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Pauls blog - 2006

THE WALK  .  .  .  .  continued

One year later, and a final figure of just three walking the full course on the agenda, Paul Searle, Chris Biddlecombe and Steve “Geordie” Anderson, with Bill Barnes driving the support vehicle again. Ray Hall is hoping to join the group on Wednesday, work permitting, with Dicky Graham joining us on Thursday. Our overnight stay on Wednesday is at the famous Blue Anchor Inn in Helston, where we are expecting to meet up with Pasty's dad Dick Angove, who is promising us a Cornish night to remember, or not remember if the reputation of SPINGO ALE is true!

DAY 15  -  Friday 9th June 2006

Totton to Fowey

Walking: No one.
Trevanion Guest House (01726 832602)

Well here we are back on the road to the path. In the end there are three of us walking and the faithful Bill in the back up vehicle. It has been widely rumoured that there are no women on this trip however Bill has brought Mavis with him. She is his new sat nav system and as is true with women and directions they are bloody useless (except Judy of course).

For the walk this year Biddy will be known as Foggy (cause of the weather when he walks) and of course Geordie (cause of the way he walks) is Compo. I am me or Clegg and Bill, Nora Batty.

The sun was shining as we left Totton and in a few hours we were in Chideock sampling a few pints of Otter to wash down the bangers and mash. It was at this point that we wondered whether to carry on with the walk or go on the lash for 10 days, but you will be glad to know that the walk won.

The Trevanion (brilliant guest house with big rooms and little extras) was found easy-peasy in Fowey and after Nora had taken three quarters of an hour to park the town was ours. We watched the yachts playing about on the river and then had a fine fish meal in the King of Prussia overlooking the river. Ray, if you are reading this the sardines were wonderful and Chippy, the Tinners just followed each other down with ease.

Up the hill and into the Safe Harbour Inn for a night cap. Not too bad in bed by 12.00 am. One thing to be noted is that because Nora is driving his own motor, we seem to be driving a lot more sensibly — no scratches to date but the stupid prick has forgotten the walkie talkies!


DAY 16  -  Saturday 10th June 2006

Fowey to Gorran Haven

Walking: Paul, Chris, Geordie.
Lower Porthpean

Llawnroc Inn (01726 843461)

After a great breakfast we were off to Polkerris for the start. It seemed really weird going through the morning pre-walk ritual again — tea tree, double socks, sun cream, etc., etc. We were away by 9.30am with a photo shoot overlooking the bay and the Rashleigh Inn. The sun was blazing, so we had to put Foggy at the back otherwise the sun bouncing off of his head was too severe. We were soon in Par which is a typical Cornish village dominated by the china clay works. As we were walking through the caravan park along the back of the beach there was an elderly couple, the woman in an electric wheelchair and the bloke on a buggy, in front of us. They turned left, off road to the beach. It was like something from LOTSW (Last Of The Summer Wine), the bloke's buggy suddenly flipped up and he was eating sand! It was a three man effort to rebuild the buggy and get him back on the road, with the suggestion to be far more sensible, like me. We then walked right through the middle of the china clay works which is massive, so the boys' start on the path was not as picturesque as you may think. On the path again and walking along the Carlyon Bay Golf Course, a bit of a posh place. Carlyon Bay is being massively redeveloped and is one big building site at the moment. So far, the walk had been fairly built up and it was a welcome change to get out in the country beyond St. Austell. If you are down this way Charlestown is well worth a visit. There are some big cutters in a wet dock, surrounded by typical stone cottages, together with a great looking pub and cafe. Lunch however was at a beach bar in Lower Porthpean with everybody else (normal people) sun-bathing and playing in the sand, nice and relaxed and only three mad gits walking.

We were soon off and out onto the path proper. We were trying to spot basking sharks but in the end had to look for something else beginning with ba ... badger holes — the path is peppered with them. Thank god Barty isn't with us, we could have lost him. The path from Charlestown to Mevagissey was classed as strenuous and it lived up to this as there were some severe ups and downs. It was also bloody hot as we finally sweated out the last of the Tinners. The scenery was rolling hills and cliffs with loads of gulls and cormorants on the rocks. I spotted a kestrel that turned out to be a jackdaw and Compo saw a pony in the hedge, which turned out to be a cow! We arranged to meet Nora at Pentewan and as the stupid bitch had left the walkies back at base, you guessed it — we missed him! (Dunno how!!!! — I was in the only pub, right on the path, watching the England world cup match and having a well-earned pint. The car was in the car park right opposite. Foggy even saw the car, but dutifully followed behind Clegg without stopping. Ah well, another pint, watch to the end of the first half of the game and I'll catch up with them later!  — Nora.) We carried on to Mevagissey and finally met up, a welcome snack in The Thin End cafe where the boys had their first cream tea. It was really weird in Mevagissey as the first England World Cup match was on and the place was empty. 

