Cornwall II – Stage 1
Padstow 18th May 2014
This journey is more about finishing something I started two years ago: Cornwall
Always nice to set off in fine weather. At times, I spend too much time analysing the forthcoming weather patterns. I sit around expecting the forecasted rain, only to be standing in the garden with glorious blue skies.
I try to just get on with it now, but generally, fail miserably … far too much procrastination!
Padstow rests on the mouth of the Camel estuary and the fishing grounds of the Atlantic. In the medieval period Padstow was commonly called Aldestowe (meaning ‘old place’).
As with many journeys I’ve undertaken from here, it all generally starts with the descent onto the Camel Trail.
The Camel Trail forms part of the National Cycle Network route no.32., which is managed by the charity SUSTRANS.
My timing is perfect (not intended) as I cycle behind Treats On Trikes. Catch them in the video below.
The trail meanders up-stream following the Camel river to its source of Bodmin Moor.
Many of the original railway line platforms are still in existence.
Part of the line is still in use over the summer with the Bodmin and Wenford Railway historical trust.
Bodmin also houses Cornwall’s Regimental Museum.
England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland encompasses over 14,000 miles of cycle network. A third of this, is off-road trails like the Camel. Then, it follows well researched and marked routes/roads all over the UK. These tend to be very peaceful back-country-roads.
Most of the routes flow directly into one-another. Leaving route 32, I join route 3. Which will take me South West through the heart of Cornwall.
Leaving Bodmin heading over the busy A30 towards Lanhydrock House.
As with anywhere else, collecting water is usually a struggle. Here, I make use of the toilets at Luxulyan. Just a tad warm, along with a hint of soap! I’ll boil anyway before use e.g … by following my well rehearsed technical process; ‘BiG bubbles, no troubles’!
I decide to set up camp early, so as to get a feel of the land wild camping in the UK. I’m not on the Moors or anything similar, so a bit of stealth could well be the way forward.
After what seems like an eternity searching for a spot, I set-up in a corner of a green pasture. Being fully aware that there is no live-stock around or likely to be.
After checking the boundary for dog-walking-tracks and the freshness of any vehicle spore through the gate. Also, having a good look for any overlooking properties/houses that might give one away.
The next day I dutifully follow the route into St.Austell and pass the Eden Project.
The no.3 signs through St.Austell were easy to follow. If not a bit confusing around the Eden Project though.
As I pop out of St.Austell, it gently throws me onto the Pentewan Valley Trail onwards to Mevagissey.
Mevagissey is one of those idyllic Cornish fishing villages catering fully for the tourism sector with fancy-extortionate-restaurants. But, there’s always an abundance of superb Fish’n’Chips to be had at a more reasonable cost.
The climb out of Mevagissey will test any seasoned cyclist.
Polkirt Hill is not for the faint hearted on a ladened bicycle or any bicycle come to that … even cars seem to be struggling!
Soon I was coasting backdown a hill again. Always an upside!
I was well impressed when I turned a corner and there’s this stunning English castle.
Lunch stop in a church yard: St Michael Carehays. Always guaranteed peace!
The route kind of disappeared onto the beach near Treworlas. It was a case of pushing through the sand and hauling. That’ll bugger my rims with braking.
The bike was even heavier, as I’d just filled up my water vessels at the toilets. 2 x 2 litres water bottles, plus a 4 litre water bladder. So 8 kg’s of extra dead weight.
I was soon then on the look out for my second wild pitch.
Fortunately, it didn’t take long. After pushing through a field, I reach another field of Rapeseed. Always careful not to damage crops. This is really more stealth camping. Careful does it!
My days so far have been dry. Not for long though. The clouds are hanging over as I wake.
It’s not too far to cycle down to the King Harry Ferry (chain) to cross the River Fal.
FREE for walkers and bicycles. Don’t get that too often!
Got to say: from both sides of the river, very beautiful.
With the rain coming down in buckets, it’s just best at times to look for a refuge. Trilissick gardens toilets it is then!
The day improved and I made headway through Penryn and towards Coverack. By this juncture, I’ve deviated off the cycle network, as my goal for the next day is the YHA at Coverack.
My best camp spot to date. Embedded in Chygarkye Woods on the edge of Goonhilly. This is wild camping in the first order.
As with any start to setting up camp: dry the tent after the previous night.
Get a brew on and put ones feet up.
Dinner as ever includes the customary pasta and tuna.
Now I’m starting to add a tad more flavour to my meals with mayonnaise and a sprinkling of English mustard to the mix. TaStY.
Chygarkye Woods 20th May 2014
Stage 2 to follow.
You can click on each photo in this the post for an enhanced Flickr view or the above Flickr slideshow for further photos for this post.