10 May – A blissful day

The sun shone all day today. A sea breeze kept the walking temperature perfect. There were no gruelling ups or downs. The trail undulated along the cliffs, sometimes near the edge, other times through stretches of wind stunted gorse, through gates and over styles. Crashing foamy white waves rimmed a blue ocean. There were tall black sided, green capped cliffs. Wild flowers nodded prolifically among gently swaying grasses. Seagulls soared in the thermal updrafts. A small hawk hung motionless over a crevasse, seeking a mouse no doubt. Lambs frolicked around their mums.

We stopped in at a Coast Watch building to chat with the two volunteers there. Their job is to keep an eye out for trouble on the water, to record the passage of hikers and make weather reports. By the time we climbed up the slope to their door, our descriptions were in the log.

For me, today’s walk was 16 pleasant kilometres. Pat and Marianne decided to take the bus for the last half. Pat spent most of the winter recovering from a lower leg stress fracture. This meant she couldn’t train for the endurance aspect of walk as much as she’d wished. The only way to manage the grind of walking every day is to have developed the stamina through a prolonged training period. As a result, fatigue caught up with her today. She’s not injured but wants to keep it that way. We are going to factor in a couple of shorter days and a rest day to accommodate all our weary bodies.

This afternoon I saw an odd dark triangular shape in the deep water off a small bay. I puzzled over what it could be. Swimmer – no. Dog – no. Buoy – no. Shark fin? Really? As I went to take a picture, it sunk out of sight. A few minutes later some people who had been watching the same thing told me it was a basking shark.

Although I happily walked the whole way – due to the lovely weather – the last part of my walk was along a wide soft sand beach. It was hard work and by the time I climbed up to the firm path again I was really glad to shortly see our hostel around the corner. Having sat for a while, I feel my legs stiffening up…. it will soon be time for me to take a break too!

During that beach walk I stopped to talk to the life guards on duty. We have seen them at every beach. It’s a surfer’s paradise in this area, but many come without the knowledge of where the rips are and how dangerous some of the surf conditions can be. On a busy day in the summer, it is not unusual for there to be ten rescues in one day. Today there was only one boogie boarder out getting tossed around and they were keeping a close eye on him. “This beach is never safe, anywhere at anytime,” they told me.

A few minutes later, I staggered into our hostel to find Pat and Marianne enjoyer beers in the garden – and very quickly joined them in that pursuit. They had found an excellent local bus service that pops in and out of all the small hamlets, villages and towns along the coast. Good to know! I think we shall use it tomorrow as there is some paved road to avoid.

This hostel is terrific – YHA Treyarnon. It is right on the path, right on the beach, has a bar and serves food. We have a large room to ourselves and an ensuite bathroom! On that note…. we’re off to the bar.

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