It was with great relief that I awoke to this mornings sunny start. Just about everything in my pack had got damp to a certain extent during yesterdays deluge. When it rains that hard and you're out walking for hours it doesn't matter how good your waterproof stuff is, you will get wet, water will get in your boots, the banknotes in your wallet will get wet, if you're camping you will realise that even your sleeping bag got wet.
Heading west from Bodmin offered three choices of route to Wadebridge. I ruled out the Camel Trail, a path along a disused rail track, as I was sure this section would be very muddy. The A-roads around here are busy, narrow and twisting, they don't cater for pedestrians at all. Having survived this far I'd much rather finish my journey on foot than in a hearse, so I went for the third option, those country lanes again.
The lanes were very quiet indeed, as I followed the River Camel on it's southern side I saw as many people on horseback as driving vehicles. There were vineyards to be seen in the valley here. The hills were harsh again, in Bishops Wood I carefully made my way down a 28% descent, the steepest signposted hill I've come across in all 44 days.
By midday I'd reached Wadebridge. I stopped there and bought myself a full English breakfast in a pub. As I finished my meal I was delighted to get a call from my partner Lea telling me that she was also in town. Having had a shorter than usual day at work she'd driven all the way down from Exmouth to surprise me.
When we left the pub Lea drove on ahead to Padstow while I made my way there on the Camel Trail. It was superb here, a good hard surface taking it along the Camel estuary with spectacular views all the way. The trail was very busy with walkers and cyclists enjoying the pleasant day. The bicycle hire shops at each end were doing good business. I wasn't surprised, I don't think I've ever seen a better example of an old railway line being converted for leisure use.
Padstow was a wonderful little place. The harbour area is full of charm and character, I was very glad I'd decided to go out of my way a little and include it on my route. There were plenty of people in town and Rick Stein's famous fish n' chip shop had a queue out of the door. We spent a couple of hours sat by the harbour people watching and savouring the atmosphere.
We've decided to spend the night three miles further down the coast at Harlyn. I walked here from Padstow along the road. For the first time in this journey I find myself face to face with the Atlantic Ocean. This is real surfers territory, as I arrived there were dozens of them in the sea at Harlyn Bay.
Tomorrow I will make my to Newquay, the UK's surfing capital, via the South West Coast Path.
GPS track click here
Mileage today; 17.97 miles, walking time 4 hrs 44 mins, average walking speed 3.8 mph
Weather; bright spells, max 17C
Cumulative mileage; 933.32 miles
|The very steep hill in Bishops Wood|
|The Camel Trail crosses this old railway bridge between Wadebridge and Padstow|