Gone soft

Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later. After being a stoical skinflint and camping above Boscastle last week, rather than going down for a night in the Cobweb Inn, I have given in, in the face of gale force winds today and heavy rain forecast for most of the next 24 hours – I’m staying in a hostel tonight in St Ives. Really looking forward to my first night indoors in a proper bed for over two weeks!

It’s been a good week. Having bumped into another hiker on the South West Coast Path last week, name of Rhino, he suggested staying in Padstow for a couple of days last weekend for their May Day celebrations. I was in two minds about it, but I’m so glad I went. The weather was atrocious, but everyone in the town really throws themselves into the celebrations, and of course there are lots of tourists too, celebrating the coming of Spring. It has been a tradition there for centuries – a Maypole is set up, the streets are decorated with freshly cut sycamore boughs, and the Obby Osses come out of their stables and prance around the streets, led by the Teasers to the music of drums and piano accordions. There is a Night Song which is sung at midnight, with everyone crowded into the streets, and a Day Song which is sung on the three parades during the day, all about the cycle of the seasons, the dying and rebirth of Nature. And of course, being England, a lot of alcohol is drunk in the course of these celebrations!

After taking two whole days off in Padstow, and consuming far too much beer and too many pasties, I was keen to get some more miles in on the path. So when Rhino said he was planning on doing some big miles, I thought – why not give it a go? After all, his rucksack weighs twice as much as mine, this is his first long walk, he’ll cut back his miles before I do … but no. Both stubborn and a bit competitive, and both ended up a bit broken! We mostly hiked separately but it was good to have some company for dinner at the end of the day. Anyway, he’s now gone off to Helston (his home town) for Hal an Tow, another springtime festival, so I can slow my pace again!

So here are some photos from Padstow and the week’s walking.

Posters for May Day in Padstow
The Teaser and the Old Oss coming out of the Golden Lion
Musicians following the Old Oss – followers of the Old Oss traditionally wear red sashes, followers of the Blue Ribbon Oss wear blue.
the Maypole
Sea colours at Mother Ivey’s Bay
Lunch break at Merope Rocks
Treyarnon Point
Sea thrift on the cliffs at Bedruthan Steps
14th century huer’s hut at Newquay, from where the “huer” kept a lookout for shoals of sardines in the bay
Aaargh, sand dunes! Nightmare for walking!
Perran Beach – over a mile of sand
Wheal Coates pumping engine house
Rhino on a long flight of steps near Perranporth
Coastal markers? near Portreath
Wild camping at its best, on Caravannel Downs
This caterpillar got quite attached to my bootlace overnight!
Wind picking up as I arrived at St Ives

  1. John -Grey Wolf
    | Reply

    Great pictures. Walking on sand reminds me of that hot day we dropped down from San Jacinto and walked across the sand to Ziggy and the Bears

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