You know those days that are so fucking long that when you cast your dazed and weary mind back to the morning it might as well have been last fucking week? That essentially sums up today so settle in for a long one. Or don’t. I’m posting on the Interwebs regardless. It didn’t help that our entire lower bodies had opinions on yesterday’s 21 mile slog, and probably the fact we did roughly zero stretching before we crashed out last night. Also my left foot felt like I’d been walking on sandpaper all day yesterday. Weird.
It was your standard viewsy walk into Marazion which has way too much traffic for its lack of pavements, then from here you get to gawp at St Michael’s Mount which is a big hill with a private residence sat atop it. Well, I say private residence, it’s a fucking castle. A privately resided in castle. A lot of it was given to the National Trust but the family can still live there for 999 years. You can buy tickets to visit the island, you can walk over at low tide and catch a boat at high tide. Or swim. I can’t tell you what to do.
The next section isn’t the prettiest section but hey, I’d still take it over the fish scented industrial walk in Plymouth. You’re on tarmac now all the way through to Penzance where we has exciting waterproof things waiting for us from Amazon. We picked up our shit, resupplied at Tesco and spread everything out all over a conveniently placed bench to repack and have a spot of lunch.
Now, I’ll admit that it had been threatening rain all day but after several miles of dryness we’d boldly assumed it was joking and stripped off our waterproofs. I fucking swear the weather gods were waiting for this exact moment, when we had everything out, to launch a short but devastating deluge onto the town of Penzance. Thanks, weather gods.
Drenched, we took refuge in an arcade to try and assemble something resembling a sandwich and a banjo player started busking at the other end. Now I’m not saying he was a bad banjo player, but he was a very energetic banjo player, and I really didn’t need that hammering into my earholes right then, after the long, soul crushing tarmac walk followed by the downpour.
Well fuck this. In fact, fuck everything. We were shattered, we hadn’t slept last night after our epic day. Our feet hurt. We were wet. We were both having proper whiny little episodes. Usually it’s just one of us and the other encourages them to woman up and crack on but when it’s both of us it leads to frantic Googling trying to find a room. Turns out we can’t afford Penzance. Well fuck you too then, Penzance!
We sullenly ate our damp butties and necked a Red Bull and a bit more road walking into Mousehole, which apparently isn’t pronounced mouse hole at all, and we were fine again. Tantrums over. Which was ideal because you need your wits about you for this next section, pretty much all the way from not-pronounced-Mousehole through to Penberth Cove.
I didn’t take many photos or videos, largely because I was trying not to die. I mean, it’s rocky, but shit me, it’s bouldery in parts too. Like you’re proper clambering over huge stones, three points of contact, some parts complete with that trademark sheer drop to the left. It was very, very slow going, a little bit emotional, and all whilst keeping an eye on the sky and the rain sheeting down over yonder. I wanted the long, boring, flat tarmac back.
We felt a few drops of spit. Right! Into action! Waterproofs on, phone in case, boom! We were fully kitted up as the rain swept over us and we smugly congratulated ourselves. For all of thirty seconds. Then it stopped. So we were wrapped in crisp packets whilst bouldering over rocks which is obviously conducive to overheating. Bollocks. We stripped down again and from then on we just hid under trees and bushes when the rain came over. It never lasted more than a couple of minutes.
Now, I love a bit of research. When we were planning this trip I read blogs and guidebooks, I followed people on Instagram and stalked photos. How, then, how in actual fuck, did I miss every potential reference to the Terrifying Boulder Field of Doom? Did I just block it out? Did I conveniently just ignore it in the hopes it would go away? Out of all the people we met coming the other way, why did no-one mention it?
My heart sank through my feet to the bowels of the Earth as I assessed the trail. I couldn’t even not do it. I couldn’t turn around and go back. I couldn’t just stay here forever. There was no alternative route. I could have sat down and cried but that wouldn’t have gotten me over Boulder Beach any quicker. It’s stepping stones on steroids and I have the balance of a badger on ketamine. Fuck my life. My feet absolutely refused to move, Tarrant had to help me over pretty much every rock. Some of them even moved! What the hell kind of sadist routes a trail over rocks in the first place, never mind one with rocks that move? Thanks, trail planners. I hate it.
We picked our way up and down hills, over rocks and boulders, to Penberth Cove where we sat down for some dinner. This is what we do when we’re starting to worry about camping options. We eat, at least that way we can walk until dark, beyond if we have to, then we just need to pitch and sleep. We refilled our bottles from the stream and climbed the hill out of the cove and oh my gosh, thank you trail gods! The terrain opened up onto swathes of flat ground covered in bouncy heather just begging for a tent to be pitched. That’s exactly what we did. What an utter bastard of a day though.
Day on South West Coast Path: 31
Distance walked today: 18.4 miles
Total walked so far: 561.32 miles
Weather: Overcast all day with rainy spells lasting minutes.
Coldest temp last night: 12.69°C inside / 9.5°C outside
Trigs bagged: 0
Trigs to date: 33
“Have you read ‘The Salt Path?'” (Running Total): 7
Jump to “Useful shit to know…”
Prussia Cove, Cornwall to Penberth, Cornwall, England
Stayed at: Wild camp up from Penberth
Useful shit to know…
- There are toilets at Perranuthnoe, Marazion, Penzance, Newlyn and Mousehole. There are toilets at Lamorna Cove but they belong to the café and will close when the café does. They’re behind a door with a number 2. There used to be other toilets but they’ve been repurposed.
- There’s a tap outside the café at Lamorna Cove. Otherwise you pass plenty of pubs and cafés today, and a few streams too.
BUDGET for one person (based on two sharing)
Groceries, Penzance: £14.63
Grand Total: £14.63