Odyssey 2013 Hiking Tour: Cornwall, England The Cornish Coast (part 1 of 3)
London Heathrow Holiday Inn
(includes 10 nights lodging, all meals, beginning with dinner on Day 1 and concluding with breakfast on Day 11, shuttle from Heathrow Holiday Inn to Bude)
How did we, a Colorado-based, western-focused, but most definitely an adventure-seeking bicycling and hiking group, wind up heading east across the Atlantic to find adventure? Well, it all happened early-fall of 2007 as we were up to our ears planning Timberline’s 25th Anniversary season. For so many years, the cornerstone of our total program had become our Odyssey Cycling Series. Each season, we concocted and staged an extended bicycle tour ranging in duration from two weeks to two months that included such fantasy opportunities like our Lewis & Clark bicentennial ride in 2004 and Chasing the Great Divide already in place for that 25th Anniversary season.
But what about our hikers, who in stealth-like fashion, had grown in numbers to a point where they now were equal to the number of cyclists that typically participated in our program each season? Was it not time to offer a comparable extended odyssey opportunity for hikers, and what better opportunity to launch that series than our upcoming 25th anniversary celebration?
In the course of conversations with our past hikers over the years, along with our own research, we couldn’t help but become aware of the quality of hiking throughout the U.K., and particularly the significance and popularity of hiking among U.K. outdoor enthusiasts. The incredible national dedication to walking and hiking is ingrained in the culture of the U.K. The network of national, long-distance trails and regional footpaths linking villages is utterly remarkable.
And so, for whatever reason, the 100-mile Cotswold Trail from Chipping Campden, northwest of London to Bath was the choice for our inaugural Hikers’ Odyssey in 2008, and was planned only as a one-year installment to be replaced by a different odyssey itinerary each season thereafter. But, despite our best intentions, we failed to anticipate the depth to which we fell in love with hiking in England and the Cotswolds in particular.
We couldn’t let go after a single season, and, as it has a way of happening, one year became five in a heartbeat. Would we ever let go and move on? Clearly, it would take something so incredibly inviting and irresistible that would touch our hearts sufficiently to consider change. Well, let us introduce you to Odyssey 2013 (and 2014 and 2015), Hiking Tour: The Coast of Cornwall and what we believe will be the exciting and worthy successor to the Cotswolds.
The Cornwell coastal Path hugs the entire 299-mile seashore of County Cornwell, from Bude in the north to its southern (eastern?) terminus at Plymouth and embraces some of the wildest and most dramatic landscapes to be found throughout the U.K. As impressive as its 288-mile expanse may be, the Cornwell Coastal Path comprises only a part of the greater 630-mile Southwest Coastal Path, all of which is a part of the National Trust network of trails, of which the Cotswold Path is also included. National Trust designation, among its many features, translates into excellently maintained trails and reliable, easily identifiable signage. Typical of National Trust Trails, the Cornwell coastal Path embraces several areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty throughout its length.
As you might have guessed, we intend ultimately to hike the entire Cornwall Path, though not in a single season. Part II, St. Ives to Falmouth will be another 11-day adventure that is planned for 2014; Part III will comprise Odyssey 2015, from Falmouth to Plymouth. And what about the remaining 342 miles of the Southwest Coastal Path? We’ll see!
Cornwell is situated at the southwestern tip of England, with the open Atlantic to the west and the English Channel to the south. Because of its geography, Cornwell boasts some of the mildest temperatures, the most amount of sunshine and the least precipitation in the U.K. In addition to its most southerly latitude, Cornwall is the beneficiary of the warming waters of the Gulfstream Current that travels northeastward from the Gulf of Mexico.
We chose an early-September date for Cornwell---a time when temperatures have moderated to more reliably compatible readings for hiking, sunshine is still abundant, precipitation “historically” infrequent, and most importantly, the summer tourists are long gone.
Tourism is now Cornwall’s primary industry; the tin mining and fishing industries have long since declined. During the summer months, the Cornwall coast is considered England’s Riviera, and once you have experience the region’s magnificent white sand beaches and pounding surf, you’ll understand why. At times, with the throngs of surfers riding the waves off the shores of Bude, Newquay and St. Ives, you might think that somehow you’ve been transported to the California Coast. Another feature to anticipate as we hike the Cornish Path will be the frequency with which we stumble upon (figuratively, of course) beachside pubs, cafes, bakeries and the like---further evidence of the importance of tourism to this region. Consider yourself fortunate, or, more accurately, excessively self-disciplined, if you can limit yourself to one Cornish pasty per day. In other words, forget this hike if a primary goal is weight-loss. Make no mistake, the Pasty is an essential part of the total Cornwall experience. Please enjoy us on this amazing hiking trip.
|Day 1||Assembly at London Heathrow Holiday Inn; shuttle to Bude, County Cornwall; overnight
At the Falcon Hotel.
|Day 2||Bude to Crackington Haven; overnight at the Coombe Barton Hotel||10 miles|
|Day 3||Crackington Haven to Tintagel; overnight at Camelot Castle.||12 miles|
|Day 4||Tintagel to Port Isaac (Port Gaverne); overnight at Port Gaverne Hotel||9 miles|
|Day 5||Port Gaverne to Padstow; overnight at the Old Skye Hotel||9 miles|
|Day 6||Padstow to Magwan Porth; overnight at Merrymoor Hotel.||6 miles|
|Day 7||Magwan Porth to Newquay; overnight at Headland Hotel.||17 miles|
|Day 8||Newquay to Trevaunance Cove (St. Agnes); overnight at Driftwood Spar||6 miles|
|Day 9||Trevaunance Cove to Portreath; overnight at The Cliff House & Portreath Arms||12 miles|
|Day 10||Portreath to St. Ives; overnight at (to be determined)||16 miles|
|Day 11||Free morning to explore St. Ives; Shuttle return to London Heathrow (leave St. Ives
at approx 1 p.m.)
Total Hiking Mileage - 100 miles