In which: there are 1600 metres of up and down ● the day starts windy ● Crackington Haven is refreshing ● grazing goats grace the path ● seals are spied from afar ● Boscastle harbour provides a welcome haven
Date: 24 August 2013 Time of walk: 0855 to 1835 Today’s walking: 27.5 km Progress along SWCP: 27.4 km Estimated ascent: 1600 metres
I had a solid 9½ hours of sleep and went out at about 7.15 and got some provisions for the day from the Co-op I found last night. Although there was a little bit of sunshine the day began mostly cloudy and quite windy, but I decided to stick with the walking shoes and shorts strategy. My feet were in tip-top condition with not a hint of needing a blister plaster. My right knee had given a few twinges on descents yesterday afternoon but seemed to be behaving itself on my early morning outing, so I kept my fingers crossed that it didn’t develop into anything more significant.
Breakfast was full service, relatively unusual in my experience – most places have at least a buffet for juice and cereals, but my glass of orange was brought by the waitress on its own saucer. I can’t say it made me think any more highly of the Hartland Hotel – some quality orange juice or better sausage or bacon or a break from the insipid sliced bread or jams that taste of more than just sugar would have been a better way to spend the money spent on extra staff – for me anyway, though perhaps not the staff in question.
It was to be a fairly easy start to the day, like yesterday, but becoming progressively more rugged, and a day that was both longer that yesterday and with a good deal more ascent to do too. It was a windy start to the day as I walked down the hill and across the island formed by the River Neeth, Bude Canal and the sea.
Around this point after about 4½ kilometres, I stopped for my first drink stop of the day, and changed from my short-sleeved tee-shirt into a long-sleeved top. I suspect the temperature was similar to yesterday but with a lot more wind it felt cooler. With the initial part of the day being a good deal easier than what was to come, I wasn’t building up much internal heat either, though no doubt that would change later. My knee hadn’t caused me any trouble after yesterday afternoon’s minor grumbles, though my shoulders were feeling slightly pinched by the straps of the rucksack – the chest strap is fractionally too short and I ought to have a look at a way of lengthening it before the bag is used again for extended periods. I do prefer it done up as the straps rest rather wide without it, but it isn’t quite right when done up.
In the distance for much of today’s walk was a large structure on the horizon, the hotel at Tintagel. It didn’t seem to get any closer, but in a sense that didn’t matter as I wasn’t going there today, that was for tomorrow. The odd thing was that the top line of the building looked always as though it was sloping down towards the sea – presumably it wasn’t and it was a curious optical illusion.
Although it doesn’t show up well in the photo above including Gull Rock, in the far distance I could also see yesterday afternoon’s radio dishes, and beyond them the lighthouse at Hartland Point, two days of walking ago. Ahead of me for much of the afternoon I could see the huge structure of the hotel at Tintagel, a feature for tomorrow morning.
I got myself checked in and rested for a while, used the shower to change the colour of my lower legs from a deep brown to their usual pale colour. Often finding suitable evening food can be a little challenging, as the catering trade seems determined to offer big expensive meals in the evening rather than the lighter fare on offer at lunchtime, but Boscastle had a good variety to suit all desires, and I found a decent café-pizzeria where I had an enjoyable meal, got a few provisions from the local shop, and went to bed.