We figured we might as well have a nice, chilled start to the day, largely because literally any excuse to be a little bit lazy, plus we didn’t have to check out until 11am. We treated ourself to a lie in until 7am, which is vastly more respectable than our usual 5am because we’ve pitched up somewhere we shouldn’t have and need to get going before we get shot. Or worse, shouted at.
We had a leisurely and, more importantly, cheap, breakfast at Wetherspoons as a clearly intoxicated young man argued with his crying girlfriend and paced a lot. I helped myself to my free tea refills and tried not to make eye contact.
Anyway. The trail takes you a convoluted route to the Cremyll Ferry. At one point you’re about 150 metres from the ferry. You could almost reach out and lick it. But no. The trail yanks you away and drags you reluctantly around the coast. Yes, I know it’s the bloody Coast Path, but really? I swear the planners had a right fucking laugh with that one.
I do not like boats very much and the weather today wasn’t very conducive to calm waters. It had been raining all morning and the wind was vicious and cold. The boat listed from side to side. I willed my stomach to behave. Fortunately it’s only an eight minute ride, if that, or I might have decorated the walls with my Wetherspoons fry up.
We didn’t think we’d get very far today given our late start but the trail is very forgiving along this section. Dare I even say… flat? It steered us through some lovely woods, often with bluebells carpeting the floor. There was a whole load of wiggly trees that looked like noodles. No, seriously, they looked just like Super Noodles. Or maybe I just eat so many fucking noodles that everything looks like a noodle now. Everything certainly smells like noodles. That’ll be the title of my autobiography; “Everything Smells Like Noodles: A Descent Into Madness.” I think it’d sell.
Ooh we did find a really cool little grotto just off the trail whilst we were looking for somewhere with adequate eyehole fodder for lunch. We’re a bit spoiled now you see, can’t just shovel crisp butties into our chops on any old bench, there must be something to shovel into our eyeholes too. But there was this sort of cave, but not really a cave because someone had built, like, a hut around it. A perfect little shelter that you could probably camp in and definitely have lunch in.
It wasn’t long after a chapel on a hill that the terrain became more fitting of the South West Coast Path we’d come to expect. Nothing too brutal just yet, it felt like Cornwall was breaking us in gently, just lots and lots of ups and downs through loads of these lovely cabins nestled in the cliffs. I guess they’re holiday chalets. What a cracking place to spend your hols though, with those sea views. It’d be a bit terrifying in a storm though.
The trail eventually led us out onto a road and as we were strolling along, one of my ankles decided it didn’t want to ankle any more and I went down like a sack of shit, right onto my right knee. It happened so fucking quickly I’m not entirely sure what went wrong or how, but shit me, I’m going to be sore tomorrow. I washed my grazed knee and resolved to treat it like I treat most of my injuries. I’d just ignore. If it got any worse I’d just ignore it some more. I’d only probably stop ignoring it once my kneecap rotted off.
Anyway! The Tregantle Ranges came next, the red flags were down and the gate was unlocked so we wandered through past this amazing fort that had been built in the 1850’s. It looks in great condition on the outside, apparently it’s a listed building and the army maintain it in its original state as much as they reasonably can.
Not long after that we walked through a golf course, because there’s always a fucking golf course, where we did spy what would be an ideal place to camp if it wasn’t right by a golf course. Hmm. I guess we could wait… but you know how long these fuckers golf for, we could be waiting until 11pm. Way past my bedtime.
We met a chap as we passed the course called Alan. He was hiking the same way as us, the “wrong” way, but he was doing it for charity, unlike us who were just doing it for the lols. He’d eyed up the little spot we’d seen and he was waiting it out. Fair play to him. We told him of our plans to continue to John O Groats and he asked us if we’d considered therapy. Then he told us this was his third time doing The Path so quite frankly he’s the one that should probably be considered for a nice, swift lobotomy. The Path is so incredibly beautiful but I feel like I only need to do those hills once in my life, and I think my entire lower body could have died happy having never seen them.
This section of the walk is very dry. No taps, no streams. There are a couple of restaurants I guess you could ask in. The cafe at Portwrinkle was closed as we shuffled by but the toilets were open so we topped up in the sink with the “Not Drinking Water!” sign above it. Pfft. Everything is drinking water with a Water To Go bottle. I fucking adore mine, it’s an absolute game changer.
Then it was a case of walk until we found an acceptably slopey, tent-sized, non-cow-infested patch of grass to call home for the night. We eyed up a couple of places, wrote them off, then found a little bit just off the trail which served our needs. There really isn’t a lot of choice along here. We could hear the waves crashing on the cliffs below which is absolutely one of the best sounds to fall asleep to. Definitely better than the drug addict downstairs yelling at people in the street which is mostly what we got to fall asleep to in Brighton.
Plymouth, Devon to Portwrinkle, Cornwall, England
Stayed at: Wild camp just off the trail near Cobland Hill
Useful shit to know…
- Toilets in Plymouth cost 20p and you’ll need an actual coin. Remember them?
- The Cremyll Ferry is every half hour. See the website for timetables.
- Once you’re out of Plymouth there isn’t really anywhere to fill up water apart from the taps in the toilets at Cawsand-Kingsand, and Portwrinkle.
- I guess you could ask in the cafés in these villages if they’re open when you walk through.
- There are very few places to camp. There’s the little alcove by the golf course, the random little landslip where we camped (see the pin drop on the main LEJOG+ map) and after we got up the biiiiig hill the following morning we walked a short while longer and met a chap packing up in a lovely little flat spot off to the left.