Considering that I am fairly used to long days on the fells, running between summits which may not always involve dropping to the valley floor but nevertheless invariably involves some significant ascent and re-ascent on rough ground, running the South West Coastal Path between Land's End and St Ives proved to be tough day out. I can't remember what the original plan was but heading out later in the day than intended, it seemed to make sense to abandon the car at Land's End and run north, hoping we'd find a bus or taxi back to base from St Ives, a distance of eight miles. If not we'd walk. Which was perhaps indicative of a certain lack of respect for the 24 miles which we would have to cover first.The start was benign, beautiful even, under blue skies, the Atlantic heaving against the cliffs below and the path a dry, easy gravel track dotted with granite boulders. It didn't last long.
Just north of Sennen Cove where we dropped to sea level for the first time and where we went off route for the first time too - surprisingly easy despite the signs. It would not be the last time we did either.
One of many reminders of this area's tin and copper mining history, the decline of which saw something like a quarter of million people emigrate in the late 19th century.
Many of the miles that followed have blurred in my mind into a mix of rock filled bog punctuated only by scrub bashing and the regular drops and climbs that resulted. With badly blistered toes and by now noticeably dehydrated and hungry - there being not a scone in sight - I found my mind following a familiar pattern of thoughts focused almost entirely on food, drink and dry socks.
A moment's rest some six miles short of St Ives...
...and the view back a mile or so further on. We had started to measure the run in headlands rather than miles, as you would on the water. But then a kayak can cut across the bays...I went back to counting down the miles.
As we lost the last of the day's light, we arrived at St Ives. Or rather, we arrived in the scrub which covers the ground leading into St Ives. Off the main path, a maze of tracks led in circles through the thorns...feeling a little battered and with bleeding legs it was a tired trio that arrived under clear cold skies in St Ives that night and promptly called for a taxi.
Probably the best coastal run I have completed.