It was meant to be sunny when we woke up but it was still very much wet and windy. Thanks, Met Office. I think we can safely ignore the weather forecast as we move closer to Cornish territory, though obviously we’ll still check it obsessively. We were only nine miles from Plymouth and it shouldn’t be the most hideous nine miles we’ve ever done but the sky was determined to make it as miserable as possible.
We very gingerly packed the tent away, got it covered in sand anyway, then washed whatever belongings we could off in the stream running onto the beach. Clearly Tarrant did most of the rinsing whilst I paced a lot and tried not to panic because everything was covered in sand. I am quite glad we camped where we did though on account of the toilet up the hill being open all night and my arse choosing this morning to once again take umbrage with my diet of noodles and Pop Tarts. I think my digestive system really needs to accept that this is its life now and adapt.
The weather remained shite as we made our way towards the city through a spooky woodland, which was probably only spooky on account of the rain and fog. Eventually you cross a stone plaque set into the floor reading, “Welcome to Plymouth. Please wipe your feet” which is very cute but I’m 100% going to track sand through the whole place.
Turnchapel though, that’s a bit of alright isn’t it? It’s definitely the posh bit of Plymouth. It probably denies it’s any part of Plymouth. I reckon it’s the Hove of Plymouth. “Oh you live in Plymouth?” Turnchapel, actually.
It’s an uneventful and largely flat trek into Plymouth. We walked right by where we’d caught the bus yesterday too which was irrationally upsetting. The weather had stopped being such a prick as we smashed through the miles with minimum incident, then we got to the industrial area and the sheer tediousness of it broke us a little bit. Oh gods, it’s fucking awful! Just grey and bleak and concrete and far too much of it stank of fish. By the time we got to the Barbican area we were suitably depressed and sat down for a little break and a Red Bull. Nectar of the gods, that shit. Cheered me right up.
So we’d booked to stay at the backpackers, we couldn’t check in until 4pm but they kindly let us drop our bags in so we could explore Plymouth unfettered. By explore of course I mean take up residence in a corner of Costa because our devices were overdue a charge as the pub was devastatingly closed yesterday. Also, the only reason we were staying in Plymouth was because we wanted to watch Dr Strange in the Multiverse of Madness because nerds gonna nerd even when they’re hiking hundreds of miles across three nations.
Just want to say, absolutely fucking loved the movie but I need to see it about seventeen more times and not least because Benedict Cumberbatch as Dr Strange is a bit of a man-crush of mine. I mean, swoon. It’s because he’s an arrogant prick but basically a good guy. I appears I have a type when it comes to men. A type which makes me very glad I’m a lesbian
Anyway. The only reason we were staying at the backpackers was because we wanted a kitchen and a communal area. We could have booked a lovely double room with complimentary tea and coffee for a couple of quid more, but by cramming ourselves into bunkbeds in a cramped room with a dirty shower emanating questionable smells we could save money by cooking.
No. At no point during the booking process were we told they’d be out of bounds. Apparently they had a Covid outbreak and had to close for a while and lost a lot of money so they’re installing a ventilation system, and that’s a perfectly valid reason to close a communal space, but don’t advertise it as a facility if it’s not available. We weren’t even told until we asked about it, then we did the stupid British thing of “Oh that’s okay then” rather than actually complaining.
The creeping irrational side of my brain told me it was because we’d booked it yesterday. Curse day. Where if it could go to shit it very much would go to shit. Seriously, shouldn’t have trusted any decision we made yesterday! Fuck it. Wetherspoons it is then. And at least we can get the tent dry and sand free so I don’t have to lie awake at night worrying that it’s going to fall on me.
Bovisand Beach, Devon to Plymouth, Devon, England
Stayed at: Plymouth Backpackers
Useful shit to know…
- Toilets before you cross the Plym are at Bovisands, Mount Batten, and you swing close enough to Morrisons in Plymstock to abuse their facilities should you choose.
- Once you’re in Plymouth proper, toilets cost 20p and you’ll need an actual coin.
- If the kitchen at the backpackers is open there’s a Lidl not far away for cheap groceries.