The path between Mevagissey and Gorran Haven was easy and we had a good relaxed walk apart from the path being littered with an Astra that had shot off the road last night and rolled to an unrecoverable position and later a Transit that has followed the same fate a few months earlier. We were soon in Gorran and walked down the hill to the beach, where Compo told us the pub was on the front, only to find out it was back up the top of the hill where we had come from. Mind you,  in his defence, the sea mist had rolled in.

I am writing this on Saturday night in the bar of the Llawnroc Inn, where the special of the day is fresh road-killed badger and Doom Bar is on special at £1.50 a pint. All in all a great first day, with 33,727 steps under our belt, no blisters and a great pub at the end. Got to go and have a bath now 'cos the bloke sat behind us keeps farting and it's putting me off my typing!

DAY 17  -  Sunday 11th June 2006

Gorran Haven to Portscatho

Walking: Paul, Chris, Geordie.
Porthluan Cove

Glenlorcan B&B (01872 580343)

Last night was good. We sampled the Doom until late into the night and with Nora having her own room, Compo and I were gate-crashed by Foggy. Compo chatted up a couple of girls but although entirely successful, he decided that Foggy and I were better company. (Nice meal in the evening, with a very upper middle-class couple on the table next to ours. They were extremely well-spoken and she looked like a well-preserved Karen Carpenter. She sent her chips back because they were cold, then leaned across towards us and confided loudly, “I can't eat undercooked potatoes, they make me fart like a trooper!”) Couple of things I forgot from yesterday. After we left Mevagissey we came across a place called Chapel Point. There are a few houses out on the point and a road and cattle grid leading to them. As we approached a bloke and three others drove out of the place in a RIB. We couldn't believe our eyes. He drove down the track we were on, turned left, left again and reversed down a jetty backwards into the sea. He then raised the wheels up by hydraulics, put the engine in the water and sped off. The thing was called Sea Legs and we have the photos to prove it. Forget the other thing it was boring on second thoughts.

We awoke with a chorus reminiscent from Blazing Saddles with all three participants involved, a lovely way to start the day. Breakfast was good and as we packed up to leave, the phone went mad with text messages and I remembered it was my birthday. A year ago today we were all on the lash — doesn't time fly. We were back on the path by 9.30am. The sun was belting down and we set off uphill, as seems to be the norm. The coast line was great with rolling hills and occasional cliffs diving into the sea. We had over 16 miles of strenuous today so we new it would be tough, which was confirmed by the ped registering 37423 steps by the time we had finished, which I think is the most we have ever done. First stop was at Porthluany Cove with a great beach, good cafe and a backdrop of Caerhays Castle behind. Bit of snap and away to the next stop at Portloe. This whole village seemed a bit upmarket. I mean, who wears pearls to the pub at lunchtime! The shirt and ties outnumbered the tee shirts. We all came to the conclusion that you either had to sell kitchens or be cooking the books at work to live here.

Again another quick stop and off again to mount The Jacka, aptly named I can assure you. We still had 7½ miles of strenuous to do and it was 2.40pm. We met about 13 walkers coming the other way, all stopping in Portloe tonight, we obviously should have stopped there. Next stop West Portholland for an ice cream. Another quick one as it was 4.30pm and still 3½ miles to go. The weather came in and we sampled our first rain, so wet weather gear on for the last few miles before arriving here at 6.00pm.

The pubs were not open so Nora came to the rescue and bought a year's membership of the Harbour Club for £3 before we arrived (very nice). The Betty Stoggs tasted sweet. Off to the pub now for a bite to eat and looking forwards to the ferries tomorrow.


