Day 057: Newquay to Padstow

Distance: 24.22 miles

Ascent: 5703 feet

Weather: Sunny but Cold

Accommodation: St Petroc's Hotel (kindly Complimentary)


There was a little trepidation about setting of today, due to the forecast weather conditions. Though it was forecast to be dry and in fact sunny it was meant to be very cold. I dressed in what I thought would keep me warm and set off.

The first part of the day was quite flat, and I was soon heading out of Newquay and skirting the expanse of Watergate Beach. This is a stunning beach, and I don’t know if the frosty conditions made the light different but the sea seemed even more emerald and the sky even bluer today. Fortunately it appeared I had put the right amount of clothing on as I was not too cold, nor overheating.

At Mawgan Porth there had obviously been a small rockfall very recently, so the path up from the beach was temporality shut. And in fact, there were some men even on this very cold day slowly trying to cut a diversion through the thick bracken and bushes on the low cliff. Fortunately for me a dog walker told me I could carry on along the beach and there was another set of stairs after a little waterfall instead. The so-called waterfall was completely frozen, and the cliffs were stunningly bejewelled with icicles some in excess of a meter in length.

The path gradually climbed and descended the cliffs passing the beach at Porthcothan, before reaching Treyarnon Bay. This is where I stopped for lunch (I had decided due to weather to eat inside), as there were very few options today and there was a youth hostel here that had a café that served non guests as well. Though the lunch was not that restful with a guest detailing some stuff that had been stolen to the reception and somehow she knew who had taken the stuff. The receptionist knew already having had another complaint and instantly dealt with it going and finding the woman and telling her to leave immediately. The woman appeared to already have her bag packed and just strolled straight out, at about the time I was leaving. I was actually a little worried about her as she had walked out completely inappropriately dressed for the cold weather and she dumped her bag on top of the low cliff and then climbed down and just sat on the beach. I wasn’t sure what to do, and was glad to see that though she had been kicked out the hostel worker was also worried and keeping an eye on her, so I just carried on with the walk.

I took the path around Trevose Head, passing the lighthouse & Harlyn Bay until reaching Trevone Bay. At this point there was a farm that was rightfully panicking about the weather and there were dozens of people trying to cover the field in some form or clear plastic film to keep whatever crop warm. It was quite a process, and very impressive but I do wonder how the plastic will stand up to the 50mph winds forecast tomorrow.

The final stages of the day took me up and around Stepper Point before heading down the Camel Valley to Padstow. The last time I came to Padstow was many years ago and in the middle of Summer when the place was heaving. It was much calmer and colder today but still has a certain charm.

Earlier in the day I had received an email from Vivienne at Rick Steins, saying they had a bed for me but I had assumed this would be a spare room or maybe some staff quarters. But on arrival it turned out they had very kindly given me a room in the St Petroc’s Hotel for the night. The room is absolutely lovely and a great place to keep warm tonight through these cold conditions. I am very grateful for this kind offer.

I probably couldn’t have been anywhere better in the country today weather-wise as even though it was very cold it was sunny all day. This on top of the good path quality and quite gradual ascents meant I made good progress and managed to complete the 24 miles in good time. It does look like the weather will take a massive turn for the worse down here in the next couple of days.

charles compton