One of the disadvantages of long distance walking is that you have to keep moving base. The BBC weather forecast warns me it will rain all day and so I have chosen today to move to a new B&B in Newquay.
As soon as I leave the Portreath Arms, pulling my suitcase behind me, it starts to rain. Luckily the bus stop is very close by and it has a canopy. In the shelter I set about texting every member of my family, telling them I am moving and it is raining. (What did we do before the days of smart phones?)
For the rest of the day it pours with rain. The downpour is relentless and I am unable to get my camera out for photographs. As a result, all the photos on this blog post were taken on a different day. This breaks one of my rules of blogging (that all photographs should be taken on the day of the actual walk) but a blog post without photographs is like a sandwich without a filling. Bland and unappetising.
From Newquay bus station, the walk to the new B&B in the rain is dispiriting, but I cheer up when I find my tiny room had its own, even tinier, en suite shower. I had been sharing a shower room in Portreath, never an easy experience because without a dressing gown, you have to carry everything with you – not just soap and shampoo, but the clothes you are going to change into afterwards.
An en suite of my own! Wonderful. No matter how wet I get on my walk, at least I can look forward to a hot shower.
I start my walk along residential streets, heading towards the kiosk where I bought a bottle of pop yesterday. The rain buckets down and the place is deserted. Picking up the South West Coast Path I continue along the track that winds around and down towards Fistral Beach, where large breakers are rolling into the shore. Surprisingly, the beach is fairly crowded with surfers. I guess if you’re wearing a wet suit you don’t care about the rain.
Walking across the beach I become soaking wet. At the far side, I go into a café and order a pot of tea. The walk today is going to be short (I’m only planning to walk around the coast of Newquay itself) but I am already longing for my hot shower.
Two young surfers walk into the café. They are good-looking young men and have peeled their wet suits down to their waists, exposing bare chests and taut six packs. An overweight couple are sitting on the next table. The man looks over at them and frowns, the woman looks away hastily but I notice she can’t help sneaking quick peeks.
Convincing myself the rain has slackened, I leave the café and walk towards Towan Head. If the weather had been decent, I would have walked out to the end of the peninsula, but I can’t face it in the lashing rain today.
Below is a photo of Towan Head in the sunshine, taken the next day from the other side of Newquay Bay.
Now I am walking southeast, towards Newquay town. There is no beach on this side, just a cliff and rocks below. The sea is surprisingly calm after the rolling waves of Fistral Bay. I pass a group of young people in wetsuits, picking their way carefully through the gravel of the path. Their minivan is parked further along and, from the writing on the side, I realise the group are going coasteering.
Nearing Newquay, I pass a historic lookout point – the Huer’s Hut. From here a watch was kept for shoals of pilchards. If one was spotted the alarm was raised and the fishing boats would set out, anticipating a good haul. It is no longer used.
The next day, I took the photograph below and you can see Huer’s hut- the small white building perched high on the cliff, near the midpoint of the photo.
The rain has settled into a grey drizzle and I continue onwards towards Newquay beach and town. Few people are down by the sea, but the streets are crowded. I am sure the place looks better in the sunshine but it seems drab and noisy today.
I planned to walk to the end of Newquay Bay, but I decide to wait until tomorrow. I’ve only covered 4 miles, and less than 3 along the coast, but I’ve had enough. I stop at a café for a cream tea and give the weather one last chance to stop raining. It doesn’t. And so I head back to my B&B.
I have been looking forward to my hot shower but, unfortunately, I discover the nozzle only produces a fine spray of freezing cold droplets.
Miles walked = 4
Total miles = 1,250