King Buddha (Ruthernbridge to Blisland) (Day 8 - Walking Lands End to John o'Groats)


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July 3rd 2011
Published: April 16th 2012
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Sheltered LanesSheltered LanesSheltered Lanes

Walking along narrow lanes to Blisland. Views from Day 8 (Ruthernbridge to Blisland) of our Lands End to John o'Groats (LEJOG) charity walk.
The sound was unmistakeable. Heaving, followed by a short silence, then the distinct splattering of vomit on grass. I doubted it was morning sickness my pregnant camping neighbour was suffering from. The empty cans of Stella strewn around the entrance to her camper van were a sure giveaway.

As we started packing our tent away, I glared across at her with disdain. She didn't see me. On all fours, she was wiping away the last stringy contents of her stomach that were hanging from her chin. I was in a terrible mood. The drunken shenanigans of my expectant neighbour actually had very little to do with my current disposition. Even without her there I would have been feeling the same. The side of my tent had been used throughout the night as a rodent super-highway, and this, coupled with the cold, lumpy, grassless tent pitch, had meant I'd hardly slept.

I really had no one to blame but myself. Before starting this 1160 mile charity walk from Lands End to John o'Groats I believed I knew better than the hiking and camping experts. I thought I'd forego a cumbersome camping mat. I thought just a sleeping bag would do.
Foxglove - The Camel Trail FloraFoxglove - The Camel Trail FloraFoxglove - The Camel Trail Flora

Views from Day 8 (Ruthernbridge to Blisland) of our Lands End to John o'Groats (LEJOG) charity walk.
It takes a lot for me to admit I'm wrong, but this was definitely an error of school boy proportions. Even with wearing enough clothes for a winter's day and sleeping inside my sleeping bag, I often woke up from coldness in the night. The fact our tent pitch was as barren as Namibia's Skeleton Coast only enhanced the issue. It would be several days until we reached anywhere big enough that might stock camping mats and I could rectify my mistake.

The morning sun had yet to rise over the copse of trees that formed the boundary of our campsite. My wife and I had barely spoken a word to each other. When in a bad mood I sometimes have a nasty habit of snapping at her. I was making a concerted effort to keep things peaceful. Luckily, the bad mood didn't last and within an hour of starting the day's 11½ mile walk we were nattering away incessantly again. Considering we had been together 24/7 since starting this charity walk, we had yet to run out of conversation. We talked about anything and everything, but one of the main topics was food. We'd quickly learnt that exerting
Blisland Parish ChurchBlisland Parish ChurchBlisland Parish Church

Views from Day 8 (Ruthernbridge to Blisland) of our Lands End to John o'Groats (LEJOG) charity walk.
so many calories every day also meant we could eat whatever we wanted. With so many local and regional dishes to taste, this was one line of conversation that never dried up.

Since leaving the sanctuary of the South West Coast Path two days earlier, we'd made our own path along roads and lanes. Today it was back onto a dedicated trail again: The Camel Trail. The Camel Trail is an eighteen mile route along the disused Padstow to Wadebridge railway line. It then follows another disused railway line, from Wadebridge to Poley's Bridge, almost reaching the trail's finish point in Wenfordbridge. The latter disused railway line is one of the world's oldest, first opening in 1834. Maintained by Cornwall Council, it sees around 400,000 users each year, generating a much needed £3 million for the local economy.

It didn't take long to reach the Camel Trail from Ruthernbridge. We joined at the old train station of Nanstallon Halt, which had been revitalised by a fresh coat of paint. Here we walked eastwards towards the town of Bodmin. Founded in 530AD, its name comes from 'Bod Meneghi,' meaning 'dwelling of the monks'. Near to Bodmin we passed Boscarne
Flora on the Camel TrailFlora on the Camel TrailFlora on the Camel Trail

Views from Day 8 (Ruthernbridge to Blisland) of our Lands End to John o'Groats (LEJOG) charity walk.
Junction, a station still in use by steam trains for rail enthusiasts. Before reaching the town we branched north towards the finishing point of Wenfordbridge.

With its flatness, this should have been one of the easiest walks so far. The lack of sleep and clingy heat made it much tougher than it should have been. Hugely popular amongst walkers and cyclists alike, we found people far less friendly than The South West Coastal Path. Nobody spoke. Nobody made eye contact. I know we were covered in sweat, but this lack of friendliness knocked our spirits.

