I’ve spent the last 10 days walking with friends. Emily, my marvellous friend of 26 years duration has accompanied me since Good Friday, and during that time, another great friend, Steven joined us for three days.
Now I’m back on my own. Hence the title of this post.
Just simple words, but they sum up how I feel just now as I’ve just waved goodbye to Emily. Happy to have shared such laughs and chats and amazing scenery. So sad to say goodbye. Really lucky to have such great friendships.
Here’s a short run down on my various escapades since Port Isaac a week ago.
I’m now 70 miles further on, near Clovelly. And I’ve crossed into Devon. Progress! We had a day off in Bude – it was Emily’s previous vacation time after all. And goodness knows, Americans don’t get much holiday.
The rollercoaster SW Coast Path is gradually whipping me into shape. Since Port Isaac my cumulative amount of ascent has been 4,500 metres.
Poor Emily is leaving with a strained arm, a hacking cough, and a swollen knee. She did arrive with the first two ailments, though. And Steven suffered from sore hips. (Note to future walking friends and family – I hope this doesn’t put you off!) Towards the end of one of our hardest days, when we were all flagging, we got a message that two very dear friends of ours had just got engaged to be married. Cue hugs and shrieks of joy, and we finished the day with a spring in our step. More proposals needed please, on tough days!
We have had sunshine almost every day. Places like Boscastle were the most wonderful azure surprises to stumble into.
We saw all kinds of wildlife, including friendly flocks of Wheatears, wild goats, sweet lambs, shaggy ponies. Very bizarrely, Emily nearly stepped on an adder – for the second time in England in less than a year. Last June we went walking in the North York Moors, and did a proper Scooby Doo, jumping into each others arms and shrieking as the poor unwitting serpent was disturbed from his slumbers. Given that most people in the UK have only seen an adder once or twice, if ever, in their lifetimes, it seems that Emily is a bit of a snake charmer.
We have continued to meet lovely people, especially in the two hostels we stayed at – Tintagel and Elmscott. It was Steven’s first hostel experience, and all went well once I had explained that the food and wine in the communal fridges was not his to help himself to. In Elmscott Emily and I chatted with ten very jolly ladies who were all came from Bradnich, which we now know is the smallest town in Devon.
Now it is time to continue, more quietly, on my own, accompanied by so very many superb memories of the last 10 days.
Finally, a big thank you to two more fab friends who gave us lifts to the railway station today, big cups of tea, and banana cake. Can’t wait to see you for a longer spell of time in about 10 days.