Cornish ChallengeEager to leave the Youth Hostel before our little, erm, discretion was discovered, and with the knowledge that we had another long walking day ahead of us, we decided to forgo a shower and were setting off through the wet fields back onto the South West Coast Path by 7:20am. Breakfast was a cereal bar apiece and a few nuts and seeds, but we planned on something more substantial at Sennen.

A rocky, undulating path took us high above the cliffs, past Whitesand Bay and eventually into Sennen by way of a sandy track. Sadly no cafes were open yet, so we had to settle for a cold cheese and onion pasty and a bottle of diet coke, which we ate on a bench overlooking the quay.

Unfortunately the occasional drizzle became more persistent, and after our rather soggy and uninspiring second breakfast we started the climb towards the theme park that is Land’s End. The path is rather exposed here, and as we trudged into the driving rain my feet started to throb like b*ggery. I can honestly say that this part of the walk was my lowest point, and I just couldn’t see how I was going to complete today, let alone the rest of the trek.

The photograph of me by the flag pole near the First and Last house nicely displays my misery.

Me looking suitably miserable!

Me looking suitably miserable!

Luckily the rain cleared as we walked away from Land’s End, and, as we dipped and climbed towards the National Coastwatch Institution building, the sun had started to show its face.

A natural arch

A natural arch

We decided on a lunch stop at the seasonal café at Porthgwarra- however, we had been consuming sweet snacks as we walked, and so really fancied something savoury and to our dismay the only savoury foods on offer were… Cornish pasties!

We really didn’t want them, but knew we had to eat something, and they were at least warm… I took my shoes off to give the feet a rest, then it was onwards and literally upwards, climbing towards the open air Minack Theatre, which we didn’t see as there is an entry fee to go in.

This was followed by an impressively steep descent down to Porthcurno beach on a particularly twisty stepped path. The sun was fully out now and it was becoming uncomfortably warm.

The path down to Porthcurno Beach

The path down to Porthcurno Beach

There followed lots of walking along narrow muddy paths high above the cliffs, brushing through thick, wet foliage which seemed to steam and shimmer in the heat. This felt almost sub-tropical but had a way of sapping our energy. So much so that we kept casting nervous glances at the guide book and calculating that we still had much distance to cover. This was further compounded by a nasty beach section that included picking our way carefully over huge loose boulders.

The Celtic Cross near Lamorna

The Celtic Cross near Lamorna

My instructions seemed to indicate that after the Tater Du lighthouse the path was completely level all the way into Lamorna so we looked forward to some easy walking.

It lied. It was not easy nor level. The path into Lamorna is horrid; up and down, up and down high above the sea, it requires you to constantly negotiate jumbles of large rocks. At one point Helen heaved herself up onto a large boulder, and, on seeing more of the same ahead, screamed ‘Oh bloody hell!!’

Lamorna Cove

Lamorna Cove

We were both exhausted by the time we finally reached Lamorna Bay, but luckily the path becomes tarmac after Mousehole and into Newlyn. It seemed to take an age to walk through Newlyn, but we finally reached Penzance were we fished out the guidebook again and realised just how far it was to the Youth Hostel- which was actually out of town.

Not wanting a repeat of last night, there was only one thing for it- we called a taxi, who deposited us at the door. It was 9:05pm by this point and when we asked the lady on the check in desk if we could eat in the restaurant, she said, with a considerable amount of glee we thought, that we had missed it by 5 minutes. Seeing us visibly sag, she passed us a couple of takeaway leaflets with strict instructions to bring them back (and I was so hoping to keep them as a souvenir…)

A rocky cove!

A rocky cove!

We found our room where I spent a good five minutes just rubbing my poor feet and groaning before ordering a Chinese takeout, which neither of us really wanted by the time it was delivered, and found the drying room where we attempted to dry out stuff from Day One. This was only partially successful and our room soon stank of a nice combination of bachelor pad, teenage boy’s bedroom and despair… although we did finally take a shower!!

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