Days 0.5, 1, 2

A lot has happened since the last post, so I’ll quickly bring you up to speed:

I would like to tell you that we rose early on the day following our grueling day of travel, but unfortunately that was not the case.  Trevor had hopes of seeing Stonehenge, which I have of course seen so many times I may as well have been involved in the planning of it, but I was willing to go along for the ride – especially considering Salisbury’s train station had direct service to Penzance.  We made the short walk to Ringwood, and by around noon we were being carried toward Salisbury, where we saw one of Britain’s most iconic landmarks.  I won’t bore you with that.  The important thing is that by the time we were done with our sightseeing, the earliest train we could catch to Penzance was scheduled to depart at 5:30pm – a little later than we had planned.  In a rather similar mood to the one I was in when I booked my return flight for the end of this journey (July 16, by the way, in a near-suicidal display of self-confidence) and also eager to start my hike, I decided we should chance it.

We arrived in Penzance six hours later, disembarking from our train to find a darkened city and deserted streets.  It wasn’t raining, but it had plainly just finished and a fog hung over the steep streets of the town that, in combination with the cries of the seagulls, gave it a very eerie atmosphere.  We stopped at several pubs to ask about a place to stay, and were eventually directed to the area YMCA – an “absolutely massive building” that we “just couldn’t miss,” though we needed the help of a pair of friendly Japanese men to find it, regardless.  I may never know why they were wandering the streets – they looked lost but plainly they had navigational ability to spare – but I’m glad they were.  A few more minutes and we had checked into the YMCA, where we spent the night.

After breakfast the next morning, we caught a bus to Land’s End, which took the scenic route and eventually deposited us on the doorstep of the Atlantic at around 1 PM.  To my dismay, the entire area had a fun park theme, complete with Dr. Who iMax and all kinds of other tourist traps.  The commercialization even extended to the famous sign depicting the distance to New York (3147, I believe.  I’ll edit this later to make myself look smart if I’m wrong.) and John O’Groats (874).  If we wished to stand next to the sign and be photographed, it would have to be done by a professional photographer and it would cost us 9 pounds 50 pence.  On a once in a lifetime expedition such as this one, after traveling literally thousands of miles and for which I had budgeted enough money to stay in moderately hospitable accommodations for every night of the way, you might think it silly to pass a “beautifully framed” photograph such as this one up for a mere 10 pounds, but that is just what I did.  Trevor and I snuck a photo from a more distant location.

From Land’s End it was a ten mile hike back to Penzance – a route that took us along footpaths, roads, through a narrow ravine with spiked vegitation on both sides, up a hill, down a hill, through someone’s yard, through the remains of an ancient village, through a farmer’s field, through another farmer’s field, onto another road, and finally deposited us at a campsite just to the north of Penzance a mere four hours later.  We were exhausted, and it began to rain just as we arrived, so we hurriedly pitched our tent, crawled in, and listened to the neighboring tent, which contained a man who had evidently just cycled from John O’Groats talking about his voyage.

All of this brings us to this morning.  We struck camp around 7, thoroughly damp and miserable from the rainstorm that had taken place during the night.  The campsite owner came out to offer us a cup of tea, which brightened my mood but not the weather.  Shortly after our gear was packed up, the skies opened up and we walked into Penzance in a downpour.  Today’s walk was pretty ambitious.  I haven’t mapped it out yet, but I would guess it was anywhere from 20 to 21 miles.  We traced a route east from Penzance, along the southwest coast path, before turning slightly northeast.  We stopped for lunch ten miles away in Leedstown,  and there decided that we hadn’t had enough walking for the day and would instead very much like to walk the same distance again.  The sun came out during the afternoon and finally, blistered and tired, we shambled into Redruth and engaged in an arduous process of calling B&B after B&B in order to hunt out the best bargain.  For those that believe I really did that, I’ll give you this fact:  I placed three phone calls.  One was to a campsite 2.5 miles away (no way), one was to a B&B that went to voicemail, and one was to the Bed and Breakfast we’re in now.  The part about it being the best bargain was true, at least.

I have a lot more I could write, including some miscellaneous thoughts I had along the way, but I feel as though I’ve already written a lengthy novel and should end it here.  I think it will be pretty easy for you to imagine what it is I do in a given day (hint: I walk) so for the next posts maybe I’ll keep the descriptions to a minimum and leave room for some other stuff.  I’m also intending to create a page that shows what I’m carrying, as well as a page with a map that shows where I am.  This last one, at least, should be up tonight.

I’ll update again the next time I have a power outlet.


One Response

  1. I just booked a flight from Brussels to Manchester for June 1st and get in at 3.25 local time. I’ll check rail schedules and will make sure we have a beer that night. Hope the walks going great and keep in touch. Cheers mate!

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