STILL0ENGLAND/87 – 249 Days walking 3,155 miles around the perimeter of England. This trip, I walked seventy miles in Cornwall over six days from Harlyn Beach to St Ives, of which Stan did 13 miles in one day.

 

 

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I’ve walked all that………and experienced the blues.

 

 

Dear Rosie, Lauren, Stan, Jake, Rowan and Maisie,

I clearly remember fantastic Brisbane blue as one deep solid blue colour, maybe two , as the sky and the sea were obviously not the same; but I  never realised how many different colours blue there  were, until I visited Cornwall. And how clear and bright the light was.  It reflects from the sea and sand.  I covered up and used sunscreen, with my battered Brisbane sunhat, but still came away several shades darker.  You must go one summer and experience it for yourselves. There are still a few more trips left for me  to complete on the Cornish Peninsular, so pester your parents, more than usual and come along. When the sun is shining.  All budding artists must make it compulsory, Lauren! We can take you on the next trip. Hotels! Not camping.  Nanny is going, too.

 

NUMBERS.

Here’s some Arithmetic and Geography homework,for Halfterm .

 

As I was going to St Ives,

I met a man with seven wives,

Each wife had seven sacks,

Each sack had seven cats,

Each cat had seven kits.

Kits, cats,, sacks and wives,

How many were there going to St Ives?

 

Answers on a postcard please to

Mr Macavity, Cats Migration League, Feline Lane,  Padstow, Mewlyn

St Austel, St Just, St Agnes,  St Erth  or  anywhere but St Ives.     Clue……,

 

PROGRESS – Map courtesy of  Natural England, with my completed route overlaid in CrimsonScan_20170526.jpg

The Northern Crimson Worm has slithered to St Ives, within 24 miles of  Land’s End, whilst its Southern counterpart is still run aground around Charlestown and 111 miles adrift but well into Cornwall. If I  add in Berwick to Wallsend then the total left to complete the circumnavigation of England is probably 200 miles, with no getting lost.

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Slightly indistinct on the Cornish Peninsular, but at least the midlands blizzard has dissipated.

 

Six days walking on the South West Coast Path in Cornwall from  Harlyn near Padstow to St Ives has worn me out, just in time for half term holidays.  I covered 70 miles and the weather, which started very misty – almost rain – became warmer and eventually found me shedding my boots, trousers rolled up, walking in the surf to keep cool. I got a bit lost in my thoughts and the recollections come through intermittently which is reflected in my ramblings.  There’s too much going on in six days and seventy miles for it all to be recorded accurately. With that in mind read on….

The first two nights, we stayed at Old McDonald’s Farm near Porthcothan, which had a full range of animal and wheeled attractions,and clock golf, which Stan had all to himself. The rest of the time I spent at Trevella Campsite, again very quiet as it was out of season. I can imagine both sites heaving now that we approach half term holidays.  DSC_1412DSC_1482

Throughout this trip and all around Cornwall the buses and drivers have been superb. I used 47, 56, 87 and T1 Routes and referred constantly to the excellent Kernow Local Bus Guide.

 

 

 

The first day walking out on my own, starting from Harlyn Beach, I rounded Trevose Head and I reached Porthcothan Beach.

 

 

 

 

 

On day two, Donald and Stan had arrived and  kept me company for the stretch between Porthcothan and Newquay, walking thirteen miles in a day. Stan was rewarded with a hilarious double decker return  bus drive through the narrowest of Cornish lanes, with unlopped trees  crashing on the roof and sides, whilst unnerved motorists twisted, turned and reversed (a lost art) to keep out of the bus’s  way. One householder was too busy felling his own trees to notice the bus was delayed by his wheelbarrow and branches blocking the lane. Stan’s verdict; very brilliant bus journey; better than Alton Towers.DSC_1445.JPG

Stan driving to our tented home, from the top deck front seat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday was a day of walking rest, nearly. We visited Porthcothan Beach, and were fascinated to find many caves for Stan to explore and rocky crags for Donald to climb while leaving Stan’s name for posterity, on a rock half way up the outcrop. Then the promised swim; Stan and Donald managed to get fully wet but I had difficulty going in beyond my ankles , although Stan thought it good fun to splash me.

