So here I am, down in Cornwall, although by the time I find some wifi service I’ll probably be back in the old smoke!
I’ve upped sticks and come down to Cornwall for a few days to really knuckly down on my training, for the Atacama. Although as someone rather ironically pointed out, running along by the coast is hardly going to acclimatise me for the altitude of the desert! This is a very true fact…but beggars cannot be choosers, and I feel that the constant up and down of the North Cornish coastal path is just as useful….and dare I say just as beautiful.
I’m staying in a delightful hobbit like pod in North Cornwall, just up from my favourite Cornish beach – Tregardoc. The pods are part of Caradoc of Tregardoc Farm. There are 3 in a field looking out across the sea. In fact, right now I don’t think I could be in a more beautiful place. This evening (Thursday 23rd April), I am sitting on the decking of my pod, watching the hazy sun drift slowly down towards the horizon. There is a very gentle breeze but barely. There is the sound of lambs bleating, playing with one another and calling to their mothers, who reply occasionally with rather deeper and sometimes rather dubious old man like cough bleats back. The birds are singing, there are some cows lowing who I only realised rather belatedly were watching me over the hedge whilst I used the toilet hut, but left the door open!
So, I arrived yesterday, in a haze of glorious sunshine. Threw everything into the hut, donned my running gear (christening my funky new trail shoes) and headed straight for the cliffs. Yesterday I ran a round 6 miles heading towards Trebarwith. Not another person in sight. I did run down to Tregardoc Beach, where a couple of surfers where catching some suprisingly large waves in what looked like quite a lazy sea…but the swell was good, and had I had my wetsuit I’d have joined them. I was tempted to go in for a quick dip, and paddled up to my thighs, but it is still April and the water was FREEZING, and to be fair they were wearing full length suits, boots etc. (wooses – my wetsuit is only a thigh length one, and had I had it I’d have gone in!) Still, I was quite happy with my 6 miles, was a good leg stretcher, and mind freer.
Today, getting up with the best view in the world to inspire action, to invigorate me, I set off, parking my car at what is called Lundy Bay – another very beautiful beach, and headed off along the cliffs towards Pentire, Polzeath, Greenaway and Rock. It is very up and down, and the one drawback is slowing to stop at every gate (I say drawback, but it does allow for the opportunity to pause and breathe). The going though was so beautiful, primroses, bluebells like a violet carpet, bright yellow gorse, and white May blossom, a panicked little lamb who I rather took by surprise, a couple of artists (I don’t think I featured in their paintings!), and handful of walkers. The tide was on its way out so I had a clear run across Polzeath beach which was smooth clean sand, then across the beach from Daymer Bay to rock, where I took the opportunity to head to the soft sand and pretend I was in the desert itself. A pitstop in Rock, for a cold drink, then I turned back and headed back along the beach, dodging a few over excited spaniels and labradors chasing balls, (and me!), I paused on Greenaway Beach which I delightfully had to myself. I had a proper fuel stop here, munching on a big wedge of Glug – if you don’t know what glug is, well it is my mum’s all year round deliciously scrumptios raisin & sultana cake – it really is the best cake in the world. Whatever condition you are in, whatever activity you have been doing it hits the spot! I hung out on this beach for about an hour or so, because this beach is special. If you have ever read John Betjemen poetry, or even head down here yourself you will know why. Not only is it one of the wildest beaches, with rugged rocks creating rockpools in abundance, it has a shingle for its sand which reveals a secret treasure to those that know and that have the patience to seek it. Cowrie shells. My hoard today grew by about 120 – which ain’t half bad in just an hour. I could have stayed all afternoon, but then the thought of running back later wouldn’t have been quite so appealing, so at about 15.30 I brushed of the stones from my feet, loaded up my pack onto my back and headed back. I ran on to Ephaven and then double backed up to Lundy Bay where I paused to wave to the spirits of past Halfhead dogs – Lundy, Hannah & Bramble…..Stroma is further back at Pentire, The Rumps – that was allegedly her favourite place, but I have my suspiciouns that her breath was too stinky, so the others had their ashes scattered at Lundy Beach. Still, I did attract slightly odd looks as I waved at the deserted beach, before panting my way back up to Lundy car park. A lovely couple commented “goodness, we saw you run to the top (meaning Ephaven),!” I didn’t really have a reply, I was breathless, near the end of my run so a bit cream crackered, so smiled, and said “yes, it was a bit steep!” I reached my car after 15.50 miles, promptly poured a bottle of water over me, to the wry amusement of the lovely couple as they reached the car park. I must admit to being quite pleased with myself. It’s the longest run I’ve done for a while, and as long as I can walk tomorrow I feel ready to go again tomorrow….ish!
And, a hot shower later, beer in hand, sea view, it ain’t half bad. I could so get used to this Cornish living…. 🙂
Found the very lovely Cornish Arms pub in Pendoggett for a deliciously cool pint of Doom Bar and wifi – hurrah!
My hobbit hut….