After a late breakfast and a little resupply shopping I met up with Alan. He had brought all the maps and guides that I will need for the rest of the trip. More weight to carry. I also swapped my t-shirts for long-sleeved thermals and picked up some gloves.
We enjoyed a pub lunch and in the afternoon I was able to book some accommodation and deal with some admin.
The Royal Hotel was very accommodating, and a real example of not judging a book from the cover, as the exterior belies what is inside.
I had a slight timing issue today as I had arranged to meet my landlady for the evening at 4.00, at the pub in Challacombe. Not wanting to be late, I left Barnstaple at 6.15 using my End to End Trail guide. All was going well until I had to go down a footpath in the town between houses 74 & 73. 73 exists but 74 is a housing estate of flats and the alley is no longer there. More delay as I found another way.
The first part of the route, once the town is left behind, was delightful going along a green lane above the River Yeo.
Emerging above Collard Bridge I was not inspired with confidence when the guide stated “It should be possible to follow the right of way once the trees have grown.” As it was easy to nip down a country lane this is what I did. The author of the guide is obsessed with avoiding any roads and often proposes long and unnecessary detours.
Climbing out of the valley I was soon at Bratton Fleming and treated myself to a late breakfast.
Dropping down into the valley of the River Bray at Leeham Bridge I rose again to cross the watershed of the River Barle and arrived in Challacombe.
Small technical hitch. It was 11.45 and the pub had not yet opened!
It seemed churlish not to stay for a long and relaxed lunch and to rehydrate. I eventually rang the B&B and got picked up.
Warren Farm is beautifully situated at around 400m on the edge of Exmoor. The farmer’s wife says that it was very different in the winter when there were 15 foot snowdrifts as they were lambing.
Tomorrow will be another short day as I only have to walk from Challacombe to the farm. I could have easily reached here today but I have accommodation booked until Sunday which I cannot change. A Catch 22 situation.
As today was going to be another fairly short day I treated myself to a cooked breakfast at the hostel and did not leave until 8.00.
The day got off to a bad start, as a suggested shortcut led across dunes with lots of brambles, prickly rose-like plants and thorny bushes. My legs got badly scratched before I binned that route and took an alternative. The rest of the day passed pleasantly crossing farmland with good paths to Padstow and then taking the Camel Trail along the estuary to Wadebridge.
The Travelodge is on the top of a hill on the outskirts but once there has all the amenities one could wish for; a large Tesco’s, a Lidl and a Bargain Store all within 200m, not to mention the pub next door which provided a fine steak. I hope however that England can win the football as this evening will cost about the same as the previous five.
Having looked at the weather forecast and tried unsuccessfully to book accommodation after tomorrow night, I have decided not to worry and if I cannot get into a campsite I will just stop on the cliffs. I am also planning to bin the rest days and keep going, to take full advantage of the fine weather. The next few days are some of the hardest before Scotland, and having the flexibility to go slower in the heat will be an advantage. Tomorrow is a big day to reach Boscastle, where I am staying in the Youth Hostel, so I plan to leave at 6.00 to take full advantage of the cooler mornings.
Mobile connectivity is still a problem. At Perranporth Neil has managed to email me some photos. Most are in this post but check back to Greetings from Helston for a couple more of the start. – Katy
A much better day all round today. I covered more miles and did more climbing, and am back on schedule.
I got away from Combe at 7 am and at Portreath had a second, substantial breakfast before pushing on to Porthtowan. Here I waited for the tide to go down so that I could walk along the beach rather than go over the headland to St Agnes.
A bit further up the coast I got to Chapel Porth Beach, my grandson Eben’s favourite beach!
St Agnes, where my son Stuart and his family were living until earlier this year, was the next milestone along the way.
And finally I arrived in Perranporth, visiting Linda’s bench along the way. Here’s what the plaque says:-
There was no room for me in the Youth Hostel at Perranporth, but I got a pitch in their campsite. Thinking ahead, I booked myself a place for tomorrow night at the backpacker’s hostel in Newquay.
For dinner I treated myself to scallops, black pudding and SALAD (so healthy!) at a pub, and then as the sun set over the YHA campsite’s fence, I turned in for the night.
Mobile connectivity isn’t great where Neil is in Cornwall so this is Katy blogging for him, based on the email he sent yesterday which didn’t arrive until this morning, and a later phonecall with more details.
I left Porthleven today at 7.15 but only got to Combe about 5k from Portreath. I still hope to get to Perranporth tomorrow.
I hadn’t seen many birds so far on the walk but this morning every bird for miles seemed to get together over my tent at 4am and woke me up!
Today I was heading for the north Cornwall coast. I had intended to use a combination of roads and footpaths, but to my dismay I found many footpaths had disappeared, been planted over with crops, or were otherwise unusable. So I ended up doing a lot of road walking.
It was excessively hot today and I had intended to buy lunch and fill up with water in Godolphin Cross or Leedstown. But there were no shops and the only pub had closed down. I didn’t have enough to eat with me, and ran out of water, so it was hard to keep going. Finally, on what seemed to be a traveller site, I managed to get water from a kind immigrant who gave me some from his caravan. This was just as well as even with this extra water, I had pretty much run out when I got to Combe.
At Combe I decided to call it a day. There is a good basic campsite, with a toilet block and running water – I have drunk several litres of this, and then dinner has been a lovely dehydrated meal… I’m tired and hopefully will sleep well and be able to get away early tomorrow.