Our Cornish Coast Path adventure is well underway. We’ve conquered just under 25 miles of the path in our first week and have definitely caught the hiking bug. It’s by no means an easy feat but we’re loving every minute. There have steep cliff climbs, livestock fields and beautiful wildlife along the way and I thought I’d share a little more about our adventures on the path so far, between Bude and Trebarwith Strand!
The Route: Bude to Trebarwith Strand
We started our walk at Crooklets Beach in Bude and hiked through to Trebarwith Strand, between Tintagel and Port Isaac. I was hoping to travel further, however grossly underestimated the topography of the route! It turns out there were a lot more cliffs than I was anticipating. We were constantly negotiating steep ascents and descents. Walking downhill with two enthusiastic spaniels strapped to you is particularly terrifying but I feel like we’re starting to get the hang of it!
I always thought this adventure was something I ought to complete alone. However I was wrong! I’m so grateful for all the support I’ve received this week and am blown away by just how willing people are to help us. From your donations to our JustGiving page, to daily messages of motivation via Instagram, you’re all incredible! Our friend Fran from North Cornwall Dog Walking has also gone above and beyond to ensure we’ve stayed dry, introducing us to her friends and finding places for us to shelter. Without Fran’s help we’d definitely have been drowned rats within 24 hours, the weather has been awful!
We’ve met so many incredible people this week, from all walks of life. We bumped into Ben, who’s also completing the Cornish Coast Path and joined him for the majority of our first day. Having a hiking buddy definitely helps, it’s a tough route in places and the extra motivation and accountability is incredible. I also loved meeting Chrissy and her family, who kindly let us stay in their vacant caravan one night and invited us in to enjoy spaghetti bolognese and homemade apple crumble with her family.
There have been plenty of low points on our hike between Bude and Trebarwith Strand, it’s not all been sunshine and rainbows. The difficulty of the route aside, there have been plenty of moments where I wanted to call it quits, however I’m so glad I didn’t! Firstly, the weather was less than ideal with heavy rain forecasted throughout the week. I did postpone our adventures on Thursday evening, as yellow weather warnings were issued for heavy rain and wind. The last place you want to be during a yellow weather warning is on the Coast Path – trust me, we’ve done it before!
One of my main worries about this adventure has been livestock. The Cornish Coast Path passes through plenty of farmer’s fields. It’s practically impossible to avoid bumping into cattle, sheep and horses on this route. I’m not a huge fan of cows, having been stampeded by one in the past and I know they often dislike dogs. I managed to successfully and safely navigate 90% of the cattle fields we came across this week, however we did get chased by one group of particularly curious calves. I’m just glad we found the gate when we did, I was definitely trying to hide my panic!
What Have We Learnt?
Bring enough water. I ran out somewhere between Widemouth Bay and Crackington Haven. For those not familiar with Cornwall, that’s about 6 miles with no opportunities to refill bottles in between! Cue a rather parched Hattie breaking down in front of a man in a rural holiday cottage when he kindly let me refill our bottles. It’s safe to say from now on, I’m taking every opportunity to refill along the way!
I’ve also learnt that I need to read The Salt Path. This book has been recommended by literally everyone I’ve met on the path. I’ve already read 500 Mile Walkies, which was fantastic but need to add this to my campsite reading list pronto! The dogs also need to read up on their kissing gate technique, as it’s all over the place. In fairness, they have vastly improved but there’s still work to do. It’ll be a miracle if they manage to get the hang of it by the end of the 300 miles.
Things to Remember for Next Week
I’m definitely packing lighter next week. We didn’t use half the things we brought with us. I’ll do almost anything to lighten our load, my backpack has been unnecessarily hefty this week! Woody’s got sore skin under one of his legs, where his harness buckle has been rubbing. It’s not bad but understandably I don’t want it to get worse, I think I’ll pack an alternative harness that fits Woody better just in case.
By far the biggest thing I need to remember is to take the path at our pace. There’s a fine line between pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone and burning out. It’s easy to fall into the trap of seeing the coast path as a race. I’ve watched and read about so many other people’s experiences on the path and it’s easy to compare myself to others. The route between Bude and Trebarwith Strand was particularly exhausting, both physically and emotionally. I need to remember to put myself and the dogs first and take things at our pace so we can really make the most out of our adventure!
That’s Bude to Trebarwith Strand completed! We can’t wait to take on the Cornish Coast Path again next week. How far do you reckon we’ll go?
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