Day 45 – Gwithian to St Agnes

I still felt like shit this morning but the gut explosion I was expecting wasn’t forthcoming. I forced myself to eat a packet of Fridge Raiders but damn it, I didn’t enjoy it. I had absolutely no appetite at all which doesn’t bode well when you’re walking a stupid quantity of miles. It became apparent as we walked the half mile back to the trail that my knee was going to be a bit of a prick today too.

In fairness it had a bit of trauma yesterday, I tripped at Zennor Head and in an effort to not faceplant a gorse bush I twisted my right knee slightly, then proceeded to walk on it for 18 miles whilst ignoring the twinges. I wasn’t having a good time today but I think that’s okay. I think it’s okay to not have a good time every day for five months, even when you’re on the adventure of a lifetime. Tarrant stuck a bunch of Leukotape to me and off we fucked through the last of the dunes.

Can we all just take a minute to appreciate the explosion of colour in hedges at this time of year?

It was mercifully flat for a lot of this section which meant I had plenty of time to feel very sorry for myself. We weren’t too far up the road when I decided I wanted noodles and a nap, and what princess wants princess gets. Fed and rested, we headed up Godrevy Head. We’d planned to camp up here before my stomach insisted we stay hobbling distance from a proper bog but it’s a very important habitat and a lot of it is fenced off to protect birds, snakes and wildflowers. If there were any campable bits we wouldn’t have felt good damaging the habitats anyway.

We dragged ourselves around the head (well I dragged myself, Tarrant walked like a normal human) past the trigpoint and we found a café that opened in about half an hour. Fuck it, we decided to wait. Tea would make everything okay again apart from maybe my stupid knee. The tea was quite good for the soul but I still couldn’t walk without looking like I’d shat myself. We left the café and managed to get a short distance up the trail before I sat down again and I tried not to cry.

Let me preface this by saying I know that stretching is important. I should do it a lot more than I do and when we first started this walk we were dutifully stopping every two hours to stretch. Yeah so that’s fallen by the wayside because like many things that are good for you it’s really fucking tedious. But Tarrant got me to do a few stretches and I had to grudgingly admit that it felt much better. I still wasn’t sure we’d be able to walk into Newquay tomorrow to make it to our booked accommodation. We had a plan B though which involved catching a bus from St Agnes, resting for a day, then bussing back to St Agnes on Monday to fill in the gap.

See the zig-zag footpath to the left there? That’s one of the epic downhills we had. Imagine a few of those immediately followed by an uphill of similar height and gradient.

It was still slow going and the trail was playing no more Mr Nice Guy, throwing a few steep hills in with those steps obviously built for people 7ft tall and over. We realised though that the bottom of these brutal little valleys was sheltered from the wind so we plonked ourselves down in one of those to force my stomach to accept some lunch and yes, another little nap. Naps were very much working out for me. Pro tip though, maybe don’t nap by a little trickling stream or you’ll wake up dying for a piss.

Just put it in your eyeholes though!

The eyehole fodder along this stretch of coastline though, it’s some of the best we’ve seen, certainly since we got to Cornwall. Every corner we turned blasted our eyeballs with joy, we had to stop and pick our jaws up off the floor before we tripped up over them and fell off the cliff. It’s honestly astoundingly beautiful.

Sorry about your toilet, Portreath.

As the day wore on I did start to feel marginally better. I’d taped, stretched and Ibuprofened my knee into submission, and I’d annihilated a toilet in the lovely and quite monied village of Portreath. Obviously we can never go back there, but I did feel that we could comfortably wild camp tonight without accidentally shitting myself whilst trying to dig a hole. We even made it a lot further than we thought we would given my pace this morning and the prolific napping. We actually managed to get to St Agnes which is good going considering not a single fibre of my being wanted to walk today. I’m not going to lie, guys, I’m pretty fucking proud of how many miles we covered today given the circumstances and our respective injuries.

We had all of the landscapes today. Cliffs, beach, and the tin mines.

We found a great little pitch albeit on quite hard ground in what could have once been a quarry and I had great fun bashing tent pegs in with a rock. So butch. We were in the perfect spot. About seventeen miles from Newquay so we could walk it if we wanted to tomorrow, but St Agnes proper was a fifteen minute walk up the hill should we decide to catch the bus. We enjoyed the last of the evening sat outside the tent before getting an early night.

Day: 45
Day on South West Coast Path: 35
Day on LEJOG: 4
Distance walked today: 15.9 miles
Total walked so far: 623.42 miles
Weather: Sunny and warm, but with a bastard cold wind.
Coldest temp last night: 15.56°C inside / 12.81°C outside
Trigs bagged: 1
Trigs to date: 39
“Have you read ‘The Salt Path?'” (Running Total): 7

Jump to “Useful shit to know…”

Gwithian, Cornwall to St Agnes, Cornwall, England

Stayed at: Wild camp in what looked like an old quarry

Useful shit to know…

  • There are toilets at Portreath and Porthtowan. It’s a popular stretch with not much in the way of arse cover if you need a nature wee.
  • We filled our bottle at the campsite but you could ask at Hell’s Mouth Cafe, or there’s a stream at Chapel Porth Beach. There’s a café there too but it was closed when we walked through.

BUDGET for one person (based on two sharing)
Tea and Lucozade: £4.02
Grand Total: £4.02

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