He’s a natural speiliologist – with me tagging on behind not able to get through some of the small crevices that didn’t bother Stan.

 

 

And then we changed from beach mode; Stan and Donald headed home and I continued to Trevella Camp site and pitched the tent in a very spacious but empty campsite. And no noisy Stan. Quite lonely.

So here are Donald’s contributions to the picture gallery;

And some more

And finally

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Next time out on the The Walk -Back to the ferry across the River Gannel

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Resuming walking after leaving the car in the care of National Trust at Crantock, I took the ferry across the River Gannel to Pentire  and Towan Head and back to the ferry which had now morphed into a bridge at very low tide.

Further down stream there appears to be a stand off whilst no one does anything positive about  making safe a historic breakwater where the River enters the sea. The tides and river flow combining to alter the river bed and create potential danger to swimmers and surfers alike. Will no one do anything until there is loss of life?  It seems no one can criticise for fear of retribution. In my brief stay, I could find no one of authority from RNLI,  nor Duchy of Cornwall, nor National Trust who might tell me what the solution might be, or even if there was a problem, which the locals claim there to be. I will undertake to get some responses and hope the lack of action is because nothing needs to be done.  None of my business? Why not?

I have been asked to use my status to kick start a discussion, while all that is happening the breakwater is getting more broken.  I haven’t had a rant for a while.

Watch this space.

 

 

 

Back to the matter in hand – or on foot, as it were..  heading South from Crantock I clocked up various prominent heads or points and inlets, walking 14 miles to St Agnes;

West Pentire Point; Porth Joke was funny; Kelsey  Head; Holywell Bay; Penhale And Liggar Point where old Tin Mines and MoD remains remained quite untidily; not out of focus, just the sea spray.

 

 

vast Perran Beach and Penhale Sands; Perranporth and its Airport inland from Cligga Head;

and finishing the day at Peterville well short of St Agnes Head -my target, but I was too tired.

 

 

 

 

Woke up early to the dreadful news from Manchester Arena about the suicide bomber , many youngsters involved. I remember passing St Agnes Head in mist  and similarly Porthtowan , which cleared by the end of the day at Portreath following a very subdued walk. With buses back to car and camp.

I lost track of time and distance and had to be persuaded that I had one full day left before departure. Something is going on, which I find difficult to explain. I don’t know where it’s going..but read on for more serendipity or whatever   it is?

 

 

 

The next day’s weather was altogether different; immediate sunshine which got hotter and brighter as the day progressed. This was when I resorted to surf walking, boots slung around my shoulders and trousers rolled up; but hesitant to go topless as I already looked  the nomadic traveller and my waist to neck isn’t a pretty sight. More a bomb site. This connected I was subdued by the deaths of 22 youngsters; whereas I had always previously felt very, very lucky surviving my own personal explosion. I keep a picture just to remind me. As if that were necessary. I just don’t use mirrors. Ok. So explain the next day!

More of the same – very hot weather; tiredness; lost track of time and distance – just a target to get to St Ives. Not feeling wonderful – not ill – far too fit for that – just low. After a while I realised I kept intercepting a family group and eventually got chatting and swapped stories with St Ives getting nearer.  Sophie, Kate and Phil were from Nottingham,  whose University Nanny, Andy and Caroline know well. Phil, Sophie and Kate were constant visitors to this area and could advise me how best to quit the town. Often the start and finish of a walk gets messy with no clear directions in and out of destinations, but armed with all their accurate advice – what could go wrong. I needed a rest. I accepted their offer to buy me a coffee  –  the caffeine would keep me going; perhaps they detected something. I couldn’t help noticing Phil’s  obvious upper body scarring resulting from a childhood scalding accident, but felt entitled to ask because I had similar from an industrial accident, but self consciously kept covered.  Time has healed and we both realise actually how lucky we are. The conversation drifted to more important matters around Wembley Stadium and construction; we did not know then that Chelsea were going to lose to Arsenal  in the FA Cup Final…DSC_1517

Anyway, one thing for sure I was not going anywhere further on my walk; stamina drained ; emotionally drained and full of caffeine. I was armed with directional advice. what could go wrong . Nothing. Until I found a railway station.  I saw a train about to leave, so I got on it. Well – you do don’t you. Sadly,  I couldn’t see the buffers at the front. so when it pulled out it went in the ‘wrong ‘ direction.  I asked where it was going. St Erth.  Which turned out to be only a bus ride away from Vera. Couldn’t plan it – could you?