DAY 18  -  Monday 12th June 2006

Portscatho to Helforth

Walking: Paul, Chris, Geordie.
Gyllyngvase Beach

Landrivick Farm (01326 231686)

What a fantastic day! — rivers, weather, scenery, it was all absolutely marvellous. As you may have noticed there are only three of us instead of four. I have not mentioned the fact that Smiler (to follow our LOTSW theme and because we are having a great time and he is still at work) is not here. Because we have not stayed in any accommodation he had booked until tonight is the fact he hasn't got a mention. However, he is in the clear as we were welcomed onto the front lawn of our 18th century farmhouse with tea and Cornish heavy cake. The perfect end to a perfect day.

Firstly the bit I missed from yesterday. The pheasant is back. We eluded him all the first day. However on Sunday we caught him out in the open with his missus and later on in the day he tried to trip us up on the path. He even tracked us in the rain yesterday and all day today, although never came out in the open.

Last night's accommodation turned out to be fine and the Royal Standard in Gerrans, which did not look that good from the outside, turned out to be bonsa with the tagiatelli being more fish than pasta. Plenty of Doom was on hand to wash it down with. By the time we had left, the rain had even stopped.

Still on to today. It was all about timing, with three ferries to catch, firstly from Place House to St. Mawes. We left at 9.00am and had 2¼ hours to cover 6.2 miles. The path was good and the scenery rolling green hills all the way down to the rocky foreshore, which we were walking along. The path was good being mainly grassy and wide. We covered good ground stopping for ample photo opportunities and made the ferry right on time, which was just leaving as we arrived. Across to St. Mawes and a quick coffee before catching the ferry to Falmouth. We then had to walk down the High Street, which was a bit weird with all the people about and a quick 3 miles to meet up with Nora, who was waiting for us on the beach. Quick snack at the beach cafe and onto Helford where we had to make the ferry by 5.00pm. We creamed it and as we arrived Pasty, Dick and Gloria were there waiting, so into The Ferryboat Inn for a couple of pints of Tinners before crossing over to meet Nora.

Funny thing today was we have been following a bloke on the path and met up with him on the first ferry. John turns out to be from Bartley. Met up with him again on the last ferry, then he turns up at our farmhouse. As he has no transport, we are now taking him to The Fox for a meal. Small world.

Weather forecast is good, Compo's feet and knees are hurting, must be something to do with coming from the north, golfers' tans are getting better each day and lucky Barty never came, as we could of lost him down more badger holes and would have had to send a potholing crew to retrieve him. Off now to The Fox.

32435 steps today.


DAY 19  -  Tuesday 13th June 2006

Helforth to Ruan Minor

Walking: Paul, Chris, Geordie.

Cadgwith Cove Inn (01326 290513)

The Fox is actually called The New Inn. Great thatched pub with Doom on sale and a good menu. John joined us but kept looking at his watch after 9.00pm and his 3rd pint but we kept going to 11.00pm as it would be rude not too. Breakfast was served on the garden table (a huge lump of stone) in the front garden of this remote farmhouse and Linda served us up a marvellous breakfast with farm fresh eggs cooked on the Aga.

Bad news was it was clouding over and rain was forecast so by the time Nora had taken us back to Helford Crossing it was pouring. Luckily the first part of the walk was under trees along the Helford Estuary so we remained quite dry and by the time we emerged the sun was breaking through and it was drying up. The only trouble was the nice men from Cornwall Council with the strimmers had not been to this bit, so our feet were wet all day. At low tide you can wade the river at Flushing. As the tide was going out and this 80 year old bloke with two sheepdogs said he would be interested to see what happened and where to go, we waited for a time to survey the situation.

John was up for it. He walked with us today, so we pretended he was Smiler. So off with the socks and shoes and in we went. Foggy and Smiler went first with me and Compo following up. Over to an island in the middle and all was well. I led the way on the second crossing but oops! — too deep. Foggy was then off again but although it came well up to his knees he was through. Me next, I stubbed my toes and ripped part of my nail off, but OK. The last two of similar height were up to their shorts, with Smiler holding his balls up all the way across as he did not want them to get wet. Two ladies came the other way to cross, so I told them we had crossed where the deep bit was but Compo, the love god, corrected so no fun.

On our way again. The scenery has been much the same since we started and carried on so. We were soon in Porthallow for lunch in The Five Pilchards (the Four Pilchards now as Nora had one for lunch). Great pub but really difficult to get to by car. Nora first ended up in Porthleven, 20 miles away, so that was another tank of petrol gone.

