Monday, March 19, 2012

Day 2 Padstow to Porthcothan

Today's walk was to take us to the small village of Porthcothan, as the crow flies about 4 miles west of Padstow... Or as the coastal path wiggles, the best part of 14 miles!!...

Woke up to the sound of rain, which quickly turned to hail.... Nice. Luckily though this soon blew away. Filled up with porridge, toast and some lovely fresh coffee we headed out a little after 9am.

Given it was 9 on a Sunday we found down town Padstow pretty quiet as we headed through and out on to the coastal path, towards the war memorial on the hillside. From there we had our first, quite spectacular views across the Camel Estuary, with Padstow to the right, the Doom Bar centre and left, and to the left the mouth of the estuary and the Atlantic ocean.

The little booklet of the days route states "it was a pleasant walk out from Padstow but there is a dramatic change in scenery just after the Narrows"

And they weren't wrong, as we passed through the kissing gate we were pretty much slapped in the face with a cold biting and strong wind. Having only taken our coats off when we were momentarily in land a few minutes ago we soon realised this was a mistake!! We scurried around the rather exposed cliff path feeling a bit like a mountain goat and headed to the sanctuary of "the day marker" .... I'm not entirely sure what that was to be honest but it looked like a giant chimney thingy which was big enough and had a entrance open which we could get into and get jackets, gloves and hats out..... Except I had only packed a cap (useless) and could only find one glove (better then none)..... As soon as we left into the wind once more it decided to rain. Although to be fair that didn't last too long. We were certainly seeing a lot more of what the "easy terrain" was to offer with some jaw dropping landscape, and lots of "holes"... Which were named after I know not what but which seemed to be where part of the original cliff had been eroded over the last millennia, from the underneath for a gaping hole and landslide to have occurred.

As we walked along and around the headland we got a good view of where we would be heading for our lunch stop. Despite a little bit of heel rub everything felt good other then the weird sensation of a frozen right side of the face, however nothing more serious then wind chill!!

We got to our first accessible beach along Trevone, good to see that despite the overcast and chilly weather there were the odd family playing on the beach. Rather then stopping here we decided to head the extra couple of k to Harlyn Bay which offered a pub, which we thought would be a good stop for lunch.

We had forgotten it was Mothers Day!!

It was pretty clear, although it was only 1145, that the pub was gearing up for a busy lunch serving. Despite this they said they could squeeze us in if we turned around the table quickly but we decided actually that a large roast dinner would probably make walking another 8 miles a little more challenging then it was already going to be....

So a coffee and bag or crisps/nuts was all we had and off we set. Heading up to next headland with the promise of walking past a Lighthouse (I hadn't realised Popey had such a thing for Lighthouses.....).... As we walked along then out of the beach, past a holiday caravan park the wind picked up again.

All the way out of the beach and up the first mile or so you always had in view a quite spectacular (well I thought it was) view of the lifeboat housing right at the north end of the bay. High up in the cliffs with stilts supporting the launch jetty, a feat of engineering .... I'm not sure how easy it would be to presumably winch the lifeboat back up but must sure as hell be a ride out when a call came in.

We reached the lighthouse where I hunkered down for a bit as Popey gawped and took a few fascinated photos.... From the lighthouse we had quite epic views.... Over to our right you could make out the Day Mark on Stepper point and the cliffs beyond the estuary opening... And then looking around the wiggles of the coastline which we had yet to traverse.... The most amusingly named bay immediately ahead "Booby's Bay"

With the wind now pretty much behind us we made good strolling speed, coming across one family; father wearing a worn Barber Jacket and leaning on a well to do cane, younger son laying at his feet and older son (looking somewhat embarrassed) to his side. The Dad almost have off an air of "how dare you pass us" .... Well excuse me but you are in the middle of the path.... Whilst Mum (who reminded me of a Mrs Bucket) phaffing about with camera and tripod... It was clearly family portrait time with the full view of Booby's Bay and crashing Atlantic waves behind..... Now whatever people, but don't have that air about you when all we are doing is politely strolling by, and we did say hello, there was no need to poke your nose higher in to the sky.... Not that it spoilt our day but did provide a little bit of light entertainment actually.

We walked around Booby's and dropped into Constaine bay where there were plenty of dogs having a lovely time chasing balls in and out of the surf.

As we stumbled on and through Tryarnon at the last minute we decided to stop at the youth hostel come coffee shop (given we are most certainly out of season everything is shut).... Having skipped lunch it was certainly time for our first Cornish Pasty!! And very welcome it was too, alas the Youth Hostel didn't have any public conveniences and the public conveniences we found on leaving were locked up.... So terrible inconvenient if you ask me.... And something which seemed to become a theme (looked public loos I mean).....

Pasty in the belly we set out on the last relatively short leg to Porthcothan, arriving around the headland and the view of a spectacular and secluded bay. We dropped down and found the B and B for the nights stay. Despite the pub not being next door but about quarter of a mile up a hill we managed to make it there for a pint and a roast vegetable and Halloumi burger which hit the spot well.