Well serendipity – you still work. But why all the emotion?

I think the walk end is nigh and I’m going to  find something else real  to do. Like the list of 50 maintenance items at home, with supplementary list of 25 additional, less urgent matters.

On the way to Vera I found a real emporium – called The Emporium, in Hayle.

I selected two pictures, one of  Steam Locomotive  60163 ‘Tornado’ on the Dawlish sea wall. What is spooky about this? Well! Tornado was scrapped in the sixties, but a replica version has just been built by enthusiasts and is currently in fantastic demand. Also the stretch of coast track at Dawlish is famously that which was washed out just over two years ago and reinstated in record time. So I have a painting of an old express on old mainline, both of which were destroyed and have now been reincarnated.

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How about a Summer camped out on the Dawlish Coast awaiting the arrival of the Torbay Express hauled by 60163 Tornado? In 2017! Replicating the nineteen sixties journey in the painting. That would make a fine photo.

The other was Steam Packet Paddle Steamer advertising Atlantic Lines 1849, in wooden relief, with working clock representing the paddles.  I fear that it will go straight to the junk heap in the outbuilding. Shame – the clock still works.

Tonight Donald and I listened to a talk by Richard Parks at Hay on Wye Festival, who wrote “Beyond The Horizon”, – Extreme Adventures at the edge of the World. I told him about my Extreme walking the edge of England and he inscribed my copy “May you climb all your mountains in life… or the coastal paths!” I didn’t have the nerve to tell him about the blog.

 

 

 

STILL0ENGLAND/82 – 3,000 miles and 233 days walking THE PROPOSED ENGLAND COAST PATH. This stretch in North Cornwall on the S W Coast Path covers 31 miles from Foxhole Point Lookout over Widemouth Bay to Tregatta, South of Tintagel. Added Bonus – Mark plays Wembley……

My guide, in 82 Episodes so far, to our six Grandchidren about how to walk around England’s coast before the formal England Coast Path is completed in 2020 by Natural England. If you find it difficult reading content aimed at intellects of toddlers to nearly teenagers, apply below for the dumbed-down adult version.

My Walk started around November 2013, and will finish on Southend Pier four years later 11th November 2017.Celebrating with  Bread pudding and bubbles. See you there?  1-00pm prompt.  Deep end.

 

The map below, shows the race to the bottom of the Cornish Peninsular at Land’s End. When the Crimson Worms link up, I’ll be nearly finished walking round EnglandEpisode 82

Map by Courtesy of Natural England – my ramblings added in Crimson. If you trace the Crimson Worms back, they almost link up at Harwich, with a missing Northern branch from Newcastle to Berwick on Tweed. The next two outings should eliminate the gap between Plymouth and Looe on the Southern S W  Coast Path and extend the Northern S W Coast Path beyond Newquay.  Keep up!

Are you sitting comfortably?

Then I’ll begin.

 

 

 

Dear Rosie, Lauren, Stan, Jake, Rowan and Maisie

I am often asked how many pairs of boots I’ve worn out so far whilst completing nearly 3,200 miles walking round England. The truth is, I’ve lost count , but here is a view of the current foot  squad, not including the latest transfer I was acclimatizing  on the  Wembley terraces, last Saturday and Sunday at the F A Cup Semi-Finals.

These boots were made for walking, alongside Widemouth Bay where they finished last time out, worn out, resulting in new footwear investment  – to see me through to the end? What I really need is new legs and a bit more ooomphff!

The omens are not good; Spurs lost the Semi-Final and dropped out of the F A Cup; only an almost impossible  effort in the Premiership will give them a trophy this year. My walk is beginning to feel the same way. The spectacular views of The S W Coast Path are matched only by the Herculean effort need to complete the final few hundred  miles of roller coaster terrain. I’m still struggling, and not encouraged by reading that the whole 620 miles of the S W Coast Path contain the equivalent of  ascending and descending Mount Everest three times…..  let us say I’m at the low point right now. But no surrender – next time out I’m going to give the S W Coast Path a good kicking from here to Padstow and hopefully beyond.