The pub was good and the seafood chowder excellent with real good hosts and locals, well worth a visit. Back on the path and we veered away from the sea inland for a bit, back to the coast and through a huge stone quarry. We then found ourselves walking on lowlands with huge rocks and pebbles to step over, on, or any way you could. This went on for some miles until Coverack for afternoon tea. Smiler left us here, it was 3.30pm with only 10 miles done and 6½ to go, so off we went with the obligatory hill start (Judy's favourite). Nora went past with the windows down and John Denver blaring out, which made everybody look and us giggle. The path was rocky and hilly and difficult walking, so progress was slow and Compo's knee playing up coming downhill. However, the scenery changed to dramatic cliffs and rocks with rolling hills behind — brilliant. We got to Kernack Sands just after 6.00pm. a bit knackered but off with the socks and shoes to walk through the surf to get to Nora for a well earned ice cream.

We are in The Cadgwith Cove Inn now for grub and a folk night. The boys are downstairs so I am off. Not much mention of wildlife as there isn't any apart from when it rains. Loads of snails come out and they are all designer ones. You can get Ikea ones, Habitat ones and even albino ones, but there are still a few BHS ones that the birds haven't had so don't worry. 34763 steps today so not too bad, but on average they seem a lot higher than last year, same pedometer though.


DAY 20  -  Wednesday 14th June 2006

Ruan Minor to Chyanvounder

Walking: Paul, Chris, Geordie.
Arriving tonight:
Lunch: The Lizard

Blue Anchor (01326 569334) 

Firstly an apology, spoke to Judy for the first time for a couple of days, no signals down here, and she told me I had not been putting the steps on, so I have updated the last couple of days. Last night in The Cadgwith Cove Inn the food was good, Nora was made up as she had lobster and the Betty Stoggs flowed well after midnight. The folk night was interesting but I will let Nora fill you in with the details.

(The guy on the table next to ours was a boxer/wrestler with arms like tree trunks and fingers like Wall's Plump Pork Sausages! He told us he was there to play Irish Folk Songs on the accordion — he turned out to surprisingly good, too.). The main band were akin to Steel-eye Span and the lead songstress was flat-chested to boot! She and the guitarist were flirtling with each other throughout their act with whispered innuendoes and knowing looks — so they definitely weren't married!. At the start of each song, the “guest” musician would try to find the key and play a few chords (badly) put down his guitar, try again on his banjo, then give up and just watch, glaring at the two of them. He didn't have a clue how to play the guitar, so we assumed he was the singer's husband and was there to keep a Steel Eye on what she was getting up to! The Betty Stoggs was superb but we had to drag ourselves away around 12.30am — we had a hard day ahead tomorrow — especially me, the car park was over half a mile away!)

Today was long as well, 37,854 but probably one of the best so far for scenery and wildlife, after me saying we hadn't seen much on this bit of coast. We started back at Kernack Sands and as normal uphill to get on top of the granite cliffs. We had to walk back to Cadgwith Cove which was a bit bizarre but made good time and were there in 40 minutes. Next hit was The Lizard where we were meeting Nora for lunch.  On the way we were climbing over a Cornish stile cut from granite, and a young fox ran out from under it, 1st spot. We passed the Lizard lifeboat station which if you see the photos you will see how much fun it must be to launch, a  cable car runs down the cliff to the boat and then woosh! — down a slipway to the sea. The adrenaline must be flooding by the time you hit the H.0. We were soon round to Bass Point where the coastguard station is and the Lloyds radio building and then on round to The Lizard where we saw the choughs, 2nd spot. The wild flowers were amazing and we were chatting to the bloke who ran the cafe who informed us that the seeds were blown on the trade winds from South Africa and it was the only place in the UK that they existed.

The views were great with the granite cliffs tumbling into the sea. Thankfully, a bit of cloud cover had come over as it had been sweltering up till now. After a pilchard sandwich and a cuppa we were off and to Kynance Cove. Here we saw more choughs but in flight, where they tumbled for us and a young wheatear with its mum. Just past this was spot of the day. We came up out of Kynance and as we rounded the cliff top there were two couples looking down, I wandered over as I thought there be more choughs but all they were doing was looking at Kynance. I looked down and there were five grey seals on a rock with a sixth in the sea. We watched the last trying to land, which took 30 minutes as he kept getting washed off. In the end we had to move on.

