Day 31 – East Combe to Black Head

It’s amazing what a difference a flat pitch makes. I slept so well that when the alarm went off I went back to sleep which is very much a Tarrant trick. I’m usually straight up and having to periodically nudge her to remind her that we need to human today. I had colourful dreams about artists and their bold paintings in red and blue lines. Which is actually the decor at the Cineworld in Plymouth, except it’s blue and red strip lighting rather than art. Never let it be said that Cineworld Plymouth doesn’t have taste.

It wasn’t far to the Fowey ferry, not even five miles, and we covered the ground quickly despite the hills with paths running terrifyingly close to the edge. You’d think I’d be used to this by now. You’d think whatever part of my brain that’s responsible for fear would have been overloaded and would be curled up behind an eyeball, rocking a bit and weeping.

The ferry very kindly didn’t attempt to relieve me of my breakfast which was nice, and no sooner were we off the boat we were distracted by a café. Well we could both do with some socially acceptable drugs and we sat down to apply caffeine to our brains via our faceholes. Lovely. Tarrant was very pleased to see they had a fine range of dairy-free cakes and obviously it’d be rude to watch her eat cake alone…

Right. Off we fucked, our main objective today being not to get sidetracked in pubs or cafés applying shit to our faceholes that we really didn’t need. Lots of the trail passed as flat so we could easily crush the miles. Some of the trail passed licenced venues selling tasty, cold, fizzy lager which is just cruel.

Brown Sugar in Fowey. The sign reads: “Give up carbs over my bread body.” I feel this on a spiritual level.

We wandered past a fuck off big red and white tower which is apparently called a daymark and exists to help guide ships into Fowey. Yeah, very nice, not a trigpoint though is it. God I missed those obsolete concrete bastards, they’re mostly fenced off up a fuck off great big hill around these parts.

That’s a daymark, in case you were wondering.

The coastline around here is very different from the cliffs of Dorset and Devon but I’m still a little bit in love with it. I’m finding myself taking less photos, not because I’m bored with the eyehole fodder, I don’t think you can really get bored of it as long as you have functioning eyeballs in your head. I just think I’m more settled into the trail. There’s wonder around every corner but I’m learning to just enjoy it. I think Tarrant is pleased. She’s very patient with me but she must get fed up of me stopping every four seconds to get another sixty photos of the same rock.

Today’s curveball, because you can’t have a Friday the 13th without a curveball, was a cheeky little detour before Charlestown. We were about to swing left off a road onto a path when a couple in a car beeped us and beckoned us over.
“They’ve cut the path off,” they told us. “You have to go to the end of the road and turn left onto the footpath there.” That was lucky! We’d definitely have missed the sign if we weren’t told about it. The detour after Charlestown is on the official website but this one was, apparently, new. That was so lovely of them to stop their journey to let us know.

Charlestown has some pretty badass looking ships knocking around.

So that added on a few surprise miles to the day, but it’s amazing how far you can walk when the terrain is largely flat. Oh don’t get me wrong, there were still plenty of hills to remind us of where we were, but these were interspersed with plenty of zone-out trails. My calf muscles are behaving but my knee is still upset about being used as a crash mat for the rest of me the other day.

There’s a lack of places to pitch up though (and to pee if you don’t possess the inherent ability to pee whilst standing up). We had the golf course which was obviously full of old men playing with their balls, then the dog park where we had to stop and pet a puppy red setter which still hadn’t gained full control of its legs yet, then there was the diversion. Fuck.

A perfect night to enjoy the fiery skyball show without blowing away or freezing to death.

We sat down and had dinner, the theory being that once that was done we could walk until dark if necessary then just bivvy right on the path if that’s what it came to. I’d been eyeing up Black Head as a potential and a group of women training for some insane 64 mile race also mentioned it was nice there. Joy of joys, we managed to find a perfect tent-sized spot not too far off the trail, and it was flat, and it was cowless. Thank you, trail gods. Whilst a dodgy footpath bivvy could be done I’d really, really rather not.

Day: 31
Day on South West Coast Path: 21
Distance walked today: 19.61 miles
Total walked so far: 455.63 miles
Weather: Mainly overcast with sunny spells, brightened up in the evening.
Coldest temp last night: 10.38°C inside / 8.75°C outside
Trigs bagged: 0
Trigs to date: 31
“Have you read ‘The Salt Path?'” (Running Total): 6

Jump to “Useful shit to know…”

East Combe, Cornwall to Black Head, Cornwall, England

Stayed at: Wild camp on Black Head

Useful shit to know…

  • Before the ferry there are a couple of streams to fill up water.
  • There are toilets before you get on the ferry.
  • The Polruan to Fowey ferry is £2.70 each and is every half an hour.
  • Readymoney Cove Beach has a café, a toilet, and a stream.
  • More toilets at Polkerris, Par, Charlestown and Porthpean Beach. Porthpeam is free, Par is a 20p coin, not sure about the others.
  • There’s a water tap down the side of the Church of the Good Shepherd in Par.
Gives you a vague idea of the detour in place.

BUDGET for one person (based on two sharing)
Tea and cake, Brown Sugar, Fowey: £5.58
Polruan to Fowey ferry: £2.70
Soft drink from van at Par: £1.50
Grand Total: £9.78

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