|Day 3 – April 6||Lelant to Portreath|
|Weather: Cloud, wind, heavy rain||B&B: Cliff House B&B (£38)|
|Departed: 09:45 Arrived: 15:45||Walked: 4h 55m Rested: 1 hr 19m|
|Distance Today: 15.2 mi / 24.46 km||Total Distance: 41.97 mi / 67.54 km|
|% Complete: ~ 3.82%||Pint of the Day: Skinners Ginger Tosser|
|GPS Track for: Day 3|
I picked off where I left off yesterday just outside the Badger Inn in Lelant. The rain that was expected had yet to materialize as I made the 2.5 mile journey from Lelant around the end of the estuary and back toward Hayle. I’ve done this estuary walk once before and it was just as uninspiring today as it was in 1996. A combination of roads and light industrial parks finally gave way to a wide swath of white sand and mountains of sand dunes.
I walked along the beach for half an hour knowing that at some point I would need to cut back inland before I reached the village of Gwithian. My decision to cut inland sooner rather than later was a poor one and I ended up walking aimlessly around the sea of sand dunes. Theoretically the South West Coast Path ran through these dunes but there were in fact many paths and I couldn’t find the needle in the haystack. I decided to make a bee-line for the B-road and wove my way though the St. Ives Bay “Carapar”k in the process.
I know of several LEJOGers who prefer roads to footpaths but I have to admit I’m not one of them. I’m happy to use them on occasion but I can’t imagine spending most of my time on them. For the first quarter mile or so there was a pavement (sidewalk) next to the road but this quickly disappeared and I was forced to move back and forth across the road looking for a shoulder. Often there wasn’t one on either side at which point I would walk in the lane coming towards me and then plaster myself against the hedge when an oncoming car approached. The cars had no problem seeing me, so they slowed down and gave me a wave as they passed. This game continued for a good half hour until I reached Gwithian.
It was 12:30 when I passed through the village and I was making good time so I decided to stop in at the Red River Inn. The young landlord was friendly and very passionate about his Real Ales. He had four on tap and went through each of them methodically. After careful consideration I decided on half a pint of Tinner’s Ginger Tosser. We chatted about beer for quite some time and he hauled out two pails of tap handle labels, detailing many of his favourites. He is hosting a Real Ale festival on the weekend … I wonder how long it would take to get here from Padstow (assuming it’s even possible using public transportation)? I was enjoying the conversation and the warm coal fire and could have easily stayed here all afternoon. Unfortunately I still had 7 or 8 miles to walk.
The path between Gwithian and Portreath was easy to follow and in extremely good condition. The scenery was spectacular and it was a fairly easy walk up until the last section when I encountered a very deep cut which required zigzagging down one side and up the other. Unfortunately the weather was abysmal. At about 1:30pm the driving rain started and didn’t stop. The rain was so hard that it penetrated my Gortex jacket and even my sealed map case. Walking along the cliff face meant there was nowhere to take shelter and so I was a bit late getting my gaiters on.
I reached Portreath before 4pm but my B&B landlords will be out until 6pm so I’m drying out in the Portreath Arms, conveniently located right next door. They don’t have a fire on so I’m not able to dry my stuff out.
Tomorrow’s walk to Perranporth is a bit shorter and should take less than 5 hours. It appears that the distances I estimated using “Where’s the Path” are out by about 10%, not surprising considering they are only as accurate as my mouse clicks. Fortunately I seem to be walking faster than the “Naismith Rule” average and so my timings are fairly realistic.
After Perranporth its Newquay and then Padstow where I will enjoy a day off.