The scenery continued, Compo took the lead for the first time ever and kept us entertained by being the first faller. A badger I had trained earlier jumped out of his set and tripped him up — better than me yesterday who grabbed an electric fence. Al fresco peeing is the norm now — as walkers we ignore toilets, but we have got to take more care as the lady at Pigeon Ogo, a really sheer cliff hole, took umbrage and wouldn't even say “afternoon!”. We arranged to meet Nora with Pasty, Dick (Pasty's dad), Gloria (Pasty's mum) and Bracken (Pasty's dog) at Mullion Cove, which was a long haul. We were all out of water by half way through as it was so hot We are averaging 8 litres of water a day. We eventually met up at Poldu Cove after meeting Pasty and Bracken at Polurrian Cove a bit knackered and weary. These little coves round here are fantastic. A quick cuppa and up over the hill for the last couple of miles to Chyanvounder.

 A great but tiring day. Ray has arrived, so off to Gloria's for homemade pasties and Cornish heavy cake and then back to The Blue Anchor for Spingo, which comes in light, medium, heavy and super (which is 6.7%). We stuck to medium at 5%, yes I know milky mums. Off to brekkie now so got to sign off.   

DAY 21  -  Thursday 15th June 2006

Chyanvounder to Marazion

Arriving tonight: Dicky.
Walking: Paul, Chris, Geordie, Ray.

Lunch: Praa Sands
Lugger Inn Hotel (01736 363236

Day 21 overall but Day 6 for this section and over 18 miles ahead of us. We rejoined the path at Chyanvounder where they take the fine shingle off the beach and either bag it or make extremely hard concrete blocks with it. Our first section was along Porthleven Sands a three mile long beach of sand where in the middle, at Loe Bar, it separates a huge surface water lake and the sea, the second largest in the country next to Chesil Beach. Ray had joined us and was off like a long dog and we had to remind him that he was moaning last year about people joining the walk and going off too fast.

We were soon in Porthleven a village I came to on holiday over forty years ago, so that bought back some memories. Porthleven has quite a big harbour, the inner one of which is gated, so it can be kept filled if necessary. No hanging around and off to Praa. The coast line along this stretch is still littered with some fantastic coves, separated by cliffs and outcrops of rock going out into the sea. Gulls have formed nests into every available pocket. We had a snack on Trewavas Head where there was a welcome breeze because it was sweltering today the hottest so far.

Praa came into sight and Ray decided to lead Geordie astray and go high where as Biddy and I decided to follow the path. We soon met up and had lunch in the cafe on the front which started well with a gust of wind snapping the parasol pole in half and then blowing it off down the prom.

We all had to ask for extra salt for Ray, as Nikki wasn't around he could pour it on all over. We tried to restrain him but to no avail. We were about half way with 9 miles to go. Prussia Cove was next which has two amazing houses on it. A terrific view from Cudden Point looking right back across to The Lizard where we were yesterday. On the way round to Perranuthoe I spotted a couple of grey seals but we only got glimpses of their heads before they swam off. The tea and home made cake in  Perranuthoe was great and only a couple of miles to go. We gave a hand to a slow worm crossing the sandy path on the way and then Ray spotted a robin which he was made up with. At Marazion we phoned Nora who had gone off to find Dicky who is joining us for the last couple of days. To cut along story short there was a logistical cock up and Dicky was in the pub watching the football and Bill was waiting for him 40 metres away in a car park, counting the number of blocks on the fish and chip shop wall.

That meant me and the boys had to walk round to Penzance, another 3½ miles of fairly boring walking beside the railway line. Still, at least we don't have to do it this morning. We made a pact that we would grab a pint at the first pub we came to. What a shame, it sold Tinners and as a bonus we even managed to catch the last half of a game called `football'.

Roast dinner in The Lugger Inn Hotel, a couple more pints and a fairly early night for this holiday. Another great day with beautiful scenery although long, with 38,291 steps under our belt. I think we all have blisters now but hopefully a shorter day and Lands End to come. I am typing this in a bay window at 7.00am on Friday with the sun streaming in so another hot one by the look of it. The view across the bay is great though.

