Last night was an anti-climax weather wise. Braced for torrential rain and strong winds, mere fog and drizzle were rather a let down, although there was one hairy moment during a nocturnal trip to the wash block when I couldn’t find my way back to the tent in the murk. Luckily, I spotted my footprints from the out trip in the dewy grass and followed them back to my bed. When I woke in the morning there wasn’t even fog, just a still, grey but dry – at least for the moment – day. However, the Met Office forecast (for what it was worth) predicted heavy rain starting late morning. Thus motivated, I leapt out of bed (well, wriggled – it’s a small tent), packed up my gear as fast as I could and hit the road within the hour.
Having covered extra ground yesterday it was a relatively short distance to Lizard, the end of the next stage, and I figured that if I could reach it I would both avoid losing a day to the weather and have better facilities for a wet day than a campsite in the middle of nowhere – however nice – could offer. With all the extra distance I’d done yesterday I felt justified in heading to the nearest point on the path rather than backtracking to Mullion Cove, and from there I set off towards Lizard Point as fast as I could. Unfortunately, that wasn’t very fast. The path had not been improved by hours of heavy rain and snaking round the puddles and slipping on the slick mud – which nearly had me over a few times – slowed my progress considerably.
But eventually Kynance Cove came into view with it’s particularly attractive stacks, one of which is intriguingly called Asparagus Island!
At low tide the Coast Path drops down to the beach at Kynance Cove and initially I was pleased to have a break from the mud and puddles. But between the unstable rocks and piles of seaweed it proved to be even more treacherous. After several near tumbles I was relieved to regain the relative security of a muddy path up the cliff on the other side!
But if the rain wasn’t good for me it was great for the plant life. I saw the biggest wild mushrooms I’ve ever seen in the UK on the cliff top above Pentreath Beach.
Even more exciting, I saw a family of Cornish choughs – rare birds that have only recently returned to Cornwall. I also saw them around Cape Cornwall so I’ve been really fortunate in that regard.
But a little after 10am, as I was approaching Lizard Point, it started to rain again. Anxious to avoid another soaking I abandoned my plan of walking as far as the lighthouse and headed straight for Henry’s campsite. It felt strange to be pitching my tent, rather than striking it, at that time in the morning but at least I got it up before the heavy rain started. With the rest of the day to spare I took the opportunity to do my laundry, and as I waited for it to finish, sharing the barn with an eclectic selection of naughty chickens raiding the feed bin, I could hear the rain pouring down harder and harder outside.
Happily, Lizard provided a great selection of places to hide from the weather for such a small place. And when the rain eased off a little in the late afternoon I even made it down to the Polpeor Cafe on Lizard Point – Britain’s southernmost cafe – to sample their cream tea: purported to be the best in town.
It was certainly the most filling so far, with two huge scones! It was touch and go whether I could manage my dinner after that. But after all this walking there seems to be no limit to the amount of food I can put away. For all that I hope there aren’t too many more days this wet: I’ll be both broke, and as round as a football by the time I get home!