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.