If any of you think the path is beyond you, it is not! Today we had a chat with a gent who is over 80 and walks with a stick and another we passed who had a false leg, mind you he was going faster than Compo.


DAY 22  -  Friday 16th June 2006

Marazion to Sennen

Walking: Paul, Chris, Geordie, Ray, Dicky.
Lamorna Cove
Old Success Inn (01726 843461)

We are now up to six of us (five walkers and Nora) and as the hotel is right on the path it was straight out and on the way. The sun was hot at 9.00am and the vultures had already started circling to pick up the first faller (the little short bloke at the back looked favourite). We had to walk on roads all the way to Mousehole (Cornish for Bartyville) however the scenery was slowly starting to improve and the harbour there is very picturesque. Just before you get into Mousehole is the Penlee Lifeboat Station which is kept exactly as it was 25 years ago when disaster struck and the crew of eight were all killed on Christmas Eve. The Ship Inn looks well worth a stay. We reckon by this stage the temperature is up in the high 80's and we are all wet through. The scenery from Mousehole round to Lamorna Cove, another fantastic little place, was as good as it gets and not to be missed. There are so many great places I cannot name them all. The crab sarnies, although expensive, were great at Lamorna and all the while you had to take in the fantastic scenery while you were eating them.

We decided to call a board meeting and it was decided to ditch the last section and walk back to Pothcurno tomorrow from Sennen, tonight's stop. Just as well because what was to come was what we had all been waiting for, basking sharks! The scenery was up with the best, the path really coming into its own. We  were looking across one bay (Pothguarnon) into another (Le Scathe Cove) and Dicky had the spot. To get to Le Scathe Cove it was down and back up 300ft but we did it at pace (Ray really enjoyed that bit). What a brilliant sight, there was one 16 - 18 feet and another 18 - 20 feet swimming with their dorsal fins and tails showing and the water crystal clear. We watched them for 30 minutes before they swam off, a magical sight for the penultimate day, even had to ring Judy to share it.

We had to leave and the rocky paths, sometimes clambering as we had been all day, continued. If you are ever down this way visit Penberth Cove. It is tiny, it is sparse and they haul their boats up the stone jetty with a motorised winch now, but the old capstan is still there to see. It was not far to Pothcurno and a welcome few pints of Doom in the pub. We are stopping at Senna Cove another must and am writing this looking out over the half mile long sandy bay, with green rolling hills beyond and Skinners being sold not 20 metres away.

Probably one of the best and most memorable days so far, just had a paddle in the sea to relax the feet. Dicky is too though relaxed and tripped over a rock the size of a single bed on the way out, but we have to take the piss out of someone. They are still calling me Billy (as in goat) or making reference to my built in blinkers but who cares. Compo thought he was going to lose weight and is fatter, Foggy and Ray are having blister competitions but life is at its best. Rays' feet are too bad to walk tomorrow and he is worried he will not to be able to dance at the Cornish engagement party he is going to Saturday night.

For the first time we are walking back the other way along the path to Lands End with Pasty and Co. We will do the bit to Pendeen Watch another day. We still did 27,167 steps today, which in this heat is enough.

Last but not least, thanks to Smiler — another great pub, overlooking the bay at Sennen and the hills beyond, which will be great for the start of the walk next time!

DAY 23  -  Saturday 17th June 2006

Sennen to Bradworthy

Walking: Paul, Geordie, Chris, Dicky, Pasty and Bracken.
Bradworthy Inn (01409 241222)

Today, we were walking back along the path anti-clockwise as we shortened yesterday's jaunt due to the hot weather. It is up in the 90's. Still, we were in no rush which meant we could watch the sharks and it was really good to stop at 3.30pm and neck a few beers early. The fish down here is great and we nearly all sampled the various local catches last night.

We drank until closing last night and it was still baking when we went to bed. Woke up with the sound of the sea breaking onto the beach, so straight for a pee. Breakfast was good with smoked mackerel on the menu. Pasty and Bracken were joining us today and duly arrived at 9.30am. It seemed to take the boys a bit of time to get going but with only 6½ miles to go, so no rush. Nora was taking Ray back to his car, which was parked at Dick and Gloria's in Penryn, so a three hour drive for him and a sea mist rolling across Lands End for us.

