8th July – Clovelly to Bideford

20180708 Clovelly Harbour
Clovelly Harbour


After an excellent breakfast at the Durante House Hotel my taxi dropped me back at the visitor’s centre at Clovelly at 9.00.

It was already very hot so I enjoyed the fact that to Bucks Mill, and beyond, the path was mainly in woods. After Bucks Mill the path follows the cliff edge descending to Peppercombe and then going up and down via Rowden Gut and Babbercombe Mouth before descending to the sea at Westcliffe and finally going over Greencliff before joining the old railway to Westward Ho!

20180708 Peppercombe and the route to Westward Ho
Peppercombe and the route to Westward Ho!

I took a recommended shortcut to Bideford just before Westward Ho! and was delighted to come out about 1 km from my hotel at 3.45pm.

20180708 Turning off the coastal trail near Westward Ho
Turning off the coastal trail near Westward Ho!

The hotel has laundry facilities so I now have clean kit.

Tomorrow I go to Barnstaple along the Tarka Trail and will then leave the Coastal Path behind to go across Exmoor, the Quantocks and the Mendips before crossing the Severn Bridge and entering Wales.

On a practical note I have to replace a vital piece of clothing which is somewhere on the trail I walked yesterday.  I was drying socks etc hanging from my pack and it obviously dropped off.  Luckily Barnstaple has an M&S!

7th July – Elmscott to Clovelly

20180707 Approaching Hartland Point
Approaching Hartland Point

I left the hostel at 6.30 as I was anticipating possibly having to walk as far as Bideford to find somewhere to stay.  The route to Hartland Point continued with steep river valleys that had to be crossed and I was delighted when I turned east at Hartland Point.

20180707 Hartland Point Lighthouse
Hartland Point Lighthouse

Psychologically I knew that the most difficult sections of the path were now behind me.  That was a mistake as the trail was still very steep, just relatively easier.

20180707 rock formation near Hartland Point
Near Hartland Point

I reached Clovelly around 2.00 pm on a blisteringly hot day and could not face continuing.  Luckily there was a bus to Bideford, where I will stay for two nights.  Tomorrow I will get a taxi to Clovelly and then walk back to my hotel.

This evening I have sorted out places to stay for the next 5 nights.

The last 4 days are the hardest on the trail, until Scotland, each with well over 1000m of climbing, and I am glad they are behind me.

20180707 Lundy Island
Misty Lundy Island

6th July – Bude to Elmscott

20180706 Beautiful coastal scenery
Beautiful coastal scenery


The extreme weather conditions have forced me to take some extreme action. I had a late start as I needed to shop but I also boxed up my tent and some other gear and sent it home.  Altogether it came to 4.4kg about a third of the weight of the rucksack. The weight problem is exacerbated by having to carry 3 litres of water ie 3 kilos.  In the heat the weight was just too much.  As I get fitter hopefully things will ease.

I left Bude around 10.30 and there was a noticeable difference. The path takes you over 8 big ascents and descents.  I stopped at Duckpool and Morwenstow for food and to replenish my water.

20180706 Duckpool

At Morwenstow a poorly signed diversion meant that I wasted 30 minutes walking down the valley, only to find the path was closed and I had to retrace my steps.

Carrying on I decided that I had to divert to the Youth Hostel at Elmscott as I was running out of water.  I had tried to book but the hostel was full.  I was therefore pleasantly surprised to find it was actually almost empty and I had a room to myself.  They also had a small shop so I could buy dinner.

5th July – Boscastle to Bude

018 Chevron Fold Millook
One for the geologists!  Folded sedimentary rocks at Millook. Interesting but no teashop!


My guidebook tells me not to underestimate the difficulty of this section and the next to Hartland Point. The author is not kidding. The scenery is lovely, but a constant switchback of very steep ascents and descents make it brutal if, like me, you are carrying a big load.

The rucksack is manageable on the flat and easier angled ascents but steps and very steep loose scree are very difficult. The Steps were obviously put in for Cornish giants!!

I guess therefore the good news is that 26km and 1440 metres of ascent were completed today even if it took nearly 12 hours

The Northshore bunkhouse has one resident tonight; me, which is a luxury. The weather is no good for surfers so they are staying away.

I have to shop tomorrow and will then see how I feel. I may need to take 2 days over the next section so I am pleased that I have a day in hand.

The Problem with Farmers

I should state initially that I quite like farmers and think that they mainly do a good job managing the countryside.  However some are not so good.  Today I was trying to use footpaths, ie public rights of way, to get to Port Isaac only to find huge cereal fields crossed by a public right of way which the farmer had totally ignored.  I was left with a choice of extending my walk or ploughing through his wheat.  I am a country boy so I walked round.  The next field was the same except that the headland was head height in weeds, which incidentally covered a lot of his crop.  I had no chance of finding the stile and footbridge.  Eventually I fought my way through and decided it was too much of an effort so I walked up the roads.  This is obviously what the farmer wants. “Don’t want no people on Moy Land!”

