Day 5: West Pentire – Porthcothan

Monday, 24/04/2017
Distance: 24 km (14,9 mi) for a total of 137 km (85,1 mi)
Ascent (ca.): 850 m  (2790 ft)

Weather: Dry, a bit cooler than the previous days.

This certainly was a day of interesting encounters, but more of that later.

The first thing which made this day extraordinary happened before I even left the campsite. I’m used to paying the pitch fee at arrival but the couple hadn’t asked for it. In the morning I was told that they wouldn’t charge me because someone walking that far shouldn’t pay. Of course, I read in other blogs that LEJOGERs got paid for drinks, meals or accommodation, but it’s something completely different to experience this kind of generosity yourself!

As planned I rejoined the coast path near West Pentire. It didn’t took me long to reach the Gannel. I’ve read before that the possible route would depend on the tides. There’s one route over a tidal footbridge which is only passable at ebb tide and a really long inland detour at other times. Funnily, I didn’t even realised that I’ve already reached the Gannel because it must have been lowest ebb. I observed people walking on a sandy area and could see a footpath across these sands which would allow me to get back on the SWCP, cutting off roughly one kilometre of the route I could see on my GPSr. Fording the bit of water wasn’t a problem. Unfortunately,  because of this I didn’t took a photo of the lucky crossing.

Thus I entered Newquay. Good grief, what a nightmare! Perhaps not if you’re a surfer but my only wish was to get out of this noisy, shrill town. Although the time would have been perfect I only stopped for my lunch break shortly before leaving Newquay in a nice quiet cafĂ©.

Somewhere there in the outskirts of Newquay I talked to a man who told me that for some time now they get more German tourists looking for Rosamunde-Pilcher-settings. Well, definitely not my cup of tea. On the way towards Trenance I met an Australian backpacker. We chatted a while, exchanging details of what to expect on our ways. She has four months off from her job and wants to spend two months in the UK, mainly hiking the SWCP, before going to the US for some time in the Appalachians and in Alaska.

In Mawgan Porth I had to decide where to go for the night. Pressing on further north I suddenly heard someone in my back saying “So you’re the one heading to John O’Groats.” It turned out he had heard talking about me and thus knew that I wasn’t too far away. He was definitely more consequent in his equipment and packing for a thru-hike of the SWCP, he told me the base weight of his pack without consumables was just 7 lbs! I have to work on that, I think.

The place I was looking for to spend the night was closed due to reconstruction work. So I decided on the fastest if least appealing option of some road walking to another campsite. With all the evening camp chores done I could listen to and enjoy the light rain.

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4 thoughts on “Day 5: West Pentire – Porthcothan

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