Walk #356: Boscastle to Crooklets
Map of the walk
Maps courtesy of Google Maps. Route for indicative purposes only, and may have been plotted after the walk. Please let me have comments on what you think of this new format. For a detailed table of timings for this walk, please see the table file.
I found this walk to be much harder than I was expecting it to be, particularly when compared with yesterday's walk, which was meant to be harder than this one. Some of the ascents were very steep, and in particular there was one valley side that had steps all the way up it. I found this climb quite hard, and I even had to stop halfway up for a minute so that I could have a short rest before continuing to the top. I have not had to do this on any ascents for some time, so it just marks how hard this walk was.
The geology on this walk was very impressive in places, with the different layers of slate folded into large S-shapes that were highly visible from above and below. Near Compass Point to the south of Bude there is a large flat piece of slate sticking vertically out of the cliff; a massively impressive sight. The forces needed to not only metamorphose the sedimentary rocks into slate, but also to bend them into these strange and weird shapes, are really beyond comprehension. There was also some very visible discontinuities; places where older, folder rocks have been eroded flat and other rocks deposited above them. These discontinuities give a very spectacular impression, especially when the compositions of the two layers of rock are very different. In many place today I was walking along just such a discontinuity, and it was very easy to make out the different layers of rock.
I was very glad to reach Widemouth Bay, as I knew that the bay marked the start of a much easier and less strenuous walk. Although there are still cliffs, they are invariably lower than those that came earlier in the day and the ascents and descents were thankfully very gradual. I stopped at the bay so that I could eat my lunch, and I watched fascinated as surfers launched themselves off the beach and into the large, rolling waves. Unfortunately the view was very much spoilt by the litter that absolutely covered the beach, and much of this looked absolutely disgusting. It was the worst litter pollution that I have seen since the Torquay area in South Devon, and it was a very sad sight.
When I got to Bude I walked along the remnant of the delightful canal, with its tidal lock still complete. Sam had parked the van in a car park in Crooklets, which is just under a mile north of the town, and so I had to walk around the sea front, which was an extremely nice, if cold, walk. Bude is a very nice town and well worth visiting, but this afternoon my main focus was to get back to the van so I could warm myself up.
As I was walking along today I lost Radio Four on my walkman, so I started to retune it. You can imagine my surprise when the tuner suddenly locked onto a station broadcasting in a Gaelic language. This very much surprised me, but a few minutes later I also heard BBC Wales, so I am obviously near enough Wales now to get their radio stations! This became less surprising when I reached Compass Point to the south of Bude, where there was a dial with the directions and distances to various places on it, and I was amazed to discover that Swansea is now nearer than Land's End! Also on Compass Point there is a lovely octagonal building that was used as a lookout post for ships entering the harbour at Bude. On each side of the building are the four cardinal compass points and the four points in between, and this makes for a fascinating and interesting little structure.
Tomorrow promises to be an exceedingly hard day's walk, and although it will only be about fifteen miles it has a number of steep descents and ascents to be made before I reach Hartland Quay. It is hard to know exactly how hard I will find any particular walk, but several people I have met refer to tomorrow's walk to be by far the hardest on the entire South West Coast Path. Despite these slightly ominous warnings I am very much looking forward to the walk, although I shall be glad when it is over. As this trip is going on all thoughts of not actually finishing the walk and not getting back to Edinburgh have disappeared, and I am now more confident than I have been at any time on this walk. I can only hope that this is not over confidence, but it is just the way I feel at the current time.
This makes a total distance of 17.4 miles, with 5226 feet of ascent and 5223 feet of descent.
We parked in the car park beside the beach at Crooklets, which rather handily had some public toilets beside them.
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And finally, enjoy your walking!
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