Saturday, 31 December 2011

LEJOG 2004 - My Notes on a trip of a lifetime

Introduction

This is a long overdue account of my 2004 LEJOG walk.

My original notes are not too extensive, so if you have a bit of time to pass, you are welcome to browse through them. I will basically reproduce my notes rather than try to embelish them to make a long and (more) boring story.

In these days of "how low can you go" folk will be amazed at some of the gear I had for this trip.

I will do a brief write up of the gear used as an appendix.

The other outstanding memory of this trip was the weather. The worst weather I had was at Croyde Bay and the best weather I had was in Scotland. Here it rained enough to put waterproofs on only on the last day!

The people I met on the way were fantastic. I hope to convey some of the experiences with those I met. It was not my original intention to do so, but I did aim to raise money for St Giles (a local) Hospice. People were amazing in response. I didn't rattle cans or berate people - it just came up in conversation - and people were very generous.

So here goes: ......

I'll write up and post as I go along - so it will be some time! But, it will give me the incentive to continue ..... and I fear I may accidentally wipe everything out when I'm almost finished.

This could take some time!

24 March 2004 : Good train journey down from Tamworth to Penzance. I was met by Phil and Jean - friends of my brother and sister in law. They gave me a lift to Lands End Hotel.
They stopped for a drink and left at 1820. I then had a good meal and retired to bed. The room had a sea view. I slept well.

25 March 2004 To Zennor: After a full English breakfast I left the hotel at 0845. It was a very windy and showery day.I got to Zennor at 1745. A local farmer gave me permission to camp in one of his fields. No mobile phone signal - hope the pub has a phone. Think I may have lost my gloves (I did - Buffalo mitts). Pub opens at 1900. Time now 1845.
It started raining as I was pitching tent. Continued, heavily until 1905.
Tinners Arms was great. Rang Barbara on landlord's phone - she called me back. Had long chat - good I needed that.
Beer was good. had sheppards pie. Bed by 2100. A cold stary night.

26 March 2004 To Gwithan Farm campsite: Wind had died down and there was a frost on the tent, but, I had a good night's sleep. Pleased I have a synthetic bag as it is damp with condensation. Hard going to St. Ives, but then it got better. Sunny day. Camped at Gwithan Farm campsite. Site was officially closed, but owner let me camp for free. Pub doesn't open until 1900! Good pub with good food and beer.
Had a really good sleep - much warmer - thankfully.

27 March 2004 To Perrenporth: Turned out I was the first person to camp at Gwithan Farm since the owners moved in in December. Drizzle in morning - dry in afternoon. Got to Perrenporth by 1700ish - had fish and chips and carried some cans of beer to camp spot in the dunes. Lovely levelish sheltered spot - just off the path. Clocks change tonight.

28 March 2004 To Porthcothal: Dry warm weather, but overcast and managed to stay ahead of threatening skys. Had a Burger King in Newquay. No - to request for water! And, when I went to loo - took my pack and coke! Not a nice place!
What a find! Campsite just up hill - not open, but got permission to stay and had a shower and washed gear. Pub just down road - free sandwiches (25th wedding aniversary) and good beer + Sky Sports. It was the Tredrea Inn in Treyarnon - very good reception.

29 March 2004 To Polzeath: Took road to cut off big headland. Camp site by beach said £12! I got Barbara to phone St. Giles (Hospice) to phone the campsite. Camped for free. I was the only one here. If only I had brought proof (that I was also raising money for the Hospice). Had a restful afternoon. really sunny day. Got to Oyster catcher pub and met Celia and Mike. She's doing the London Marathon and she ran past me earlier - it transpires. Had a very interesting chat. They left, but a few minutes later came back with a cheque for £30 for St Giles - bless!
Good nights sleep - still a bit chilly though.

30 March 2004 To Boscastle: Good dry sunny day, but windy. Shorts and T shirt weather. Pushed good and hard to Boscastle. Camped in NT field before Warden arrived. He let me stay - just for one night - bless. Cobwed pub for food and drink. Got Barbara on Mobile - very clear. Life's good. Hope my heel heals up ok - not too bad today. Another free camp - a good night.

31 March 2004 To Bude: On way by 0830, but, had breakfast in Boscastle - milk and shortbread. On towards Crackington Haven. Met hayden and Wendy. He was practicing for the Cape Wrath Way. V nice gut - in late 50s. had coffee with them and continued walking with him to Widemouth Bay. he did LEJOG in 2000.
Got to Bude and camped on tiny patch of grass by Scout Hut - them asked permission from Scoutmaster. (Campsite was closed and there was no compromise). V hot day, with so far a threat of rain. Hope I can get back to tent dry. I did.

01 April 2004 To Hartland Quay: Got to Hartland Quay and camped about a mile up the road in farm - had shower which was luke warm. But no charge. Primitive site. Stayed dry until evening - showers. Back down hill to Hotel - good food, including Seagull Pie!
Got back dry. It was a had day and I slept well.

02 April Friday To Westward Ho: 21.75 mile day. Windy but dry and mostly sunny. Much easier walking to Westward Ho. Camped at Broddicks Campsite - closed, but as soon as I walked in owner said - camp anywhere - no charge. Good.
Westward Ho seems a bit desolate - out of season. Found a pub for food - starving!
An easier terrain, but still a hard day's walk.

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