Cornish Coastal Footpath Challenge
I undertook a long-held ambition to celebrate a 'milestone' birthday by completing as many of the 260 miles of the Cornish Coastal Footpath as I could over a period of 13 days during mid-August. I eventually covered about 220 miles losing a stage to sickness and other miles through dense sea-fog and heavy rain that made climbing conditions far too hazordous.
I was raising money to support the Royal National Lifeboat Institute and, in particular, the Penlee lifeboat station that houses the Mabel Alice - a boat that has saved the lives of many who have found themselves in trouble at sea - and which is close to the hearts of my family.
The Mabel Alice (and the RNLI) rely entirely on voluntary contributions.
Cornish Coastal Footpath Challenge - Report
THE CCC lived up to all my expectations and I had a wonderful fortnight running and scrambling through spectacular countryside. Although the weather was mixed, the views were stunning. As predicted, I was not able to complete the distance in the time we had. Most of the path was rated as 'strenuous' in the guide book I was using and a Cornish mile is at least half as long again as a 'traditional' mile. However, I was pleased to complete well over 200 miles averaging not less than 15 miles a day and felt I had done as much as I could each day without over-doing it. I was on the path for at least five hours each day.
I think I met every kind of hazard; adders in the bracken, lost shoes in bogs, landslides and dense fog and boulders on the moors; vast sand dunes and military training zones! Some days the wind blew me backwards and on one day I had to abandon my run because driving rain made conditions treacherous. I 'lost' one stage through sickness. Many days, the weather was beautiful, however, and the colours of the sea and landscape were awe-inspiring.
The route was one of constantly changing scenery and close contact with birds, butterflies and fauna. I clambered over every design of stile imaginable and climbed countless steps carved into the hillside only to descend again into a beautiful secluded cove. I passed through fishing villages and seaside resorts.
The support group was excellent, navigating narrow, winding roads to meet me in isolated spots and in position before my ETA. We were able to enjoy toasted teacakes and surfing beaches at our rendezvous. A treat for all three of us was a three-hour trip aboard Penlee lifeboat Mabel Alice when she 'stood-by' at Newlyn Raft Race and where we witnessed a 'real' rescue at sea!
Emily & Terry!