Monday, 6 April 2009

How not to walk the Coastal Footpath

Last week I had a commission from my editor to do a walk to coincide with a charity walk round the coastal footpath in order to raise money for a children's hospice.

It sounded simple - like the walks I do every month. I had even been sent a designated route which I checked on the map. Then I picked up a friend with another mad Jack Russell - and off we set.

Trouble was, arriving at our destination, the hospice site, which I'd been asked to include in the walk was a) on a main road, b) nowhere near a footpath and c) had no parking within a 15 minute drive. Not a good start.

We found a car park down a very steep hill, climbed up and found a public footpath that led to the site - sort of - and then had to walk back, down another very steep hills, to our starting point. Confused? So were we.

But the sun had come out by now, the dogs were having fun and by this time we were on Porthpean beach. The first 20 minutes were great - a beautiful afternoon, a long beach and the tide out, the dogs having a wonderful time - then a steep climb up steps to the top of the cliff. There we found a sign saying Coastal Footpath Closed. Follow Diversions.

So the prettiest part of the walk, along the headland, looking down onto sea the colour of the Mediterranean, and beaches to match, was not to be. After three false starts (the diversion wasn't clearly marked) we finally found ourselves walking through a housing estate.

This led to a main road, to another road, past two building sites, and finally - an hour later - to our designation. Only to find a sign saying, "Bar Closed. Please go to the pub down the road."

Finally we did get a drink and sat on the harbour with our lemonades and watched the sun twinkling on the water like sequins.

Then we made our way back up a very long steep hill back to the van. Speechless with exhaustion (walking on tarmac is so much harder than on grass). Even the dogs were tired, and hadn't had much of a run because they'd been on the lead for most of it.

The entire walk took 5 hours - 2 hours walking, plus 3 hours driving, covering 60 miles. And after all that I couldn't use it for the magazine, because who'd want to go on a 2 hour walk round a housing estate?

Ever get the feeling you should have stayed at home?


menopausaloldbag (MOB) said...

Oh blimey, I would have been fit to be tied after that! Sounds like a right old fiasco. Hope the dogs at least enjoyed the walk!

Akelamalu said...

Oh crikey, at least you didn't give up!

Flowerpot said...

MOB - well the poor dogs had to be on the lead for most of it!

Liane Spicer said...

What a disaster. Are you sure you don't want to do the article? A 'woe is me/comedy of errors' approach might work - if you can bring yourself to see the funny side of it. Which might be a bit difficult at this point, I admit.

Anonymous said...

I don't think that walk was meant to be! At least you found the pub!

CJ xx

Unknown said...

What a same but you did say that the sun did shine!

Flowerpot said...

Ak - I couldn't do that!

Flowerpot said...

Wordtryst - I would have been quite happy to do a humourous piece but my editor didn't want that! It wouldn't quite fit with the magazine...!

Flowerpot said...

CJ - yes the pub on the harbour front was wonderful. Well, we sat outside and enjoyed the view and that was wonderful!

Liz - yes and if the sun shines then life has to be good. Or better!

Chris Stovell said...

Sheesh! That doesn't sound like one of your most enjoyable walks ever, Fp! What a pity it didn't work out as planned. You, your friend, and the poor old dogs deserve pats on the back for sticking with it (I bet you slept after that!).

Flowerpot said...

Chris - well that makes me feel better!