Walking from John O'Groats to Land's End in the winter of 07/08.

Saturday, 26 January 2008

Widemouth Bay to Tintagel

As the new day dawned, my journey along the coast path continued, and today everything ramped up a notch; the cliffs are higher, the coves more dramatic, the sandy bays more remote and enclosed and the sun shone with more intensity, setting later in a blaze of red sky. I wandered along happily, soaking it all up, no longer under any pressure to reach a particular destination. Even though a lot of the tourist infrastructure is closed at this time of winter, I know I will be able to find somewhere to sleep when the day has come its natural conclusion.

Steep gorges cut grooves in the impressive cliffs, ending in waterfalls that ran down the folded strata of the rock with seams of gleaming white quartz. The white houses of Cornish villages gathered next to narrow secluded bays, while the more isolated coves made you feel privileged to be enjoying this ever changing landscape. Approaching Boscastle, rounded slopes sit atop short steep cliffs. As I traversed the delicate greens and browns of the grassland on a thin path I could hear the seething waves pounding the rock invisibly beneath my feet. The natural harbour here is well protected by the curving jagged headland, white water roars high into the air on these rocks while the turquoise waters of the bay stay calm and pleasant.

The final delight before I decided to end the day was Rocky Valley, almost a Dove Dale in miniature with tiny crags and scarred by little gullies. The wooden footbridge at the bottom of this lush dale was a moment of peace before mingling with the tourists in Tintagel. I can't help but feel that these fantastic final days are going to make hanging up my boots difficult when the end of the country is reached.

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