SWCP 2012: One under Par

I flew along today. The walking was, for the SWCP, easy; a certain amount of fitness had kicked in; and I had a reason to get it done.

Day 4: Tuesday 22 May

I lingered over breakfast talking to Tim, the proprietor of The Well House, partly because I was the only guest, but also finding he had just jacked in a career as an accountant to move to Fowey and buy the B&B. Consequently there was a certain amount of talking shop and I was especially pleased to find I’m not the only qualified accountant that gets someone else to do his accounts.

It was 9:50 before I got going after a further delay for buying suncream – bit of a case of shutting the stable door after the horse had bolted though. I headed up out of the town past St Catherine’s Castle and onto the cliff path. I was soon descending again into the first cove of the day – Coombe Haven – and then it was back up again.

Leaving Fowey

Leaving Fowey

Easy walking to Gribbin Head

Easy walking to Gribbin Head

My legs seemed to be coping better today and it felt like my hill fitness was coming to me.  I decided that if I reached Par before 1pm I’d head home today rather than do the extra 4 miles into St Austell and stay overnight there. In effect quitting while I was ahead. I’d had to delicately judge this trip due to my grandad being in hospital, and at my first sensible escape point on Sunday afternoon at Looe, he was coming out the next day. Monday night he was still in and so I reasoned on Tuesday that if I stopped at Par rather than St Austell I’d save half a day and visit on Wednesday. And by doing this I wouldn’t be substantially short of the planned amount of walking either.

I wound round the cliff to Polridmouth where I found a house situated in the cove and with a little lake, the outflow from which spilled out into the cove. A really nice location only spoiled by the smell – a blend of seaweed and cowpats.

How about your own private beach ?

How about your own private beach ?

From here I could see the beacon on Gribbin Head and I grunted my way up the slope to reach the top just after 11. Now I knew I was in good shape to meet my target. I headed down to follow the top of the cliff path and built up some good speed.

Par and St Austell came into sight, although for a while I couldn’t decide whether the first place was Par or Polkerris.  Logically it looked like Par, with Polkerris hidden in a dip somewhere before. And it looked a little too industrial to be Polkerris. I forged along the path and was going so well that I momentarily considered carrying onto St Austell after reaching Par. But that would add a couple of hours to the day and would mean a late arrival home (in the end given the time I did get home, this was the right call).

Par comes into sight

Par comes into sight

The path headed inland a short while before zig-zagging down through a wood and bringing me into Polkerris.  I crossed the beach to regain the coast path and carried on. The path being quite low down meant no significant ascent and so I zipped along again.  Before I knew it I’d arrived at the car park by Par Sands.  Rather than walk along the sandy beach, I opted for the firmer option of meandering through the dunes, where grass and previous passers had made for a more robust surface underfoot. I joined the road at the end of the caravan park, and then headed inland to the centre of Par and the station. After struggling to find the station toilets which were unlabelled and disguised as a “staff only” area, I baby-wiped myself to a passable standard of hygiene, had a change of shirt and headed for the platform and nearly an hour’s wait for the train to Plymouth.

The Route The Stats
  Start:  Fowey
End:  Par Station
Distance: 12.01 km (7.46 miles)
Ascent/Descent: +238m / -240m
Time: 2h 51
Speed: 4.21 kph (2.62 mph)
FED: 14.56 km (9.05 miles)
FES: 5.11 kph (3.18 mph)

 

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