SWCP 2012: Toilet humour

I’m not deliberately setting out to offend anyone with this post, but if I do then I guess that’s a bonus. Every so often you find yourself doing a walk where a theme emerges and try as you might, it persists. Today was just such a day.

Day 2: Sunday 20 May. Crafthole to Looe

With only 9 and a bit miles to do and an estimate of 4.5 hours I wasn’t going to hurry to get going as I fully expected to have much of the afternoon spare. I lingered over breakfast and had a leisurely pack – this time achieving a more satisfactory result than yesterday when I didn’t achieve a very efficient result and had a nasty sag in the back of the Jam. After 10 miles yesterday the pack had also felt like it gained weight and was really pulling down on my shoulders.

This time I focussed on adding some stiffness to the back of the pack, thrusting my shoes down one each side of the Camelbak. I also found a big gap due to the curve of my clothes bag and took a chance by sticking my waterproof there. This helped immensely. I hadn’t had this problem in the Lakes two weeks ago which I put down to the way I’d carried the tent. So this time I tried to replicate the effect as best I could.

I shouldered the pack and headed off. It felt lighter too showing the benefits of packing properly. After the workout of yesterday my legs felt strong and my feet were on good form too.  I strode across a field to join the SWCP and cutting off a small corner. Red flags flew at the perimeter of the firing range and as I turned onto the path proper my forward progress was attended by a series of muffled pops and bangs (no that’s not the first of the toilet gags).

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I walked along the clifftop path and wet myself as I went. Not a single drop of rain fell on me but overnight precipitation had left wet grass and weeds and it was just my luck to spend most of the morning walking along one of the most overgrown paths I’d ever experienced. My boots were soaked and soon I felt the cold clammy touch of my drenched soft shell trousers caressing my ankles as I walked over Skinner’s Ball.

I carried on in this way until the path descended into Portwrinkle, one of many places on the coast path without much to offer. A slog up a road and onto the cliffs again heralded the start of today’s undulation and my pace slowed accordingly.

Downderry was a bit more promising and midday found me in the local cafe putting away a latte and one of the best pieces of coffee and walnut cake I’ve ever had.

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The path continued along the road and brought me to Seaton, the third such named place I’ve encountered on the path so far. Again a slog up a road but being a road the slope was gentler and if I have to gain height, it was a shame it didn’t last longer.

I emerged onto the cliff path and my destination came into view. Looe. A stupid name and made worse by its station code (LOO).  The path now reminded me of the worst bit so far – the up and down slog through the woods west of West Bay. I got my head down and just got on with it.

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Two and a half hours of walking and I saw my first other hikers. 5 minutes later a dog came bounding towards me with its owner shouting a warning to not let it touch me (not bloody likely anyway). The dog was dirty, very dirty. It looked very much as though the owner had been a little too late in applying whatever the canine equivalent of Diocalm is, and the dog had subsequently rolled in its “business”. I gave it a wide berth.

I was now on the cliff path below the monkey sanctuary and I imagined I could hear the chattering of monkeys in the distance, but it was more likely birds attempting monkey impressions.

Now I came across a huge pile of horse manure complete with an enormous cloud of flies. I stepped around it and the flies sensing dessert buzzed around my sweat-streaked face. I fought them off and they went back to their turd.

Eventually the up and down ordeal was over and I descended into Millendreath. What a shithole. Both of the hamlet’s two businesses were boarded up and although there were plenty of houses and it’s by the sea, it must be a pretty depressing place to live.

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Now I was on the home stretch and I rolled into Looe where I was overwhelmed by the number of tourists in the streets especially around the beachwear and pasty shops, reminding me very much of the flies around the horse shit earlier. I crossed the bridge over the river and slogged up the hill to the B&B.

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The Route The Stats
  Start:  Liscawn Inn, Crafthole
End:  West Looe
Distance: 15.38 km (9.56 miles)
Ascent/Descent: +490m / -530m
Time: 4h 07
Speed: 3.74 kph (2.32 mph)
FED: 20.64 km (12.83 miles)
FES: 5.02 kph (3.12 mph)

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