Well folks, crafty I know, but for my sister’s birthday this year I managed to convince her that she should come away with me down to Cornwall for a much needed restful few days – cunningly leaving her two teenagers behind with Granny & Grandpa… So last week on the 15th February after a small debate about whose car we were going in and who was going to drive we loaded up and set off on our ever favourite road trip. When I say loaded up, I mean the car did look like we were going away for about a fortnight instead of just 4 nights! But as many of you will appreciate – one intends to take up running as a sport because you think it just entails a pair of trainers. I think most of the car was full of my running “crap”, with a small space for Pippin the labrador…who was squeezed in the boot between bottles of wine, trainers and wellies!
We have driven down to North Cornwall a million times, both Catherine and myself, separately and together, and know the road backwards, upsidedown and with our eyes closed. But yes, and it may make some of you laugh, roll your eyes to heaven (I reiterate that I was not driving), we got lost – well, not lost as such, but we did miss a turning, turned to look at each other as we realised that we were still going down small Cornish lanes in the dark when we should have at least been approaching Polzeath – it was dark and we were talking nineteen to the dozen! We did however forget what we were talking about as laughter took over!
We did eventually arrive in Trebetherick to the little cottage we were staying in, in one piece…all ready for me to begin my mini self styled MDS – or my Marathon des North Cornish Coastal Path!
Thursday, 16th February – Stage 1 – 10 miles
Woke up (reasonably early), sang very tunefully to my sister Happy Birthday, and piled presents on her bed with great childish excitement. Then the running began…the weather was cloudy, but relatively mild considering the cold I had left behind in London and Oxfordshire.
After some discussion with Catherine, I agreed that I would take Pippin with me on this first run, as it wasn’t going to be my longest and would be just a gentle pace. So after downing a bowl of porridge, loading up my pack and drinks Pippin and I headed out down onto the coastal path. Pippin looked a little dubious that Catherine wasn’t coming with us, but trotted alongside fairly happily beside me on the lead as we headed down to the beach along the mainstreet. However, at this point I rather regretted drawing what I saw then as the short straw of having the dog with me…the road down to the beach goes past a new housing development – it being a weekday workmen were in place and busy about their business. Pippin decided (or perhaps the motion of running decided for her) that it was an appropriate moment to go to the loo and promptly crapped all along the pavement as if she were leaving a trail for Catherine to follow!!!! I wasn’t impressed, needless to say I was a good citizen and gathered it all up into a bag provided for me by Catherine for just such an eventuallity – whilst a bunch of very goodnatured and amused Cornish builders watched and called out some appropriately ironic comments! None need to be repeated I assure you. We then deposited said poo bag, and hit the beach – beautiful, empty with the tide just beginning to come in…barely another person about. I let Pippin off the lead and we both charged across the expanse of wet sand wipping up our adrenalin towards the cliffs on the other side at New Polzeath. I think Pippin thought I was going to slow down and walk once we got to the coastal path as she did look a tad surprised as we continued running – but bless her, she kept up. We headed along the path, around the headland past Pentire Glaze towards the Rumps and headed ontowards Lundy…now I should explain that the walk to Lundy from Polzeath is about 3-4 miles (5 from the cottage where we were staying), and one that as a family we do regularly, however, from Pippin’s point of view, we don’t normally run it and there is usually a car at Lundy car park that takes us home. As we reached Lundy I was toying with the idea of continuing on at least to Ephaven which is just round one more headland, but I looked at Pippin who’s tongue was hanging out and she was puffing and decided that we would take the road back to Trebetherick…as we past the car park she looked most bemused that we weren’t stopping, and was quite pleased to slow to a walk when my phone rang. As we trotted down the hill back into Polzeath she was definitely tiring, but being the loyal and steadfast dog that she is she kept on – briefly bounced back with energy as we hit the beach again, but was definitely pleased as we crossed over a bridge on the other side of the beach and were stopped by some walkers who wanted to know why I was running with a pack! I felt like her trainer, every few steps calling out “good girl, come on, keep going, not much further”… she was rewarded with a large bowl of water, lunch and flopping infront of a log fire for the rest of the day. For me, a hot shower, a yummy lunch, then cowri shell hunting with my sister down on Greenaway until our hands were too cold – then we celebrated my sister’s birthday with chilled champagne, wonderuful moules marinieres followed by delicious Vouvray wine courtesy of my brother Nick to accompany beautifully cooked scallops. It is a secret weapon – and makes my running all the easier by having these delicious meals in the evening – I hasten to add all cooked by my simply wonderful sister…yum yum yum. We watched a great film (Midnight in Paris), and I contemplated a long run the following day as Pippin snored by the fire – as if she had run a marathon!