SWCP 2012: A day of silly names and perfect views

Every year there’s always one day more than the others when I become aware of the place names. Maybe the toilet humour from yesterday put me in the mood. That said it was also about the simple joy of putting one foot in front of the other on a day of perfect weather and perfect scenery.

Day 3: Monday 21 May – Looe to Fowey

Somehow I got my act together a bit better today and was on the path for 9:20. The first part is roadside walking climbing out of Looe and St George’s (Looe) Island is the main thing to see. But it was still a bit grey and hazy and the really good stuff was yet to come.

Leaving Looe
Leaving Looe

I could best sum up Looe as somewhere that was once a really nice small Cornish seaside town, but it had gone downhill with an influx of tacky shops and eateries.  A couple of art gallery-cum shops showed a glimpse of the nicer side of Looe that you could still find if you looked hard enough.  The other thing I noticed on my walk out of Looe was the number of signs prohibiting camping.  Seemingly every patch of grass had one of these signs.  The funniest and most ironic was one near the coastguard hut – a camper van with a for sale notice parked right next to it.  Unfortunately I didn’t think to get a picture.

With the promise of a warm day I’d invested in a pair of shorts the night before and consequently my legs felt free and cool. The first set of rough steps brought a small tearing noise and I worked out that the garment wasn’t going to win any prizes for the quality of its stitching. Worse was to come though.

I reached the Hore Stone and paused. It was warming up nicely which made the shorts the right decision. If they held together…

Aesop’s Bed came and went and I descended into Talland. A bit early for coffee I decided not to stop at the cafe especially as I saw the puny cups other punters had. No, I’d wait for Polperro.

Polperro was a further rocky undulating slog away and was a welcome sight. But seeing only a rather manky looking coffee shop, I pressed on. I climbed out of town on to the cliff where I found a bench. I sat down accompanied by a much bigger ripping sound and further inspection showed that the shorts were now significantly better ventilated. Bollocks.

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Having ruined my shorts to sit down I took advantage and had a coffeeless coffee break. I was now just under half way in just a shade over two hours. But the next chunk had few places to rest and refuel and the map made it clear that the amount of climbing was going go increase too. So I had a proper rest.

Up on to the cliffs below Hard Head and a walk along narrow paths twisting and turning for a couple of km, before a climb to the top of the cliff above Blackybale Point (sounds painful!).  I looked down towards Shag Rock and could see the coast going on and on without much to break it up. No sign of where Fowey was so difficult fo gauge the rest of the walk.

I descended from the cliff top to East Combe and just after the sign that said Polruan was 3.75miles took a break low on the cliff overlooking the rocks.

Resuming, the next sign showed Polruan as 4.25 miles. WTF! I sensed I was in a for a long slow afternoon. Parson’s Cove and Sandheap Point were next and with signs still showing 3+ miles to Polruan my motivation waned slightly.

Now heading for Pencarrow Head and a couple coming the other way told me (a) Pencarrow Head is the best spot on the whole Path and (b) it is compulsory to spend at least 10 minutes there. I got to the Head and it certainly was good, but the best spot on the whole path?  I don’t think so. But the Head was the start of the best views of the day, I’ll give them that.

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Descending from the Head to skirt Lantic Bay with its white sandy beach and tropical sea colours, I recovered some motivation and knew that one big climb would see me over the next headland and into Polruan.

I descended into Polruan and found I was the 13th person in the queue for a 12 person ferry so had an ice cream while I waited for it to return to take me across the estuary to Fowey.

The Route The Stats
  Start:  West Looe
End:  Fowey
Distance: 20.33 km (12.64 miles)
Ascent/Descent: +483m / -511m
Time: 5h 30
Speed: 3.69 kph (2.30 mph)
FED: 25.52 km (15.86 miles)
FES: 4.64 kph (2.88 mph)

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