On another farm the path was perfect.

017 That's the way to do it
That’s the way to do it!

Later, coming along the Coastal Path, one of the most popular walking routes in the country, I and all the other walkers were faced with cows and calves accompanied by two bulls.  The farmer may know that old Billy is a real softy but personally I would prefer him not to be standing on my path.  Surely we could at least be told “Bull in Field”. Several walkers had dogs and were quite concerned.

Farmers have rights but so do we the public.

4th July – Wadebridge to Boscastle


The biggest day so far.  Over 32k or 20 miles with 1200 metres of ascent.  In all honesty it felt like it.

I left Wadebridge at 6.00am after a late night watching England.  Luke my Canadian grandson now believes that England always win penalty shootouts.

Making my way across country to Port Isaac I had the normal problems in Cornwall; that farmers apparently ignore footpaths and rights of way.

014 Port Isaac
Port Isaac

I walked north via Chapel Amble and St Endellion to reach the coast at 9.00.  I had lunch at around 1.30 at Trebarwith Strand having survived the switchbacks of Barrett’s Zawn and Jacket’s Point and arrived at Tintagel, which I tried to ignore.

015 Jacket's Point
Jacket’s Point

Less than 3 miles to Boscastle but they included the deep valleys of Willapark and Rocky Valley, which meant that I was delighted when Boscastle, which had mysteriously been moving away from me, finally relented and I arrived at 5.30.

016 Rocky Valley
Rocky Valley

I have a family room at the Hostel and am hoping not to have to share. I want to make an early start again tomorrow but I now have a bed at Northshore Hostel in Bude.  Tomorrow is shorter but has 1400m of ascent and will be another tough day.

Port Isaac and the crew putting away the gig after a training session

3rd July – Treyarnon to Wadebridge

20180703 Padstow Harbour
Padstow Harbour


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.

1st July – Perranporth to Newquay


When I camped at Perranporth I was not expecting that a barbecue would be held next to my tent and some very friendly foreign gentlemen would chat and smoke outside until very late.  As they had given me some beautiful watermelon earlier I did not like to complain.  I also met a very interesting Australian who has been away travelling for 10 years.

I managed to get the tent down in the dry and get across Perranporth beach before the incoming tide closed that route.  Over the dunes, avoiding strange objects in Penhale firing range, saw me descending into Holywell in the pouring rain.  The shop was open and the owner and I had tea together.  His is the last remaining shop in the village and is only open for 12 weeks in the summer.  He claimed that all the shops had to close once people could not take their children out of school for a holiday.

Still in the rain I past Porth Joke, where Stuart and Laura often used to camp and came down to The Gannet where I was able to cross the river and climb up to Newquay arriving at 12.30.  As this was a bit early I tried to book further up the coast but could not get anyone to reply to my calls.  I am therefore staying in Newquay in a hostel above a pub with a music night!!

008 Newquay

Naturally since I decided to stop the sun is now shining brightly and I should have gone on and risked camping.

Tomorrow I plan to camp at the Treyarnon Hostel before going on to Wadebridge and hopefully getting a room in the Travelodge.  I am then in the hostel at Boscastle as I decided in would be better to have a rest day in Bude.

30th June – Combe to Perranporth

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.

003 Tide going out between Porthtowan and Chapel Porth
Waiting for the tide to go out near Porthtowan

A bit further up the coast I got to Chapel Porth Beach, my grandson Eben’s favourite beach!

004 Chapel Porth Eden beach
Chapel Porth beach

St Agnes, where my son Stuart and his family were living until earlier this year, was the next milestone along the way.

005 St Agnes
St Agnes

And finally I arrived in Perranporth, visiting Linda’s bench along the way.  Here’s what the plaque says:-

006 Plaque on Linda's bench Perranporth

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.

007 Sunset YHA Perranporth
Picturesque Perranporth sunset

28th June – Greetings from Helston

001 Starting from Lizard
Starting from the Lizard


Those of you who have looked at the route will know Helston is not on it. Let’s begin at the beginning.  My room-mates eventually rolled in just after midnight and let the door bang every time they went to the toilets.  Amazingly I slept well and left them sleeping it off at 7.15.

002 Old Lizard lifeboat station
The old Lizard lifeboat station

The weather was fine with a cooling breeze.  Kynance cove soon came and went as did Mullion Cove where I stopped for tea.  Soon after Poldu I could see Porthleven in the distance and thought I would arrive around 1.30-2.00pm.  Little did I know that there had been a cliff fall and I had to walk along the Loe on an hour’s detour.

So why am I in Helston? Simply somewhere before Mullion I had dropped the map.  Tomorrow I cross to the north coast on country footpaths and I need a map.  Porthleven could not supply one, so I have caught the bus here and am now having to wait an hour before the bus back.  I will have no criticism made in future of WH Smith’s who saved the day.  Apart from all this aggravation, the day has gone well, and I know how to find tonight’s campsite and there is a pub next door.  Speaking of which I just have time for a beer before returning to Porthleven.