Sunday, 10 August 2014

Plymouth To Falmouth - Buskers, Morris Dancing and Cider

After a week at home, I got the train down to Plymouth and made my way to the Cremyll ferry. I have to say I thought that area of Plymouth was less than impressive and I was glad to get to the Cornish side of the Tamar estuary and start my shortish walk, through Edgcumbe park towards Cawsand. I came to a fork in the path and decided to take what looked like a short cut to the campsite. It was a short cut, but was up a ridiculously steep path which had me sweating and swearing in equal measure.

Maker Campsite was an interesting, quirky site, run in a very laid back way by a very nice couple. "Pitches ? Just go where you want" said the man, so I did and what a great view over Plymouth Sound I had, all for 6 quid.

The showers and toilets were a bit unusual, but plenty good enough and they had what was refereed to as "The Random Bar" which was set up in a disused farm yard, selling two draught beers, one of which was Rattler cider.

The bar was closed when I visited, so I went for a quick one at the Devonport Inn, where a middle aged, two piece band were ripping into rock and roll classics with surprising venom, watched by holiday makers with a combination of pleasure and terror.

I waited for the on site cafe to open the next morning, as a woman had recommended it as a place a great breakfast. I have to say the brekkie was as good as anything I've ever had. A highly recommended site, as long as you're not expecting five star facilities.

I set off towards the ruined chapel at Rame Head and what fantastic views and a great place for a stop. From there it was along Whitsand Bay, a great beach with cliff top chalets. Next stop was Portwrinkle, where I met a bloke who was doing the whole trek in one hit. He was on his 25 th day and said it had got easier as his fitness had increased. Hmmmm.

A quick pasty and ice cream stop in Seaton and I was on my way to Looe, which I reached at about six in the evening. I did my usual thing, which is to carry on walking when I should have stopped, as I'd already done about eighteen miles. Polperro is only another seven miles I thought. Yes, it was, but over some very, very steep hills which got worse as I approached the town.

I was absolutely knackered when I reached Polperro, so stopped for a quick pint, before making my way up the final killer hill to the campsite. I dined on the finest Waitrose Essential noodles and pasta sauce cooked on the stove that evening, as I couldn't be arsed to walk back down into the town.

Up the next morning in bright sunshine AGAIN and down to find a cafe for breakfast. I spoke to a young bloke who was also backpacking the coastal path. We started the walk towards Fowey chatting  and what an interesting fellow Morgan was. Twenty years old, carrying his guitar and harmonica along the cliff tops along with his backpack, stopping and busking when funds get low.

The walk from Polperro to Fowey was (I'm sorry if I keep going on about this) unbelievably tough and hilly and when we reached Fowey we stopped for a welcome break. Crab sandwiches, coffee and walnut cake and several ice creams later and I felt a bit better.

Morgan started busking and after a slow start made enough money for a couple of days, got the offer of performing at a wedding and ended up on a yacht in Fowey harbour getting food, drink and a bed for the night. Not bad for a couple of hours.

I left him to it and continued on to the campsite at Polkerris.

Next morning and I started near Par, a horrible section of the trail with old factories and not very nice beaches, until I reached Charlestown, where I made a pig of myself in Charlie's Coffee Shop. A long afternoon  walk to Mevagissey, where I again partook in eating pasties and scones and on to a very quiet campsite up the road from Goran Haven. Had a great meal in the pub up the road and a few pints of Doom Bar.

Got talking to some German people when a load of Morris Dancers came in jangling and doing their spazzy gay dance. I tried to explain that although sometimes passed off a English culture (which I suppose it is), it was very much a fringe activity carried out by people who would otherwise spend their weekends reenacting the English Civil War in full regalia. Not sure they were convinced though.

Next morning and it's a lovely walk towards Dodman Point and a stop at Portloe for lunch. I reached Portscatho about six and eventully found the campsite which is apparantly recommended in the "Cool Camping" guide. I didn't like it. Loads of posh people with the massive tents, 4x4s and kids called Milo and Jasper. Very crowded. It was the only one in town, so I pitched up and went down the pub,

Away early next morning on the short six mile stretch to get the ferry to Falmouth. Half way across the estuary the first rain of the week started to fall. I've had great luck with the weather. Nice brekkie in the Cinnaman Cafe in Falmouth and it's on the train home with another eighty miles in the bag.

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