Rambling Insults (Porth to Ruthernbridge) (Day 7 - Walking Lands End to John o'Groats)

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July 2nd 2011
Published: February 5th 2012
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Quiet Cornish Country LanesQuiet Cornish Country LanesQuiet Cornish Country Lanes

Views from Day 7 (Porth to Ruthernbridge) of our Lands End to John o'Groats (LEJOG) charity walk. Enjoying the quiet country lanes.
"Hey rambler......you're a fucking dick." I turned around to see a group of sneering, drunk youths. It wasn't even 10am and it was obvious those shouting the abuse had been up all night. I ignored them and kept walking. There was no point in saying anything. It was obvious they were looking for a confrontation. It was even more apparent that I would've been on the end of a serious beating if I'd even made eye contact.

Ramblers. Hikers. Walkers. They don't have the best of reputations. I've never considered myself to be one, but it seems attempting any journey wearing hiking shoes and carrying a backpack classifies you in this category. Like being a bird-watcher, train-spotter or even a runner, this leads to being singled out for high levels of ridicule for no particular reason.

To be honest, before starting this 1160 mile charity walk I may have viewed those that enjoy walking in a somewhat lamentable fashion. Ignorance was my main flaw. Now I was on the receiving end, I had realised my mistakes. I thought nothing wrong with hiking through mountain villages in rural China, but why did I view walking through rustic, rugged Britain so
St. Columb ChurchSt. Columb ChurchSt. Columb Church

Medieval church of St. Columb in St. Columb Major. Views from Day 7 (Porth to Ruthernbridge) of our Lands End to John o'Groats (LEJOG) charity walk.
differently? I certainly wouldn't from now on.

It was another glorious summer day. My wife and I were both feeling refreshed after our day off, buoyed by a hot dog and apple turnover breakfast, the remnants of our trip to the supermarket's reduction stand. This was going to be our longest walk so far. We were moving inland from the coast towards Bodmin Moor and it wouldn't be for another two months (until we reached Edinburgh) when we would clap eyes on the ocean again. It only took ten minutes of walking before our jovial spirits were tested with these first abusive words.

It's easy to laugh it off once, maybe twice, but by the third time a group of immature males, looking as though they'd dressed themselves in the dark had ridiculed us, our Teflon cover had well and truly worn away. It's one thing insulting me, but when my wife is picked out specifically for mocking, I'm willing to make a stand. I'd had enough. They'd waited for us to pass before uttering their chosen abuse and without contemplating the outcome, I changed direction immediately and walked back towards the group, who were standing at the
Cornish Cream TeaCornish Cream TeaCornish Cream Tea

One of the best delicacies from Cornwall!
entrance to their holiday camp.

I'm neither strong nor tall and I'm sure my wife would agree I have some pretty worrying feminine traits. The only way I feel I have the possibility of intimidating anyone is by putting on a strong, pretty appalling, Cockney accent. Talking like I was attempting to mimic a Chas and Dave song I made eye contact with the worst mocker of the group. "I'm no rambler.......We're doing a charity walk for cancer research from Lands End to John o'Groats. Do you have a problem?"

I regretted saying anything immediately. With my big backpack on, all they had to do was pull on my back and I'd be stuck there for hours like a turtle lying upside down in their shell. Sometimes though if you give the persona of being confident you can even surprise yourself with the results. The seven young men seemed stuck for words. They looked at their shoes and into the distance like naughty schoolboys. Just as the silence was becoming awkward, one of them responded to my question.

"Oh, sorry mate, I didn't realise you were walking for cancer. Fair play mate. Quality mate. Yeah, I like
Cornish CountrysideCornish CountrysideCornish Countryside

Views from Day 7 (Porth to Ruthernbridge) of our Lands End to John o'Groats (LEJOG) charity walk.
cancer. I like what you're doing." His bloodshot eyes couldn't keep their focus. He slurred his words like a man who had just ended a twelve hour bender session. "Do you want like a donation mate?"

Now it was my turn to be lost for words. "That would be very much appreciated," I replied, wondering if this donation would be a right hook to the jaw. It wasn't. He was being serious. He reached into his pockets and asked his friends to do so too. Within seconds my hands were full of loose change. It wasn't much, but it was an outcome I would never had expected from the abusive start. Thanking them once again, I caught my wife up. My pockets jangled from my latest charity donation. Back in good spirits we proceeded onwards, discussing what had just happened and what other ways I could put my newly found intimidation to good use . The coastline and sea quickly disappeared behind us. Before we knew it, we were experiencing the English countryside again.

