Rugged Tales

Wherever my feet may take me…



I emerged from my tent this morning to fog so thick I could barely see 20 yards. Since a key feature of walking the path is the stunning views I dawdled about the campsite hoping it would clear as the day warmed up, but it was just as thick at 9:00 as it had been as 7:00. I ummmed and ahhhed and eventually decided that, since it wasn’t actually raining, I really ought to walk. To that end I went over to the washblock to retrieve my boots from the drying room, donned them and strode confidently out towards the tent…and into pouring rain. I just couldn’t face two soakings in as many days and decided there and then to take the day off.

Having eaten all the food I’d bought with me yeaterday I was glad when the rain stopped after a bit so I stayed dry as I walked into Gorran Haven for supplies. A lovely small village with a little beach and tiny harbour I was surprised to see it had as many as three (small!) churches. But the most interesting sight for me was the purported 16th century smugglers cottage.


In half an hour I’d seen all the village sights. What to do with the rest of the day? If I’d been there tomorrow I might have attended the Mevagissey Ladies’ Choir concert!


As it was, I had no other option but to head to the village cafe for a cream tea. Though not able to knock Falmouth from the top spot it was nevertheless enjoyable, and the first to use a scone with sultanas: a bold but successful innovation! It also introduced me to Cornish tea, as in tea actually grown in Cornwall. I’d had no idea that there was a tea plantation in the UK, so Tregothnan tea came as a complete surprise. But it had a distinctive, light flavour I really enjoyed; I plan to mail order a stock when I get home!

Exiting the tea shop my attention was caught by two cars in matching orange ‘Spaceships’ livery. Spotting a poster in the rear window of one I snuck over to have a look. They turned out to be the support vehicles of two guys (one Brit, one Kiwi) who have set out to run the entire Coast Path in a fortnight to raise funds for, and awareness of, mental health issues. That’s the equivalent of running one and a half marathons every day for a fortnight, which would be impressive enough on smooth, flat roads but I’ve seen first hand the terrain they have to cover. For all my complaints about the weather, and the mud, and the overgrown paths, I am fundamentally walking the Coast Path because I enjoy it. But I can’t imagine enjoyment is anywhere on these guys’ radar. I had a great conversation with Phil, one of the support drivers, while he waited for the runners to arrive for some food, water and ice for their injuries. As they came into view I left them all to it, humbled by the pain they are prepared to endure for a cause about which they clearly care deeply, and the magnitude of their achievement compared to my own modest effort.