20 May – When does a walk become a hike?

We had an excellent breakfast this morning. Fruit, cereal and yoghurt! A welcome change from the traditional English bacon and eggs. Our host came in early so we could get on the road before nine. We were grateful because we really enjoy the morning time walking.

Walking? Hmm….. According to various web sites I’ve just looked at in seeking an answer to this question, we have been hiking, not walking, the coastal path.

However today the route upped the ante considerably. We “Uber Hiked” if there is such a thing.

The trail was very overgrown for long stretches. Stinging nettles abounded. We had bare legs so it wasn’t pleasant. Bits of grass fell into our boots, and brambles provided exfoliation. Other areas were mud pits. Some spots were very steep and scrambling was necessary up and over and through rocky headlands. At one point we balanced and hopped across a bouldery shore.

My pack seemed to weigh more than normal too. That was party true because of the weight of the Cornish pastie I was carrying for lunch and the extra half litre of water as the weather has been warm. I envied Marianne her lighter day pack! We are however all becoming quite tired. This trail has been beautiful but in places challenging.

Today our distance wasn’t really far but by the time we arrived in Mousehole we’d had enough. We noted that the last five kilometres into Penzance would be on tarmac along a road, easier walking but why would we want to trudge along the coast alongside a road? We checked a local bus schedule. A bus would be along in a few minutes. It came and on we hopped. The driver kindly dropped us on the corner of the road to our hostel and right outside a pub. The other passengers waved us a kind good bye as they drove away.

I forgot to mention that now that we’ve passed Lands End we are on the south coast of Cornwall and the vegetation has changed. We walked through a forest today. The first one we’ve seen since leaving Bude. It wasn’t very big. We were through within a few minutes but it was a pleasant change of scenery. The hedges surrounding the path were really high so at times it was like walking in a roofless tunnel. The lack of view made these parts a bit boring. Because of the nearly invisible trail we needed to watch every step anyway so perhaps that was just as well.

A delightful interlude today came in the tiny cove of Penberth. We’d hiked down to the hamlet and there was a small fish boat being hauled up onto the shore. The winch man and the fisherman were a friendly pair who happily answered our questions and explained the modern and ancient workings of the winches used to haul the boats (called Coves) up out of the sea. It was a highlight of our day.

Tomorrow is a short day to Saint Michael’s Mount. Then we had two more days to Lizard Point before a day of travel to Avebury. We planned to leave from there the next day to begin the Ridgeway. This all seems a bit rushed and after today, we feel we’ve seen enough of this coast, so plan B is taking shape. We aren’t going to Lizard Point. Instead, we will travel to Avebury a day early and have a full day there before commencing phase three of this walking (hiking) extravaganza.

We’re currently relaxing in the pub where the bus dropped us. We’ll have dinner before walking the last kilometre to our hostel. Normally we’d have gone to our accommodation, showered and ditched the hiking boots before eating, but none of us feels like adding another two kilometres to this day.

So good night from “The Pirate.”

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