Arriving on the Newquay plane today means I can manage a half day of walking. I’m staying at the place I finished last time, a crumbling family hotel with board games, quiz nights and an ancient labrador. On the beach a couple of good citizens are picking up litter – wish there were a few of those where I live (including myself of course).
I haven’t been walking for about six weeks and I can feel it in my legs on the steep pull up out of the bay. The sky is overcast but there’s no mention of rain in the forecast.
Down in the valley I cross a little wooden bridge and then up the other side from where I can see what looks like a lighthouse on Stepper Point. From here it looks all downhill on the map into Padstow – but more of that later.
One of the stiles is offering refreshments but it is much too early – I have to earn them.
I walk high up above a cove called Butter Hole – must be the colour of the sand?
…..and later the sky starts to darken ………..here we go again. Off to the left is a tall grey brick chimney and as the rain starts to get heavy I head towards it to see if it can provide any shelter – the wind picks up, practically throwing me through the arched entrance.
Inside it is fairly dry and I prepare myself for a wait. There are two arched windows looking out to the sea – maybe this was a look out tower.
Half way through the remains of my ham sandwich, I am startled by the sudden appearance of a young girl in the entrance. She is dressed unsuitably in a skimpy top and long gypsy skirt, a handbag over her shoulder. Both her hair and clothes are drenched.
“Just my luck” she says in a strong Cornish accent, “always happens on my day off”. I shrug and mumble something about it soon clearing up, wondering how else I can continue this conversation in such a confined space. There is a few minutes of silence.
“Ah well, no peace for the wicked” she says over her shoulder and lowering her head into the driving wind and rain, disappears. I am left with a feeling I have just witnessed a visitation from another century.
It looks like the rain has set in so resigned to my fate I too set out to rejoin the path which leads me down the side of the estuary into Padstow but there is still a way to go.
Across the bay I can see what must be Rock where I will be starting my walk tomorrow.
I pass the coastguard station and a little hamlet called Hawkers Cove. Here, I mistakenly walk some way up a minor road thinking it would lead to Padstow but a quick look at my online mapping app tells me I’m wrong…………..sigh. I turn round and find the path again which leads to the edge of an area of dunes – and then get lost again. This time it is really not my fault – I consider the options, look at my map and cannot see where I should be heading unless it’s right into the middle of a copse of drowned trees. Panicking only slightly I try walking up a narrow tarmac lane and there it is – the sign! In completely the wrong place………I will write a letter……………..
After all this excitement I arrive at the war memorial which marks St. Saviour’s Point.
….and from here on it IS downhill into Padstow……………………………
Distance: 6 miles