I thought I slept last night but judging how utterly shattered I was all day it’s more likely that I woke up more times than I thought I did worrying that the wind would sweep us away to a magical land. I don’t think our tent would kill the wicked witch either. She’d probably feed us to her sister’s flying monkeys or something. The poles, pegs and the amazing Delta Ground Anchors held against the gusts though but I’d be nervous about putting it through anything stronger.
Today was really hard work though. Not the terrain, that was mostly uncharacteristically okay. Obviously there were a few bits that have you questioning all of your life choices and it started getting dodgy the closer to Zennor we got but it was largely quite flat. But god I was tired! Like, the kind of tired where I could quite easily shut my eyes to blink and fall asleep.
We’d camped in the ruins of a tin mine last night and more ruins dotted the landscape. Levant is particularly interesting, you can book a guided tour but there are also information boards to browse. There’s also a fuck off monstrosity in the distance which is Geevor tin mine, the best preserved tin mine in the country and you can actually visit it but someone has vandalised their opening hours to say “so you can rip us off” so take from that what you will.
We kept our waterproofs on as the forecast said shitty rain most of the day but we just ended up wrapped in crisp packets and sweating a lot. Honestly, you can’t win. You’re either wet or hot or both and not in any manner of good way. We stripped them off and eyed the sky suspiciously as we plodded on. And on. And on. This really shouldn’t be this hard. We stopped for an early lunch hoping that food would help us over the hills and rocks but nope.
It might not have been pissing rain but shitting hell, that wind! It was always present but it felt like every time we were negotiating a particularly precarious section it’d triple its efforts. “Oh I see you’re teetering on the edge of a cliff! FUCKING HAVE IT!!” It was an emotional day and it really shouldn’t have taken as long as it did given the terrain.
I do adore how wild this section feels though. Once you’re through Sennen Cove there’s literally fuck all on the trail bar a few ruins and a tin mine until St Ives. If you need a pub or a shop or a toilet you need to detour up to three quarters of a mile off the trail. You don’t see a lot of other hikers either, just a few, you feel like you have the whole world to yourself. Until you need to piss then every fucker in the world suddenly wants a piece of this section.
We’d already planned to detour into Zennor to the pub as pubs have all manner of exciting things such as toilets and plug sockets and caffeine based beverages and we wished to utilise all of these things, then we’d planned to get as close to St Ives as possible. A backpacker coming the other way pissed on that bonfire. She said it was really bouldery all the way between Zennor and St Ives, not much in the way of wild camping opportunities. Well bollocks.
It started to aggressively drizzle as we trudged off the trail into the village. Well double bollocks. Honestly, I don’t think bouldering would be very safe right now when my eyes were doing everything in their power to be closed and now the rocks were wet and slippy. We made the executive decision to try and find a room in Zennor.
The Tinners Arms has rooms, but they were all booked. We scoured AirBNB and Booking.com but there was nothing available. We considered the church but there was no guarantee they didn’t lock it at night. Then the bar staff told us a woman down the road rented out her annex and we should go and knock on, so I did. Turned out she had a two night minimum but she was happy to let us pitch in her garden. Result! Just somewhere flat where we were allowed to be, out of the wind which was still attempting to relocate anything not nailed down. It meant we could just pitch up and not worry.
We also had dinner at the pub because we really haven’t been eating properly at all. Even at The Lizard, I think all we consumed for our two days off was meat and Stella Artois. I’ve never noticed this before but pub food has a distinct lack of vegetables. I guess when you go out to eat you don’t go out to be healthy, you want to assault your digestive system and fuck what any of your arteries havd to say about it. We went for the vegan option of butternut squash and bean chilli with rice because it was the only thing with vegetables in it and maybe it’s psychological but I swear I feel better already.
We left the pub and went to pitch up in the garden and Reseigh came out to tell us we could have the room for one night for £95, or if we still wanted to pitch our tent we could have use of the WiFi, toilet, and tea and coffee in the annex for £20. Absolute bargain. She thought she was being mean by not initially offering us the room, I don’t think she realises how much just knowing we have somewhere safe to pitch the tent meant to us. The very affectionate cat did watch us pitch though, hopefully kitty doesn’t think we just built her a very expensive cat toy.
We’ll have a proper night’s sleep tonight if the church bells ever shut the fuck up and that should sort us out. Today was too short for our plans but three seventeen mile days will get us to Newquay for Saturday where we have a room booked because yes, we’re having another day off. If we don’t treat ourselves, who the fuck will?
Botallack, Cornwall to Zennor, Cornwall, England
Stayed at: Reseigh’s garden, with her permission
Useful shit to know…
- Aside from Geevor Tin Mine which has toilets and a café, there’s nothing on the trail that we could see as far as St Ives.
- You can leave the trail and walk into Pendeen which has a toilet, shop and pub. Zennor is also off the trail and has a pub.
- If you don’t want to leave the trail you’ll cross loads of streams for water refills.