Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Walking the South West Coastal Path - Day 3 - Zennor to St. Just

On day 3 we had planned to walk from Zennor to St. Just, a distance of just over twelve miles. Unfortunately, we woke to heavy rain and a forecast which predicted more of the same for the rest of the day.

Over a hearty breakfast provided by the owner of Boswednack Manor we discussed our options. Given the potential for poor visibility, I was reluctant to tackle the path in the rain, but the idea of just jumping on a bus to our next overnight destination seemed lame. Maybe the forecast would be wrong and it would clear up and then we'd regret not walking. So when we learned there was a village, Morvar, three miles or so along the road toward St. Just, we decided we'd walk there and then rethink our plans according to the conditions.

At least one of us was still smiling! 

We set off in fairly good spirits. This was supposed to be an adventure after all. For most of the walk we had the road to ourselves apart from the occasional car and an open-topped tour bus, empty apart from the driver.  I half expected him to stop and offer us a ride but maybe at that point we still looked as if we were enjoying ourselves.

The area is dotted with the ruins of mines such as the Carn Galver Engine House which sits on the side of the main road. From a distance, it looked rather ghostly.

Not surprisingly, we were the only ones who stopped to take a look. We'd hoped we'd be able to get out of the rain for a while, but that turned out to be wishful thinking! The narrow opening was the only part of the ruin which offered cover.

I don't think I've ever walked so far in such heavy rain before. I certainly have never been as wet as I was by the time we saw the welcoming sight of the Schoolhouse Cafe in Morvar. To say we were dripping is an understatement. By that point, both my raincoat and hiking boots were no longer waterproof and I was only thankful that I had thought to put my clean, dry clothes into a plastic bag inside my backpack as that too failed to cope with the downpour.

Any hope that the rain might abate while we were indoors drinking hot chocolate and eating cake proved to be futile so we reluctantly agreed that we should take a bus the rest of the way. Luckily, the bus stop was only steps from the cafe and the cafe owner knew the times of the buses so we were able to wait until the last possible moment to venture back out into the rain. Another stroke of luck - the bus actually turned up on time!

I'm sure St. Just is a delightful town, but it was hard to tell given our first impression:

But even the rain couldn't detract from the attractive Market Square with its centuries-old stone buildings. 

That night we were staying at the YHA hostel located about a mile from the town center. As check in was not until five we decided to take refuge at the Kings Arms, a fourteenth-century pub which, to our delight, had an open fire. We staked out a table right next to the fireplace and then each, in turn, took a trip to the bathroom. I'm not sure whether the bar staff noticed that we reappeared in different clothes to those we had walked in with, but it was such a relief to be dry again. 

We were disappointed not to be able to finish the day's walk, but judging from stories we heard later from other hikers who had walked the path in the rain, I think we certainly made the right decision.  

When Mel is not out exploring she writes contemporary fiction with a twist of mystery and suspense. Her latest novel Trust No One is now available from Amazon. 

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