When planning this walk, I began to ask myself whether it was worth the hassle. Could I justify dragging people out to the end of Cornwall to traipse along the coast path, come what may? I was constantly reviewing weather reports, monitoring other people’s comments, trying to find accommodation and checking transport options, and in the end, I pulled it all together, along with the usual suspects RS, LN and JC for us to do probably the toughest, most awful yet most memorable walk to date. I now refer to it as the walk of horrors, and from this day on, my weather understanding and walk planning has been totally revised.
It went something like this:
Date 28/29th September 2019
- Start: Penzance, Cornwall
- Finish: Predannack Wallas, Cornwall
- Mileage: 24 m
- Guide book timing: 10ish hr
- Actual timing: 10 ish
- Grading: easy to strenuous to moderate,
- Weather: 14 deg, heavy rain, strong winds, then sunshine and clouds
- Walkers: me, RS, LN, JC
- Miles to date: 298 m
We started in Porthleven, bought provisions from Philps pasties, chatted to this beautiful feline and then got the bus to Penzance, from where we would walk back to Porthleven. If memory serves, the busdriver made a comment about the weather, which we chose to ignore, whilst handing over a small mortgage to travel less than 10 miles…
From Penzance to Marazion, was a very easy stroll with St Micheal’s mount in view. The rain was due to arrive at about 3pm, if I remember right, when I thought we would have an hour to go. It came early. and it poured and poured and poured. And then it stopped for a bit, slowing to a drizzle and then the heavens opened again, and it came at us from every angle, wetting every single item of clothing. We walked in silence, in secret (or not so secret) disdain for the planner of this walk) for making us do such a thing. Our feet were wet from walking up rivers; underwear was soaked; rain so sharp you couldn’t see. And then it was windy. It dried us off a bit, but was bloody blustery! We lost the path and found it again. We lost a bag cover and chased after it, and I can’t even remember having lunch. It was impossible to take photos. And RS actually lost his phone to the rain. It was, in short, horrendous.
Porthleven arrived in sight after what honestly seemed like hours walking upstream. We were cold, tired and grateful to dive into the warmth of The Harbour Inn, taking it in turns to get changed (mericlessly our cars were full of warm dry clothes!
After a hearty meal and a pint, no one wanted to leave the sanctuary of the pub. The wind was picking up again and we needed to find the campsite (camping, you gasp?!!).
Again, the previously mentioned title lends itself well to 2 cars driving in the pitch dark, driving rain and strong winds, trying to find a campsite in the middle of nowhere. By some miracle we located it. Getting out of the car was challening: nearly losing both my car doors and the contents of the boot, to the wind. Long story short, a gratefully warm and cosy night was spent in two wooden, heated camping pods, drinking wine, playing cards and drying off. We began to laugh again and crawled out of bed to a sunnier, slightly breezy day to finish the walk the follwing morning…
From Porthleven, we passed through Loe Bar, Church Cove, Poldhu Cove, Polurrian Cove, near Mullion, Mullion Cove and then up Mullion Cliff to Predannack Wallas where we had left the cars near the campsite at Teneriffe Farm.
Thank yous and mentions
- I should mention that the universe was telling us not to walk that weekend: LN arrived at ours to annouce that her engine light had come on driving to collect us that morning. After frantic deliberation, we decided probability of having a car breakdown in signal-less Cornwall and an impending storm was likely, so RS started emptying his car, as I raced off to collect JC, in which something fell off my car, causing me to pull over, crawl under the car and clip it back on. ( nothing structural!) So perhaps the signs were were…
- Thank you to JC, LN and RS who have continued to walk with me after this!
- Teneriffe Farm campsite – we cannot recommend it enough! We hired 2 pods with electricity and heating for £10 pp. Although running to the loo in the middle of the night was so scary it meant I slept with my legs tightly crossed, it was a very comfortable night!
- The Harbour Inn in Porthleven, a St Austell pub with a good range of food, ale and cider and live music on that particular evening, that we wished we could have stayed for…
- The Old Inn in Mullion served us on the way home, for a much needed “we survived” pint on the other side…
- There IS such as thing has bad weather. And it wasn’t due to inappropriate clothings… There is no way we could have kept ourselves dry, and it is very very unpleasant to walk when there is a <95% chance of heavy rain.
- When you start walking, you have to keep going. We literally had no choice but to continue. We couldn’t turn back because our cars were at the end. There are sections of the path that have nowhere in between… you just have to keep walking. And we did.
- It actually wasn’t that bad! Perhaps it’s because I have written this post nearly 5 months after doing it, that I can look back with perspective and gratitude…. that people still talk to me.
The charity bit
Is it worth the hassle? Abso-fucking-lutely. I would do it all again, with more rain, if what I can raise will offer just one person the stem cell transplant they need. Enough said. See what I have raised so far here, find out why I am doing it So what’s this coast path walk all about? and find out what Anthony Nolan do here.