Saturday 21 May 2016
Elmscott, Devon to Bude, Cornwall
Upper Lynstone Campsite
It had rained all night and was forecast to rain all day. Had the youth hostel been nicer and had any phone reception or Internet connection then I might have been tempted to stay put. Instead, I set off after a deluxe breakfast of porridge with drinking chocolate, this time with added nuts and tinned rice pudding on the side. Oh how I love a full English!
I had been warned that today was a hard section – I counted 9 steep scrambles down followed by an immediate steep scramble up. It was unrelenting, but fun. The first one of these was at Welcombe Mouth.
The tide was out and all along this section of coast a wave-cut platform of sandstone ridges was visible jutting out from the base of 300+ million year-old cliffs. Regardless of any opportunities to access the sea where the rivers flowed out, swimming around here was clearly not a realistic option until Sandy Mouth.
I came across 2 huts on the cliff top where one could take shelter and admire the views. The first was Ronald Duncan’s Hut, overlooking Marsland Mouth, the Marsland River being the Devon/Cornwall border. In the hut was a writing table, complete with paper and pens, for inspirational thoughts and poems. I didn’t stop here for long.
I crossed the Marsland and stepped into Cornwall.
It started raining heavier and I was getting soaked. It wasn’t cold though and, due to high exertion, I didn’t bother wearing a waterproof.
I stopped for a break from the relentless rain, and some much-needed chocolate, in the Hawker’s Hut high on Vicarage Cliff. What a view from this tiny little shelter. It had lots of graffiti and the oldest I could find was from 1952.
The wind picked up and I was finally forced to don my jacket. I knew I was in Cornwall because I was suddenly enveloped by a thick mist. I think it was GCHQ trying to obscure my view of their impressive-looking listening post (at least I think that’s what it was).
Sandy Mouth has a cafe and I was grateful for a break, a coffee and some lunch. It was still raining so I followed up with tea and cake until the rain eased.
It was only a short walk to Bude but the rain came back. Bude has 2 sandy beaches and a tidal pool at the base of the cliff in between them.
I liked the look of this town as I crossed the beach, the river and the canal. I made my way slowly to the campsite just outside town as I could see blue sky heading my way. Hurrah.
I returned from a hot shower to find 5 guys pitching their tents near me. They had walked from Boscastle and I met them for a drink in the pub later. They have been doing a walking weekend every year for 24 years and we swapped stories over a couple of pints. I enjoyed their company.
After a very wet and miserable day, there was a lovely sunset.