South West Coast Path: Porthcothan to Newquay

In which: I have a prolonged breakfast ● intermittent drizzle is followed by heavy rain ● Bedruthan Steps are quiet ● the surfers are still out in force ● Perranporth is reached a day early

Date: 20 August 2010
Time of walk: 0925 to 1430
Today’s walking: 17.4 km
Progress along SWCP: 16.5 km
Estimated ascent: 740 metres

I woke early, and after a nice lie-in went through the routine of washing, dressing and getting suitcase and rucksack ready. Breakfast wasn’t until 8.30, with lots of chatting with Nigel, and it wasn’t until 9.25 that I managed to get away, walking down the now familiar hill back to the Coast Path. I popped into the little shop, and then hit the trail. As I climbed the first headland I saw ahead of me two chaps with distinctive large rucksack rain covers, who I’d followed at a distance for much of yesterday.

Starting the walk along Porthcothan Bay out to the sea
Crossing the next little valley at Porth Mear

There was no rain initially but it seemed imminent, and such proved to be the case, and it continued on and off for the rest of the morning, becoming heavy around one o’clock, returning to light drizzle after two o’clock. At Park Head, the two chaps in front of me went to explore while I largely stuck to the route of the SWCP, so I got ahead of them and didn’t see them again.

From Park Head, a series of headlands around to Towan Head at Newquay that form the rest of today’s walk
Bedruthan Steps, a tourist honeypot, but fairly quiet on this poor weather day
From Trenance Point looking down into Morgan Porth (the large development on the north side of the beach well hidden from this angle)
From the other side, looking down on the beach at Mawgan Porth
From Berryl’s Point looking past Griffin’s Point
Watergate Beach hotel
Watergate Beach
Trevelgue Head and Porth Island across Porth Beach

As I was staying in Perranporth for the next two nights, I had taxi transfers this afternoon and tomorrow morning, and at one o’clock I phoned the taxi firm to arrange a pick-up. They were initially somewhat uncertain, not appearing to have a record of it, but all seemed well and we arranged a meeting at 2.45 at Newquay railway station.

In Newquay I got some provisions for tomorrow while I had time, and got to the station at about 2.35, and was then phoned by the taxi company to say they’d be there about 2.55, eventually arriving at 3.05. Meanwhile I settled on a bench at the station and watched the arrival of an InterCity train, with 8 or 10 police officers plus First Great Western staff.

The taxi ride was an easy drive to Perranporth, where I was dropped at Chy An Kerensa guesthouse. I got a civil greeting and was quickly shown to my room, but left feeling unwelcomed even if not unwelcome – inevitably bigger places risk being slightly less welcome, particularly when their core market is people staying for a week rather than two nights. My room had a decent sized bed (the first non-single bed, though it looked to be a very small double). I was at the back, and there was no view other than a car park at my level, and it was relatively noisy with washing machines in operation, the owners/staff talking and arguing below and people coming and going past my door.

I’m pleased to report that after two days I’ve had no problems with my ankles, and indeed had virtually forgotten them as a concern. I had some mild knee pain while descending steps (but not other descents), but my biggest problem was now a blister on the base of my left heel. Whether this was connected with me using the oldest of my five pairs of walking socks today, I don’t know. I put one of the wonderful Compeed blister plasters on, which seemed to make no difference to me walking about the room, but when I also put on my shoes, I found there was no pain at all, the pain returning later in the evening when I took my shoes off – rather odd, but hopeful for tomorrow.

I went out to explore the town, which wasn’t very exciting in the continuing drizzle, but found a pleasant cafe where I had a toasted panini and some ice-cream.

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