Saturday, May 5, 2012

South West Coast Path: Day 2 - Portreath to Gwithain and St Ives

Today I meant to go 17 miles...that didn't happen.  Forecast was for 100% chance heavy showers and 31mph wind with gusts which were higher.  I ate down a big English breakfast, donned my walking gear (windbreaker, swimming trunks, and one pair of trainers that I brought - 2nd pair were buried in the bag to stay dry), and set out.  Made it to the next village (7 to 8 miles later) and figured I should probably catch the bus to my final destination of St Ives.  Weather was just that inclement.  I didn't see ANY other walkers, a few people driving by who would stop, try to go up a hill and turn around.

Portreath as I was leaving.  You can see the whitecaps on the water if you look hard.

One of the few other pictures I dared taking.  Doesn't do it any justice to what it felt like.  Never been in a storm like that before.  

Wind was really pushing me around.  If I had a headwind I probably would have had to turn back.  Mostly a crosswind and occasionally a tail wind that would almost throw me down the trail.  It's the only time I've ever wondered if I could recognise the signs of hypothermia in myself if it got to that.  I don't do particularly well when I get cold and wet, and I was definitely very very very wet.  A drowned rat to say the least.  I pushed myself pretty hard to keep a bit warmer and kept drinking, even though I wasn't thirsty.  The good part about it being a really wet day was I didn't need to worry about finding a place to hide to go to the bathroom.  No one else anywhere to be seen.

As I approached the next village (Gwithain) an older chap who was walking back toward the cafe and carpark offered me a coffee and to drive me to the nearest bus stop.  Well Howard ended up driving me to St Ives (only a few miles by road, much more by coast path) as he said I would have to wait a few hours for my bus.  Really nice guy and definitely saved my butt.

Spent the afternoon drying out.  Fortunately, since I bagged everything inside the waterproof bag I was using I had dry clothes to wear.  Relaxed, showered, warmed up with a few cups of tea, and then decided to explore St Ives.  Unfortunately, it was still very windy and rainy, so I ended up going to a nearby cinema and saw the Avengers.  When I came out it had passed so I got to take a few pictures and then find a place to eat.

Went to an organic locally sourced burger place called Blas (see their website ).  Next town I was walking to was where the beef came from.  Really really yummy food.  A couple I chatted with at my table (most tables were shared) said they'd been rescued by folk on rainy days before.  Waitresses in the place were quite surprised when I said how far I walked the previous day.  Apparently not the typical distance people walk.  They also said the forecast for the next day wasn't great either.

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