Stats: Padstow to Porthcothan
14 miles
1 pasty
1 pint
1 burger

Hurting itinerary:
Karen: small deep blister on right heel pad, large thin blister left heel. Calf muscles tight, left calf particularly ouchie, both TFLs stiff as hardened cement

Alison: small ouchie blister between toes on right foot, periformis (right) as tight as an overtightened thing, back stiff and calf muscles as solid as the rock we had been walking on.

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Holiday : Day 1

Welcome to the home of Rick Stein... Well that is what I got told, but I didn't see a sign saying that as we drove the Cornish lanes last night to arrive in Padstow.

The holiday itself we shall be walking 70 odd miles along the Cornish coastal path from Padstow to St Ives, although today, Day 1 is effectively a rest day in Padstow as we leave tomorrow morning.... Given there is 6 nations rugby on today I could say this was down to cunning planning but actually it was just fortunate planning having decided that, given the Pope had been at a conference in Wales most of the week, it made more sense to do a smash and grab and break her out of Wales and head straight down South, hence late night arrival and extra day here.

..... Blog posting delayed by beer drinking and eating...
.... Where was I... Oh yeah... Day 1....

So... Having had a hearty breakfast we headed to downtown Padstow. We strolled the few and narrow lanes of Padstow and found several potential pubs to hang out in for the rugby; the most memorable moment being the time we walked past a large pub with awning no less and Popey announcing we could watch the rugby there, I said "how do you know they show it", my eyes keenly scanning the sign advertising some of the food on the menu .... "the sign says they show it!"... So whilst I know Popey reads approximately 3 times faster then me, I had by now finished scanning the sign and despite claims of beer battered cod I had still not read anything about the rugby... "where does it say the rugby is on?" I asked, not because I didn't believe her but I just couldn't see it on the sign.... It was that point that Popey drew my attention to the 10m long banner by the side of the pub announcing "6 Nations Rugby here live" in lettering about a foot tall.... "oh" ....

Anyway as it was just still a little early for the pub we found a sign for the local conservation project "The National Lobster Hatchery" or something like that. So we decided, given it was not just any ordinary Lobster Hatchery, but the National one no less, that it deserved a visit.

As we headed towards it, it began to rain a little and we noticed, as we turned a corner quite a queue forming. I have to say I was a little surprised, but given it was the off season and only just before 11am maybe there wasn't much on in downtown Padstow so the Hatchery was obviously an unexpected but popular choice. Popey had clearly been thinking the same as it was with some surprise she said to me "gosh, that is quite a queue"... "yes",I said "I wonder what it's for, do you think the hatchery is that popular?" .... It was with that a local who we had been walking alongside gave us both what can only be described as a bizarre look as he told us "Rick Stein is doing a book signing in his deli from 11 to 12".... It was then we realised that the first posher looking establishment with the queue was in fact HQ Stein, the deli bar to be precise, and the more drab looking corrugated building at the far end of the car park was in fact the Hatchery!

We did quickly dive into the deli to catch a glimpse of the man himself, but we were too early, so we had a shot of the Lemonade they were handing out (didn't go so well with the after taste of black beauties cough sweets).

The Hatchery was, well a hatchery, but also quite an interesting project to ensure that Lobsters have a safer home to start their little lives. It was quite an interesting mini tour, and given I ticked the gift aid box on the way in I got a one year free pass so can return again for free should I wish.... Within a 12month period.

Have seen all we could at the H we headed out to find the queue had now completely gone and Rick was still dutifully sitting at his desk with a cup of coffee looking ever so slightly bored. So we did what we clearly had to do, buy a book, get it signed and have our picture taken with him!!

After all that excitement it was definitely time for a pint!

We headed back and found ourselves a nice little table in the corner of the ever so slightly well advertised rugby pub. Which is where we stayed watching the Italy Scotland game (rubbish), followed by the Welsh France game (brilliant) whilst nursing a couple of pints of Doom Bar (given this was the local brew it had to be the done thing)....

As we had dinner booked at Paul Ainsworth's place (no 6), and if you don't know who he is then, well he is another great chef, we decided to watch the first half of the England game from our B & B... Have to say it wasn't terribly hard to rip ourselves away from the tv at half time as the game was pretty poor.. We were the first people to arrive at the restaurant which was actually quite nice, the place soon filled up, so having just us to serve at the beginning meant it was all quite relaxed and the staff had the opportunity to be a little chattier. Without going into too much detail we both had enjoyable first courses, and both had the same (and equally delicious) mains of steak and ox cheek (yum!).... The cheese taster we shared and we were pretty sure the waiter got the cheeses mixed up, but they were all still pretty good.... Unless you've been to Paul's before it probably goes without saying the the choice of allege puddings to select was the Great British menu winning dessert "Taste of the fairground" which we duly ordered and scoffed!! Ummmm mmmmm.....

Having carb loaded then with good beer, and heaps of sugar we struggled back to the B and B in order to get a good nights rest before the start of the walking!!

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Location:Padstow, Cornwall