16 May – Ancient circles, port and pretzels

Not the quietest night last night with young revellers out last 2am making their own kind of noisy merry on the street below our window. Marianne did not have that problem as her small room had no window at all.

We’d bought groceries for breakfast yesterday evening as cafes in St Ives don’t seem to open until practically half way through the morning. Compared to the full English breakfasts we’ve become used to, our purchases offered pathetically slim pickings. We’d each bought a package of sliced mango but unfortunately the mangos were so unripe they were mostly inedible. The individual dishes of yogurt didn’t really fill the need for fuel either.

The sky was really low and grey today. Broody with a strong damp cool onshore wind. The water was also a forbidding grey and the waves beat angrily against the shore. We passed no golden surf beaches. Instead the bays were of the same dark rock as the surrounding cliffs.

We made good time for the first kilometre or so as we left St Ives. Then came a portion of the trail described as the “toughest section of the whole walk.” Do you recall me quoting this same guide book about other similarly described sections? We were told to beware of the boggy muddy bits and the great difficulty to be encountered through bouldery bits. There were very muddy bits, but nothing as muddy as previously encountered. There were boggy bits but nice board walk has been built across the worst of those. There were a couple of clambering bouldery bits that needed to be scrabbled through. These stretches were not long and the three of us had no trouble at all. It lent some interest to the walk. There were also quite a few steep ups and downs but they were all short and didn’t seem as difficult as those we confronted out of Bude and Crackington Haven.

We met a couple coming in the opposite direction. The woman was a distance behind the man and she was clearly clueless about how to navigate through the boulders. She gravely assured us we’d have a long way to go and implied it was dreadful. I asked her if she was finding the going difficult and she said she was. Pat and I were pretty sure she should not be trying this trail with her city shoes and uselessly flailing hiking poles. So we just told her that there was much more to come in the direction she was going as well and that she’d be good and tired when she finally reached St Ives. I hope they turned around or that she made it through safely.

My guide book indicates we would pass an ancient stone circle today. As we drew near the spot we kept an eye out and made a short foray off the path to investigate a couple of potential stones. Suddenly around the corner we came and there was the stone circle. Hmm. Pat’s guide book reads, “a recently constructed ancient circle.” What does that mean? There are numerous ancient sites around here but we are pretty sure this stone circle isn’t one of them. We went within and got no buzz. Pat is still with us in our time.

We passed by a Wiccan pool. No weirdness there either. We crossed a stone slab bridge but it was new so no trolls hid beneath. We did however go into a church were we saw a 600 year old mermaid’s chair. Mermaids and Christian churches don’t usually go hand in hand. The legend surrounding this chair is that a young choirboy was loved by a mermaid. She came ashore, they went off together and were never seen again. The chair was supposedly built in the boy’s memory. (Or something like that…)

When we arrived at today’s destination in Zennor, we had a late lunch in the Tinners Arms which has been a pub since 1271. Yes 1271. We are currently staying in a nice new B&B which is only 250 years old. Our host, Sue would drive us back to the pub if we wanted to go but we are happy sitting in our room sipping port – thank you Susan – and eating pretzels for dinner. The fish and chips from our late lunch is still “with” us so the idea of another big meal so soon isn’t resonating. There is something about being “in” and cozy.

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