So High Cliff wasn’t as hideous as we thought it’d be on account of the fact they’ve seen fit to carve a lovely zig-zag path up it which obviously makes it longer but less steep. There’s still the straight up path if you prefer it, you fucking sociopath, but I’ll take the zig-zag all day any day. You feel less like your lungs have been sandpapered by the time you get to the top.
It was really quite the plod this morning up and down hills. We were averaging less than 2 mph as we dragged ourselves up, hoping our hearts wouldn’t make a break for freedom through our chests, then lowered ourselves down the other side, very aware of our knees. We had big plans to make it through Bude today with enough time to stop there and fully charge our powerbanks. We’d just have to get on with it, no faffing for us today, no sir… ooh is that café open?
We plonked ourselves down in the Cabin Café at Crackington Haven to kick start our brains with socially acceptable drugs. This wasn’t faffing, this was essential maintenance. This would help us get up these hills. Also my knee managed to last until here before it demanded painkillers so I’m going to consider it fixed and continue ignoring it.
After we’d torn ourselves away from the nice, warm café and slogged up another hill we met a chap coming the other way. He asked us if we were doing the whole thing, we told him we were.
“Is it all like this? Up and down?” The poor lad looked like he was ready to give up already. We assured him he had some easier days ahead of him once he was past Polzeath. I didn’t tell him about the boulders because I didn’t want to make him cry.
A lot of the hills have had the zig-zags carved in, but only on the sides we were ascending. If you were coming the other way it was tough titties, sweetheart. You might have your lovely zig-zags coming down but you had to deal with those obnoxious knee high steps on the way back up. We plodded up the hills. We plodded down the hills. I’ve decided that I prefer zig-zags to straight up hills, but I prefer straight up hills to the steps.
Eventually it became apparent that we weren’t going to have enough time to get to Bude, chill for a couple of hours then find a camp spot on the other side. We decided to camp this side of Bude and abuse Costa’s electricity in the morning. Much better plan and it’d mean we could start the day by soaking our brains in caffeine just as nature intended.
This meant we had a bit more time to kill so we had another nice sit down at Black Rock Café near Widemouth Bay. To be fair the trail had flattened out a little bit just before we got here so maybe we hadn’t quite earned the comfy chairs but damnit we nabbed them anyway and used the WiFi to look for a place to pitch up. It’s always a bit nerve wracking getting closer to a town because if you don’t find anywhere you’re committed to walking through it and that wouldn’t work with our new plan. We decided to aim for Efford Beacon trigpoint, it looked like it might have a bit of flat ground around it.
Our weather luck ran out as we prepared to leave the café, it had been threatening rain all day and I’d been pointedly ignoring the obvious deluges across the ocean, giving Bude a right good hammering. We waterproofed up and carried on, then it bloody stopped and we melted. Just before the trig though, just at the bottom of the hill there was a bench with a lovely bit of flat ground right behind it. Who are we to turn down a perfectly good bench pitch?
We wouldn’t usually pitch so early, especially not so close to civilisation, but the wind was cold so we figured we’d put the outer up and move on if asked. No sooner had we dragged all of our possessions under the tent, the rain returned with an absolute vengeance. Okay then. We’ll just have dinner in here and not on our nice dinner bench. The rain did ease up and a couple of dog walkers wandered past but they didn’t seen bothered about the random tent plonked by the bench. We even watched the fiery skyball do the fucking off thing which we’d not done in a while on account of usually being asleep by the time it happened.
I was sort of dreading tomorrow a little bit, so many people had mentioned the Bude to Hartland section, citing it as the worst bit. There was nowhere a reasonable distance from the trail to resupply between here and Westward Ho! either so we’d have to carry quite a bit of food with us. Oh gods. Wish us luck!
Day on South West Coast Path: 44
Day on LEJOG: 13
Distance walked today: 13 miles
Total walked so far: 709.89 miles
Weather: Cloudy and threatening rain all day, then actual rain from 6pm
Coldest temp last night: 15.63°C inside / 13.06°C outside
Trigs bagged: 1
Trigs to date: 41
“Have you read ‘The Salt Path?'” (Running Total): 7
Jump to “Useful shit to know…”
Rusey Cliffs, Cornwall to Bude, Cornwall, England
Stayed at: Wild camp near Efford Beacon, just over a mile from Bude
Useful shit to know…
- Toilets are at Crackington Haven, Black Rock and Widemouth Bay.
- There are cafés at all these places for water refills, or there are a couple of streams.
BUDGET for one person (based on two sharing)
Hot drinks at Cabin Café, Crackington Haven: £2.70
Hot drinks from Black Rock Café: £3.55
Grand Total: £6.25