We got going by 10am and as the pub is right on the path we were at Land End in 15 - 20 minutes, after walking past the shipwrecked trawler where the driver fell asleep — oops! Approaching Lands End was great as the lighthouse kept appearing in parts out of the mist and the patchy mist was rolling in from the sea over the cliffs. It is a bit commercialised there now and you have to pay to have your photo taken under the sign post. We strolled on to a show farm at the far end of the area where it promised teas, but they seemed to be struggling a bit and only the engraver was open.

The heat was building, Bracken was off the lead and the scenery absolutely cracking. You walk along the top of the cliffs here with the sea crashing onto the rocks if there is any wind. Today the heat is bouncing back off the rocky path up into our faces, still who cares with this scenery. There is the occasional big up and down to a cove, Mill Bay being the best and the coast is also littered with caves at sea level. The boys led off from Mill Bay and immediately missed the turning right on the path which I spotted with Foggy, so they had to retrace their steps which pleased Compo as he loves downhill. Just before the Coastguard Station at Gwennap Head we spotted some seals feeding off some very small islands, just out from shore and had a half hour snack break watching them, absolutely fantastic. We rounded the headland and dropped down into Porthgwarra a great little village with a beach which you can access by a cave on one side.

Here we found our obligatory Manchurian running the tea and everything else shop from her garage. The best thing was that all the cake was homemade and the tea was served in mugs, so a welcome break. From here it was a short hop over to Porthcurno, past Porth Chapel beach which you can only get to by walking and past The Minack Theatre which is a famous open air theatre carved from the granite by a lady and her gardener and is now reaching national acclaim. We met Gloria and Dick coming the other way in search of us (Pasty quickly put Bracken back on the lead) and back into the pub for a couple of pints and a bite.

It was baking and even Dick couldn't remember the weather being like this without a breath of wind, being surrounded by three coasts, and he has lived here for 187 years. We bade goodbye and took the shoes off for the last time. Up to Pendeen to pick up Dicky's car and off to Bradworthy for one of Patsy's steaks and a few pints of Doom. After we left Pedeen Nora let me drive, she hadn't managed a scratch and got out on the main road before she let me take over though and I just couldn't do it. In a couple of hours we were enjoying the beer, bath and steak. We gave it max and went to bed in the early hours. A good last night. Had to be up in the morning as Nora was off to France on Sunday night for a week's golfing, mad twat.

6738 steps today, a nice little jaunty to finish off with and definitely the right choice.


DAY 24  -  Sunday 18th June 2006

Bradworthy to Totton

Walking: No one.

Breakfast was a bit quiet, mainly due to the beer I think and it is back to reality tomorrow. We were boding farewell by 9am and on our way. Traffic was light and we made good time and were home by 1.00pm, all refusing Nora's offer of a last beer.

Again without Bill the trip would have been impossible. Thanks go to him from The Three Musketeers. I imagine John feels the same, as he would have been very hungry on Tuesday night if it wasn't for Nora's wheels. We threw the pheasants off the trail by Wednesday and can only assume they are more sensible than we can give them credit for and packed up tracking us due to the heat. The heat got to us all this time, OK we seem to cover more steps each day than last year on average per day beating last years biggest day by 200 steps and I must say it felt like it at times due to the heat. We tried to get at least 8 litres of water down a day and we probably should have upped this as watching the cross Atlantic rowing challenge recently with James Cracknel and Ben Fogle they had to down 32 litres a day. Still, at least the beer hit the spot quicker. Some great B & B's and food again, with the Llawnroc Inn topping the bill this year. Geordie is still suffering with his elbow two months on, although his knee is getting better and reckoned he couldn't have managed another day but he did every step! Biddy got better as time went on and is already asking when we are doing the next bit. Ray is now joining the Nikki bracket and has bought a crib set and is surfing the web for a local whist drive. Dicky loved it, mainly 'cos he spotted the basking sharks and now thinks he is king of the spotters and we cannot do without him and is looking to do more days next time. And me? Well, suppose it would be rude not to, just loved it! Funny, the coast in Cornwall appears more built up in general than in Devon and you can always see a cottage or some civilisation, but the little coves are beautiful.

Next time we start on the north coast, cannot wait.  We are 360 miles into the 630 mile South West Coast Path the country's longest National Trail, so we are now over half way. Who will make the next trip remains to be seen, let me know if you are up for it!