My Week: Lunch is somewhere over the headland

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The Independent Online
IT'S BAD enough having to go out to work. Who wants to come home and write about it as well? I'm a holidays man, myself.

Saturday An early start for Cornwall. Minehead and Poole are 40 miles apart, but if you take the South-West Peninsula Coastal Path via Land's End, you can increase that to 520 miles. We've already walked the first hundred miles at the Poole end, and now we want to tackle a different stretch. Port Isaac, here we come]

Sunday We start walking in the general direction of Land's End. The view stretches for miles, the sea far below. There is no one else in sight. '. . . this sceptred isle . . . set in the silver sea . . . this England', I muse. Yes, there's many a true word spoken in a load of old rhetoric.

Lunch on Polzeath beach, then we doze for a couple of hours in the sunshine. You have to bow to these adverse weather conditions.

Across the river Camel to Padstow on the ferry. We find the last bus back is at twenty past six, except it only goes half-way. We catch it, then have to take a taxi the rest of the way.

Monday Parking the car in Padstow at 10am, we keep going with hardly a break till we hit Newquay at eight in the evening. Nine hours' steady walking takes us 20 miles. It's not quite like popping down to the shops.

You can tell when you're getting close to the various little beaches on the way by the sudden crowds around you. A mile is the limit most people will venture from their cars. It makes us keen walkers feel very superior. Heaven knows, we menopausal chaps have little enough to feel superior about.

A really cheap taxi firm takes us back to Padstow. We confidently ignore the absence of seatbelts in the back and the strong smell of petrol.

Tuesday A rest day, and we're on the beach along the side of the beautiful Camel estuary. The people here are beautiful, too. Babies are obviously this year's fashion accessory, worn in a little carrier on the back. Some couples have one each. They must be hiring them from somewhere.

Wednesday Today we walk the other way, aiming for the fishing village of Boscastle. Lunchtime seems to be forever over the next headland, but eventually we descend to the waiting pub at Port William. Our renewed vigour whisks us through Tintagel, where King Arthur, if he'd ever existed, might or might not, it seems, have built his castle.

The final few miles to Boscastle are flat and we're there before the visitor centre closes. The woman at the information desk is a whiz with timetables, but their bus situation is as bad as Padstow's. Still, our taxi driver does appear genuinely impressed with how far we've walked. What a lovely man]

Thursday Something wakes me at six. I lie there puzzled, wondering what it could have been. There it is again - it's last night's crab thermidor. By nine, the tablets and I getting on fine together, so we drive to Boscastle and walk all morning to Crackington Haven. The weather has deteriorated considerably. We call a halt for the day.

Friday Our second rest day. We should make up for yesterday and press on to Bude, but with gale-force winds and driving rain, we reckon the clifftops are not the best place to be. However, by evening it's clear and dry. We sit in the restaurant watching the sun set.

Saturday It rains every inch of the way home. We'll have to come back soon, though: we did less than 50 miles' walking, and at this rate I may not live long enough to finish the other 300.

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