'Not bad. It's a bit sucky though,' came the reply. (What were they on about?) 'Are you long board or short?'
'Oh long board.'
You'll be fine then.'
|The day started fine|
|Fabulous Galleon Beach Cafe|
I plodded back up the hill to Lundy Bay and the point of departure the previous evening. I know you are thinking I am being a bit retentive about not missing any part of the path - but once you start there is no end to it - chop a bit here and a bit there and next I'd be thinking- 'well Land's End is a long way down, why not cut it off and go across Bodmin?' And then where would I be?
The path wound around the promontory of Pentire Head. At the end is a knobbly bit known as the Rumps where a heart-lurching, narrow path clings to the edge of the cliff as it winds around the headland. Just offshore was the small islet, The Mouls. 'Blimey,' I thought, 'this is a bit dicey even by Coast Path standards.' At the end, a couple were lying on a rock studying the sea with binoculars. They turned to say hello and we fell into conversation. I explained I was walking the coast path. 'Well, you're very keen,' the chap said, 'to come all out here, beyond the official route.'
|Off route on the Rumps|
Still, I enjoyed the solitude and took the opportunity for an impromptu, one-woman karaoke, using my walking pole as a microphone. It was great fun.
From here it was a steady downhill path back to Polzeath. The tide was going out so I decided to walk across the beach. I climbed down into a small cove which a local chap informed me was called 'Stinky Bay'.
'Does it stink? I asked. I sniffed the air, it smelt fine to me.
After Stinky Bay was Baby Bay and then Hayle Bay proper where the lifeguards were blowing on hooters and calling through megaphones asking people to leave the water until the mist had cleared; it was impossible to see more than three feet from the shore.
|The Doom Bar|
|John Betjeman's grave|
Between here and the opposite bank is the infamous Doom Bar, the sandbank at the mouth of the estuary feared by ships and site of hundreds of shipwrecks over the years. Sharp's Brewery which brews the successful Doom Bar beer (now owned by Molson Coors) is just up the road in Rock.
I detoured across the golf course to little St Enodoc's Church sitting in the dunes and famous as the burial place of John Betjeman. Fleur Lombard, the first female firefighter to die on duty outside of wartime, killed while attempting to put out a fire in Staple Hill in Bristol is here too, and the actor Michael Harbour.
And the night shall be filled with music
And the cares that infest the day
Shall fold their tents like the Arabs
And as silently steal away.
|Rock to Padstow ferry|
|Beach at Rock|
I was finished - in more ways than one. I booked two nights, on Monday I would catch the bus(es) back to Ilfracombe and have a few days visiting family before resuming the walk at the end of next week It was maybe just as well - by now my clothes were so rank that if I decided to have a lie-in they would be perfectly capable of getting up and going for a walk all by themselves.
Distance: 6 miles
Total Distance: 167 miles
Accommodation Ranking: 8/10
Accommodation Cost: £9.50 per night.
|South West Coast Path :-)|