We lay in our tent this morning listening to the rain belt down onto the sil-nylon. I’d been dying for a piss for hours but I really, really didn’t want to go out in it. I know it’s never as bad as it sounds when you’re in the tent, it always sounds like the fucking apocalypse even with the slightest breeze, but no. Absolutely not. We were on a campsite and didn’t have to leave early so fuck it. We waited until the rain was less intense before packing up. I’d have happily waited until it buggered off completely but Tarrant reminded me that we live in the UK and that might never happen.
So it was 10am by the time we walked back past the castle to pick up the trail again and it was straight in with an ascent. We watched some coasteerers for a bit as an excuse to not walk up said hill, but ultimately we had to crack on with our day. It seems I’m very much a fair weather hiker. I mean, I will of course walk in the rain if I have to, I’m British, I’d never leave the house if I refused to go out in the wet. But at the first sign of precipitation I’m all, “Ooh shall we see if there are any beds free at the YHA?”
We’ve actually done this section before albeit around seven years ago. Way before we got into hiking and only had feet so we had something to place on the coffee table whilst watching Star Trek and shovelling Doritos into our chops we visited Cornwall and walked from Boscastle to Tintagel. It was scorching hot, we had a slug in our water so we couldn’t drink it, and the whole thing took us about five hours. It’s only five miles. I remember being utterly fucking shattered afterwards too.
We did much better this time around even with stopping to chat to people, because people always want to chat when you’re wearing a backpack, especially if they’re also wearing a backpack. We did the same detour as we did last time to Trewethet Mill ruins because I just like ruins.
Also, there are some labyrinths carved into the rocks there. If you start in Boscastle and visit the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic you’ll learn about labyrinths and their importance to Cornish witches but buggered if I can remember the details. There’s a plaque stating that these were from the bronze age but I think I remember reading somewhere that they’ve since discovered they’re much more recent? Unsure.
Anyway, off we fucked. The hills were hilly all over again, I think this is our life now, a rollercoaster of terrain and emotions. It’s a gorgeous walk though, you can see why this is a popular stretch. Just before Boscastle the weather seemed to start behaving too and the forecast promised less than a 10% chance of rain for the rest of the day. Any excuse to not be wrapped in a crisp packet. We stripped off our waterproofs and strolled into the pretty little village with a pretty little harbour and plonked ourselves down outside Harbour Light café.
We ordered food. It started drizzling. Oh do fuck off! We scarpered inside to apply our breakfast baps to our faceholes. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and I will absolutely have it at lunch time if I want to. As we were leaving the café it started aggressively drizzling so we ducked into the National Trust gift shop and pretended to be really interested in postcards and giant pencils until it died down enough for us to make a break for the Nisa Local. As we were loading our purchases into our bags shit got real. Proper, actual, torrential downpour. Fine. Waterproofs back on then. It was nice while it lasted.
The trouble was the weather couldn’t make up its mind. It’d rain for several minutes then it’d stop. If it wasn’t actively pissing down it was too warm for waterproofs, as soon as it stopped we were in our own personal ovens. Sometimes it’d even throw a bit of sunshine into the mix. As I dragged myself to the top of some hill or other I realised I was just as wet with sweat as I would be in the rain. That’s it, jacket off. Everything else could stay on and I’d just scramble my jacket if the rain started up again.
We’d fully intended to try and cover around 15 miles today. Maybe a little less as my friend we’d stayed with in Falmouth, Ben, had pin-dropped a good camp spot for us. But we’re champion faffers in ideal situations, more so in the rain and we’re grabbing any excuse to be indoors, and between leaving Tintagel late and spending so long in Boscastle no way would we be doing any such distance up and down these hills.
Right. We’d get over High Cliff then start looking. We’d gotten chatting to a bloke collecting for the NCI in Boscastle and he’d told us that this was the highest point on the coast. Bloody looks it too! We got to Rusey Cliffs to a marker stating it was only a mile away, got to the bottom of the hill and found the most perfect camp spot. I’m a bit nervous about camp spots that seem perfect since the cowocalypse the other night but the only shit here was bunny shit and I’m not scared of bunnies.
Fuck it. High Cliff could be a tomorrow problem. We had a lovely view of it from here, I doubt it’s as nice to your calf muscles as it is to your eyeholes. We pitched our sodden fly sheet to let it dry as we cooked and ate dinner. In an effort to not die of malnutrition we’re experimenting with foods that are not noodles. Tarrant heated tinned chilli and a tin of mixed beans by sitting the cans in water on our stoves and we mixed them with Uncle Ben’s rice because you don’t even need to cook that shit. Chef’s kiss! Bloody lovely. My lack of appetite is definitely due to what I’m trying to force my poor stomach to accept as food.
So yeah. Less than nine miles today. Another day utterly failing to hit our fifteen mile minimum. I think what’s happening is, we’re subconsciously putting off the section between Bude and Hartland. It’s the section that keeps coming up when people talk about the most difficult bits, it’s the bit that seems to stick out in people’s minds. For me it’s the Lulworth Ranges. For the rest of the population it’s Bude to Hartland. Apparently we’re looking at at least ten deep valleys and the hills are steep and relentless. Oh dear gods. Thank fuck we don’t have a schedule to keep.
Tintagel, Cornwall to Rusey Cliff, Cornwall, England
Stayed at: Wild camp at Rusey Cliff
Useful shit to know…
- There are public toilets in Tintagel and at the castle opposite the café. There are more toilets in Boscastle.
- For water you do cross a couple of streams, or there are pubs and cafés in Tintagel and Boscastle.
- The mill ruins aren’t signposted. Follow the signpost for Halgabron when you get to the bottom of Rocky Valley and follow it maybe 200 metres. You’ll walk right to the mill. The labyrinths are around to the left.
- We didn’t visit the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic this time but we’ve been before and it’s well worth it. It’s £7 per adult at the time of writing.