It didn't last long. With the airbase of RAF Mawgan and the din of airplanes landing and taking off at Newquay Airport coming up
Scrumpy CiderScrumpy CiderScrumpy Cider

Enjoying another of Cornwall's finest: Scrumpy Cyder
in front of us, we were forced to walk around this obstacle along the A3059. Up until now we hadn't walked along any 'A' class roads, choosing footpaths and quiet country lanes instead. Some people who walk from Lands End to John o'Groats use only these busy, dangerous 'A' roads. I have no idea why. Our small section before reaching the picturesque town of St. Columb Major was without footpaths, forcing us to compete with speeding motor-homes, trucks, lorries and other vehicles for the limited space. My intimidation certainly wouldn't work in this situation. While some vehicles politely gave us a wide-berth, others came perilously close, often on purpose. Their drivers smirked as we were forced to jump into knee-high grass and stinging nettles on the roadside verges. Wearing shorts, my legs quickly started to sting and itch.

By the time we arrived in the town of St. Columb Major it was already lunch time. Built around Columb Church, dedicated to the local saint St. Columba, St Columb Major is now one of only two places where the game of Cornish hurling is still played. Hurling consists of two teams numbering several hundred people, who attempt to carry a
Cornish Cream TeaCornish Cream TeaCornish Cream Tea

Yes........that is all for one person! Not a single feeling of guilt either.
silver ball to one of the two goals set at opposite ends of the town. With the goals two miles apart, this also makes St. Columb Major one of the largest ball game pitches in the world.

The culinary delights of Cornwall don't only revolve around the Cornish Pasty. In St. Columb Major we enjoyed another delicacy the county is famous for: Cornish Cream Teas. Cornish cream teas are a combination of English tea taken with fruit or plain scones, clotted cream and jam. They differ in quality immensely, from the stale, packaged offerings for tourists, to the authentic, superb-quality tea-rooms that provide enough clotted cream and jam to satisfy a small army. The Glebe House Tea Room, originally a 16th century Elizabethan house, offered the latter choice. Talking to the owner of the tea room, he informed us that many Lands End to John o'Groats (LEJOG) and John o'Groats to Lands End (JOGLE) cyclists made a stop here. They all told him that the hills in Cornwall were the worst ones encountered, including Scotland. With only a few more days of walking in Cornwall left, I liked this news.

Thinking we had already reached the halfway point
Walking Lands End to John o'Groats - CornwallWalking Lands End to John o'Groats - CornwallWalking Lands End to John o'Groats - Cornwall

Views from Day 7 (Porth to Ruthernbridge) of our Lands End to John o'Groats (LEJOG) charity walk.
of today's walk, we spent a good hour drinking and eating our traditional Cornish Cream Tea. We followed this down with a Cornish Pasty immediately afterwards, unable to resist the freshly baked smell coming from the adjacent butchers. We'd miss-calculated our distances though, soon realising we had only completed a third of today's total distance. With so much more left to cover than we had originally thought, the afternoon turned into one long drag to the finish, Ruthernbridge.

Once out of St. Columb Major we were straight back on to the quiet lanes, transgressing through beautiful English countryside. With the patchwork of farmed fields stretching off to the horizon, this was the English countryside at its very best. Startled pheasants squawked and flew from neighbouring fields of wheat and barley. The lack of sea breeze made the conditions much hotter than what we had experienced so far.

The tranquillity of the narrow country lanes was regularly shattered by speeding farmers in their tractors, racing along at unnerving speeds. As the roads were only just wide enough for the tractors themselves and immediately gave way to thick brambly, thorny hedgerows, we had to stay alert. It was too early
Fields of WheatFields of WheatFields of Wheat

Views from Day 7 (Porth to Ruthernbridge) of our Lands End to John o'Groats (LEJOG) charity walk.
in our challenge to join the variety of mammals already squashed flat to the tarmac! Time and time again, we were forced into the desperate measure of flinging ourselves into the hedgerows head-first, leaving our exposed skin scratched and bloody. We already felt gross. Our clothes and body were caked in salt from our perspiration and the insufficient appliance of sun-tan lotion had made the rubbing from our bags on our necks very sore.

Just before reaching Ruthernbridge we passed The Saints Way. This long distance footpath was thought to have been used by ancient Cornish and Welsh pilgrims. We walked parallel to it, deciding the roads would be quicker and offer almost identical farmland scenery. On the outskirts of Ruthernbridge, after passing a house hosting an eclectic collection of rusting armoured vehicles and gnomes, we were stopped by a fire engine. Its crew had been sent to look for an elderly walker who had sent an emergency call saying he was suffering from heat stroke. It made us realise yet again how quickly things can go wrong.

