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  • Writer's pictureJane Smith

Day 10 - Tintagel to Crackington Haven

Last night from my window I could see concerning scenes. Various emergency services vehicles were attending at the beginning of the coastal path, including the coastguard and Air Sea Rescue with an ambulance. I was worried to see the ambulance wait a long while and then eventually drive slowly away. I discovered this morning that the patient was one of the lovely couple that I had breakfast with yesterday. He had had what sounded like an ACL injury, and had ended up lying on the coast path for 4 hours before anyone had been able to get to him. Then he was told it would be a 10 hour wait in an ambulance, as his injury wasn’t life threatening. I was relieved that he was essentially ok, but his experience meant that I set off with even more caution today.

Amazing walking weather again, blue skies and enough of a breeze to make the exertion bearable. It’s forecast to get a lot hotter though, and the next two days are a tougher walk than today, with Friday’s sounding quite intimidating. So I’ve decided to reduce the strain and am having some of the contents of my rucksack transported for tomorrow and Friday. It will hopefully make it a more pleasant experience.

I‘m glad nobody watched my getting through one of the narrowest types of pinch stiles. It wasn’t elegant.

I met another solo woman walker a little older than me on the way to Boscastle. She is doing the whole of the coastal path. That is quite an undertaking - I am finding this section some of the most challenging walking I’ve ever done. She started on the same day as me, and has said that she has accumulated injuries steadily as she’s been going. Her legs were scraped and scarred, and she pointed out the thick strapping on a knee and an ankle. We agreed that challenges like this are important, but I continued even more cautiously.

Later I met David, who runs a website for long walks. He told me of the various adventures he has had on European walks in particular. If you’re interested, his website is

The landscape this morning was astonishing. Dramatic cliffs and towers with the seabirds soaring ahead, all with a backdrop of blue. And on the ground many wild flowers and nesting birds who fly up in alarm as I passed, singing urgently at me, inviting me to keep moving. Although I was pleased to get something to eat, it was disappointing in a way to descend to Boscastle and back to humanity.

The National Trust has an excellent cafe in what used to be the ‘pilchard palace’, where they processed and pressed fish. It also has a sobering sign showing how high the floodwaters came in 2004. It’s astonishing that no one was killed or injured.

After my NT sandwich, I made the steep climb (one of many today) up to the top of the cliff above Boscastle. There I met the Plymouth Ramblers, a very cheerful and friendly group who were extremely supportive. That sort of interaction really gives me a boost, not just because of the benefit to the charity. I find myself walking with a spring in my step afterwards.

I had considered doing all the rest of the walk from Boscastle by road, to lose some of the very draining zawns. But that would have meant missing the waterfall at Pentargon, which I’d heard was spectacular. Not so much.

So I took that as a sign to come off the path, and work my way up to the road via the Boscastle farm shop. This is a very busy place selling fantastic food. Whilst queuing for my excellent rocky road, one of the staff was asking me about what I was doing. I had a chat with her about it and went outside to eat my cake. A few minutes later, another two members of staff, Molly and Beth came out with an envelope. The chef Will had heard what I was doing, and the staff had done an extremely generous whip round. I was overwhelmed. What lovely people. And if I’d not decided to leave the planned route, it wouldn’t have happened.

Swiftly following on from that, I met Duncan and Antony, who are walking the coastal path in stages. They joined me for their lunch as we talked about walking, and compared rucksack weights. Mine was the heaviest….

The next 4 or 5 miles were on the road, which was fine, though not avoiding a steep incline. I had a wonderful view of Lundy, which is such a familiar view to me that it felt a bit like home.

And then at the entrance to the Strangles beach I had the opportunity to return to the path. It was going to mean more miles and more gradient, but I was nearly home and the day was glorious.

It was so worth the extra exertion. Absolutely amazing views. The hills are a total pain, but there’s nowhere like it.

That said, I couldn’t have been more pleased to reach my very friendly pub for the night. An excellent stem ginger ice cream and a quick swim was very recuperative.

And as I took a stroll to look at the sea after dinner, I had the joy of watching the St Gennys silver band rehearsing by the sea, and chatting to them and their MD beforehand. Some beautiful, skilful playing from a band that comes from the residents of a tiny area. They told me about the other bands in the vicinity, there seems to a flourishing silver band tradition round here. What a place to rehearse. I sat in the sunshine and relished their rendition of Elbow’s One Day Like This and thought what a very appropriate song it was for a memorable day.


Distance: 11.5 miles

Total ascent: 2179 feet

Calories burned: 2011

Local tipple: half of Atlantic from Rock brewery

Dinner at Coombe Barton Inn - absolutely hit the spot.

Scampi and chips

New song of the day

Paulo Nuttini: Through the Echoes

Lovely lyrics about love at a distance which seems very appropriate at the moment. Great singing too.

Video of the day:

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