05 June 2008

Days 2 - Sea, tea and niggly knee

Bone Valley (Penzance) to Pengoon Farm - 22/5/08

I'm currently hiding in my tent so I thought I might as well crack on with the blog while I'm trapped. You might assume that I'm hiding from the rain but you'd be wrong (for a change). I'm in fact sheltering from the piercing gazes of the four toddlers from the pitch next to mine. They seem to have found something intensely fascinating about my visage and are content to stand in a silent huddle and stare at me. Finding this a touch on the creepy side, I've retreated to my sanctuary whilst they go and find another hiker to examine.

Unnverving children aside, how has the second day on the road gone I hear you ask? The succinct answer would be slightly schizophrenic I suppose. This morning, as I meandered along the winding coastal path from Penzance, I felt extremely privileged to be doing what I'm doing. On the flip side, after waiving goodbye to the sea (next time I see it will hopefully be in Scotland) and heading inland, it all fell apart and I found myself longing for the campsite well before it appeared.

The problem was not the change in scenery (though I am something of a fan of the sea), but rather the effect that the coastal path had had upon my right knee. It had started to niggle around lunchtime, but after a pit-stop in Marazion to fill up on Cream Tea (whilst in Rome etc), it seemed to have sorted itself out. It would appear, however, that it was merely shy and after an hour or two to bolster its courage, it returned to spend the day as an unwanted companion. It's not so bad that I struggle to walk, but it's irritating enough to be very hard to ignore as I trundle along. Ah well, no one said that this was going to be easy I suppose, and on the plus side I've got a rest day coming up the day after tomorrow so I can give it chance to mend a little.

For now though, I think I might brave a peek outside and see if my audience has dispersed. Mind you, it's a good incentive to get back on the trail and move on to a new site so that I can stop feeling like an exhibit.

Farewells, frustrations and the kindness of strangers

It's begun. Land's End is behind me (about 10 miles behind me in fact) and my journey is shorter than it was last night. Granted it is only 1% shorter (if that) but however you look at it, that's going in the right direction.

I must admit that, even a whole day in, the fact that I've finally started this big adventure has yet to hit home. I'm sure that in the coming days it will strike me like an anvil to the face but for now I'm happy to believe myself to be out for a weekend of rambling. That being the case, I'm happy to say that my "weekend" has started rather nicely.

After spending the night at the all but deserted Land's End Hotel (can't get much closer to the start than that really) and having the obligatory cheesy photo by the famous signpost, it was finally time to set my boots to the path and head North. For the first hour it turned out that I would be enjoying some company in the form of my Dad. Never one to waste good walking weather he was keen to walk off breakfast and being glad of the company, we set off along the coastal path together. Of course, that only served to delay the emotional goodbye's and "good lucks" but having already been on the trail for part of the morning somehow made the whole affair a bit easier.

After finally parting ways, my route took me over the most westerly hill in England, Chapel Carn Brea. I would like to tell you that the views from the top were stunning, but I'm afraid my efforts to reach the summit died about half way up the thickly overgrown "footpath". Instead, I decided to veer off and leave the shrubbery filled Carn Brea behind me and instead concentrate on reaching the iron age village of Carn Euny. And reach it I did, though even looking at the maps now from the "comfort" of my tent, I can't quite figure out how. I remember taking a slightly dubious shortcut through someone's garden and then I was somehow wandering around the ruins. Not knowing how I had got there made getting out again somewhat tricky, but after plodding through a few fields and elegantly heaving myself over a wall, I managed to get back on track.

The rest of the walk was blessedly uneventful, although my shoulders were starting to protest against the weight of my pack long before I was able to shrug out of it. I suspect this is going to be a recurring theme over the next couple of weeks whilst my body adjusts to the extra strain. Apologies in advance therefore for all the moaning I will almost certainly be doing on the subject.

To counter the moaning, allow me to speak of my delight about my first "freebie" of the trip. Before leaving, I fashioned a sign that I could strap to my trekking poles when making camp each night, declaring my intentions to walk the weather map for charity and making a general call for donations. Having had a shifty look at my poster whilst I was showering, my new neighbours decided to donate some home made Banana bread to the cause. I'm not quite sure how to enter Banana bread on the sponsor form, but to save any confusion I've decided to brew a nice cup of coffee and consume the donation on Katherine House's behalf. It's tough, this fundraising malarky isn't it?