Room) I was wearing my merino longsleeved top, my windshirt and my waterproof. On my hands were my gloves and on my head was my beanie.

The wind of the previous two days was still with us, but in place of the blue skies was a greyness with passing showers which promised to turn to sustained rain later.

By an hour in I had added my overmitts in an effort to get some feeling back in my hands. Half an hour later the waterproof trousers were added too. My hat was supplemented by both the hood of my windproof and the hood of my jacket. The rain had started and it was cold. I yearned for my winter Paramo attire.

The morning started along lanes, with the classic banks and hedgerows at the edges, housing flora and fauna galore (if only I was more familiar with wild plants). I hadn't realised until this week that those hedgerow topped banks had stone walls as their basis (but then this is the first time that I've been in Cornwall for 16 years, so I've not really had cause to contemplate the subject). The bonus of being on the lanes was that the banks were acting as excellent windbreaks, protecting us from the wind we could hear howling above our heads.

Striking off across country late in the morning we were well and truly into the rolling Cornish farmland, where a lack of waymarking and a lack of trodden paths tested our navigation (a test that I'm happy to say that we passed today).

With hunger gnawing away at me I desperately wanted to stop for lunch, the problem being that with the rain lashing at us such a stop would be more uncomfortable than the hunger.

Having negotiated some cows and a quagmire, it was like a gift to enter the next field to see in its top cover a corrugated roof. The shelter wasn't big and it had no walls, but it was protected by banks on two sides. It had appeared exactly when we needed it.

Stopping for lunch solved the problem of hunger but created a different one. I got cold within moments. Not just a bit chilly but shaking uncontrollably cold. Out came the down jacket and the stove for a hot drink.

I left the down on as we set off again, adding it to my other eighty layers. I looked fit for an arctic expedition, never mind just a stroll through some fields! I did finally warm back up, but it took a while.

More fields brought us to more lanes and a couple of villages. It was as we passed through (hmm, can't remember the name and sitting in a pub as I am right now I don't have a map to hand) one of them I spotted a pub.

Fortunately we had caught it just before it shut after lunch. Unfortunately we only just caught it before it shut after lunch, so our sojourn in its warm interior chatting to the landlord (he sees a lot of LEJOG cyclists passing through) was short-lived.

Still, it was only two miles from there (uphill, why do our days always end up a hill?) to our campsite, where to our relief we found not only that our food parcel had arrived but also that there was a pub across the road.

The £15 charge for two backpackers nearly made me cry 'how much?', but the facilities are first class - and heated :-) Of course, I've had to make sure that we get our monies worth so we each spent about a week and a half in the hot, powerful showers.

Despite the adverse conditions, we still had a very enjoyable day (singing songs from Chitty Chitty as we went). It's a very short day tomorrow. A lie in - bliss!

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