It was early evening by the time we reached our campsite in Ruthernbridge. Our pitch was a barren, grassless affair
Cornish Cream TeaCornish Cream TeaCornish Cream Tea

Walking 1160 miles from Lands End to John o'Groats, you can easily put this splurge down to carb loading!
next to an old Volkswagen campervan. While my wife and I shared some traditional Cornish scrumpy cider, we watched the owner of the campervan and his younger pregnant wife. Their tent was lying in a scrunched heap on the floor. Finishing off as many cans of their 24-pack of Stella seemed the current priority. "I'm going to get smashed," the wife said in a brutish voice, opening two cans of the lager, both for herself. She was obviously eating and drinking for two. As darkness fell and we retired for the night, their tent still lay in the same position and they'd both fallen asleep, propped up against their campervan. Their incessant snoring made it difficult to fall asleep. I reviewed today's walk over and over again in my head. This might have been the longest day's walk so far, but our feet felt like they could have continued on for many more miles.

Land's End to John o'Groats (LEJOG) Walking Statistics:


Start Location: Porth (nr. Newquay)
End Location: Ruthernbridge
Distance Covered: 14.17 miles
Start Time: 09:20
End Time: 16:15
Total Walking Time: 6 hours 55 minutes
(this includes all rest and stoppage time between
Fields of BarleyFields of BarleyFields of Barley

Views from Day 7 (Porth to Ruthernbridge) of our Lands End to John o'Groats (LEJOG) charity walk.
start and end location and not just walking time)
Footpaths Used: The Saints Way (see http://www.oliverscornwall.co.uk/saintsway.html or http://encounterwalkingholidays.com/saints_way for more information). Only a tiny section near the end of today's walk, deciding to walk parallel to it as a time-saving alternative.
Accommodation: Ruthern Valley Holidays, Ruthernbridge, Bodmin, Cornwall, PL30 5LU. Cost: £12.50


Total Land's End to John o'Groats (LEJOG) Walking Distance: 1160.23 miles
Total Distance Covered: 82.93 miles (7.15%!)(MISSING)
Average Miles Walked per Day: 11.85 miles
Days Walked: 7 (out of 82)

Pint(s) of the Day:

Healey's Cornish Scrumpy (Healey's Cornish Cyder Farm, Penhallow, Truro, Cornwall, TR4 9LW) (7.4%!)(MISSING)
"Original Cornish Scrumpy, pressed, fermented and blended using traditional methods and skills employed for centuries. Made from English apples harvested from Healey's very own orchards, producing this very strong still cyder." http://www.thecornishcyderfarm.co.uk/

Shipwreck Coast (Penpont Brewery, Inner Trenarrett, Altarnun, Launceston, Cornwall, PL15 7SY) (4.4%!)(MISSING)
"A fruity golden ale. Full bodied and fruity with tangerine citrus hop flavours. Named after the infamous stretch of coastline in North Cornwall." http://www.penpontbrewery.co.uk/

Charity of Choice:

We are walking 1160 miles from Land's End to John o'Groats (LEJOG) to raise money for cancer research charity Association for International
Walking Lands End to John o'Groats - CornwallWalking Lands End to John o'Groats - CornwallWalking Lands End to John o'Groats - Cornwall

Views from Day 7 (Porth to Ruthernbridge) of our Lands End to John o'Groats (LEJOG) charity walk. Enjoying the quiet country lanes.
Cancer Research (AICR). AICR funds cancer research projects globally. If you would like to see how much we manage to raise or if you are inspired to donate to this worthy cause, please visit our donation webpage at http://www.justgiving.com/Adrian-and-Candace.

Additional photos below
Photos: 12, Displayed: 12


English CountrysideEnglish Countryside
English Countryside

Views from Day 7 (Porth to Ruthernbridge) of our Lands End to John o'Groats (LEJOG) charity walk.

6th February 2012

I always though of the West Country as being one of the nicer, more refined parts of the UK, yet it seems that the pernicious spread of the Chav underclass with their lack of morality and standards is slowly working its way into every facet of British society. Well done for standing up for your missus and making the dickheads feel like dickheads. All I can say is that I'm just glad I got out when I did!
12th February 2012

I would say it's far more refined than other parts of the UK that we went through on our charity walk, but there's always the minority. It amazes me where this minority hides out sometimes!

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