But the gloom was entirely dispersed by your several times very removed cousin Mark who discovered an unattended grand piano in the Wembley Stadium foyer and treated  very surprised football fans to a spontaneous concert and all that sort of jazz. With an encore!

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Mark playing Wembley     —The highlight of my weekend – until…..

I heard Stanley and Rowan were discovering that long suffering, longstanding but very much younger than Mark, partner, Borough Commander Justina was actually in charge of painting real fire engines red.  I expect  they can’t wait to see her in full uniform. I think that probably goes for most of us too.  I feel better already. In recognition B C Justina is now Honorary Walk Fire Warden and Mark is ordained as Cultural Attachee with Special Responsibility for All Grand Pianos encountered from now to the end of The Walk.

Walk on

Walk  on

With hope in your hearts……                               ‘cos that’s about all that’s left in the tank.

All help gratefully received.

 

This last trip covered from South of Widemouth Bay to Tregatta just South of Tintagel. There was a bit of circuitous walking to get going but most of the 31 miles walked  over three days counted directly towards reducing the outstanding tally to complete the whole trip, and for once I didn’t get lost.

In Cornwall, I stayed in another Equestrian Campsite, Lakefield, near Lower Pendavey, not far from Camelford on the A39. The scene of my culinary discovery that A Proper Cornish Pasty fits neatly in my  electricsandwichmaker  in preparation for its journey to my stomach – and beyond. I have two serving options – burnt, or very burnt. Tasty.

Lakefield Camp Site, Lower Pendavey Farm and Equestrian Centre with some four legged campers wrapped up warm at sunrise.

 

The weather became unseasonably warm, with enough sun to remind me to take the sun screen lotion next time. I can probably start reducing my back pack and discard the wet weather gear and full change of clothing, making room for more water, wet and dried fruit, nuts and medicinal chocolate. The twin turbo walking sticks are now a permanent feature, I am beginning to rely rather too heavily on them.

 

And now the journey in pictures – just let me qualify the  quality by saying none of them do justice to the magnificent scenery I am fighting my way through.

 

The first day, Tuesday 18th April, 2017, Walking Day 231, resuming from Foxhole Point, Widemouth Bay, a circular walk via Millook, Lower Tresmorne and Dizzard Point finishing at sunset by Moshole Cave.

 

The second day started by parking in Boscastle  with a 96  bus trip to Crackington Haven and a short circuit walk to last night’s rendezvous just beyond Cleave and back to the Haven. A selection of buses and bus stops below

 

 

And a selection from the circuit round St Genny’s, the climbs were  foretelling what was to come.

 

 

 

 

Before going down towards  the Haven I met Jo and Andy heading the opposite way. They were from Shoreham and Burton respectively and enjoying walking in  the midday sun. They were very interested in My  Walk and respective photos were exchanged. I hope I’ve helped sow the seeds of another long distance walking project. I think they’ve got a bit more time on their side.

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And here starts the strenuous journey between Crackington Haven and Boscastle, re-living the climbs up and down hurts.

 

 

There are 620 miles of South West Coast Path. I’m glad to say I have nearly finished because most of it is energy sapping, but nothing I can write can describe the beauty of it all. I will miss that , but not the constant need to attack another slope.

 

 

On the last walk of the second  walking day, 232, it seemed to take forever. I was returning to Boscastle, but I  found The Cobweb for a restorative drink before camping for the night.

 

I’m afraid the final day walking was not fully recorded in pictures, not only had I run out of steam, but also the camera and back up batteries were drained, so forgive the slight scramble to the finishing line.

Dropped in the middle of nowhere, or Tregatta, by the very helpful bus and driver, I was soon back on the S W Coast Path heading back to Boscastle. Meanwhile I rediscovered Youth Hostels, very unlike those of fifty years hence, when I qualified. Wifi and electrics. All very modern and accommodating. And no chores! And the familiar National Trust signs are in abundance.

 

 In and around Tintagel, getting a bit built up  on MY Walk, and positively crowded and stuffed up with  queues to get on the island, but after blowing Barras Nose it calmed down a bit.

 

 

 

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Rocky Valley – quite breath taking in every sense

 

 

 

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Approaching Boscastle…..

 

…..And finally one for Mark in Boscastle Harbour

 

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Below…..and this is what he does with my photos……..

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