If I had to describe The Camel Trail, pleasant would be the most operative word. It wasn't spectacular. The views weren't outstanding. It was just a pleasant trail for idle walking. You didn't have to think about what you were doing. It was the kind of place you would find yourself walking your dog on a Sunday afternoon after a family roast. The constant murmurings and gurgling of the nearby River Camel wreaked psychological havoc on my bladder. I spent almost as much time finding bushes to relieve myself as I did walking.

As we walked northwards away from Bodmin we soon
Bodmin Moor's Wild HorsesBodmin Moor's Wild HorsesBodmin Moor's Wild Horses

The wild horses of Bodmin Moor. Views from Day 8 (Ruthernbridge to Blisland) of our Lands End to John o'Groats (LEJOG) charity walk.
found ourselves surrounded by Forestry Commission woodland. Magnificent oak, ash and beech trees towered over us as we walked through one wood after another. East Wood, Oatlands Wood, Castle Wood and Great Shell Wood all came and went. We were glad to be shaded from the now fierce midday sun. At eye level, the hedgerows were a blaze with colour. Wild strawberries, blackberries and lush purple foxgloves dazzled.

We left the Camel Trail shortly before the end at Poley's Bridge, joining National Cycle Route 3 through country lanes towards Blisland and the edge of Bodmin Moor. Ahead of me an elderly man jack-knifed the front wheel of the bike he was riding, falling over his handlebars like a scene from Last of the Summer Wine. Dusting himself off and looking deeply ashamed of his mishap, he pushed away his wife's concerned fussing and quickly climbed back on his saddle. I couldn't help but smirk when reaching the spot where he fell. In the front garden of a nearby house a buxom beauty sunbathed in bikini and hot pants, positioning herself for maximum exposure. Her posture left nothing to the imagination as she had unwittingly become an accident black spot.
Bodmin MoorBodmin MoorBodmin Moor

No sign of the beast! Views from Day 8 (Ruthernbridge to Blisland) of our Lands End to John o'Groats (LEJOG) charity walk.


It wasn't far from Poley's Bridge to Blisland. The closer we got though, the narrower the roads became. Gnarled oak branches covered the road from both sides overhead. Beams of sunlight broke through the branches onto the tarmac lane, blinding us from the dangers of oncoming traffic. Just before reaching Blisland, like walking through the wardrobe in the Chronicles of Narnia, the looming, twisted avenue of wood came to an abrupt end. The picturesque Saxon village of Blisland opened up before us, centring around a large village green.

While the Parish church, dedicated to saints Hyacinth and Protus, stood at the opposite end of the village green , it was the much closer Blisland Arms where we chose to worship. It seemed every inhabitant in a thirty mile radius had had the same idea. People spilled out across the road, enjoying the numerous real ales and ciders on sale and the afternoon sunshine. Closing in on serving over 1500 ale varieties, it's no surprise that this pub has been awarded national pub of the year in the past. If you looked up the definition of the quintessential village pub, The Blisland Arms would be it.

Decorated throughout
The Camel Trail - Nanstallon HaltThe Camel Trail - Nanstallon HaltThe Camel Trail - Nanstallon Halt

The disused train station of Nanstallon Halt on The Camel Trail. Views from Day 8 (Ruthernbridge to Blisland) of our Lands End to John o'Groats (LEJOG) charity walk.
by the owner's collection of mugs, beer mates and barometers, The Blisland Arm's quirkiness is only bettered by its selection of drinks. Eight hand pumps offer enough real ale and cider varieties to satisfy even the most demanding beer belly. As I approached the bar deciding which ale I would try first, I doubted I'd ever drink anywhere else if I lived near Blisland.

Carrying a backpack, wearing sweaty clothes and walking in 'comfortable' footwear in a fashion conscious country, will always lead to stares and finger pointing. I could feel other drinkers staring at us with mixed looks of amusement and pity. "Got your sink in there as well?" King Buddha, the aptly named landlord chirped, so called for a tattoo covering his back. Locals chuckled. "We're walking 1160 miles from Lands End to John o'Groats raising money for the cancer charity Association for International Cancer Research," I cheerfully responded to the initial banter.

I'd already become accustomed to saying this sentence defensively. Now expecting more wise-cracks to come our way I was surprised to see King Buddha nod his approval, dip his hand into the till and hand over £5 to our chosen charity. As we
The Camel TrailThe Camel TrailThe Camel Trail

Walking along The Camel Trail. Views from Day 8 (Ruthernbridge to Blisland) of our Lands End to John o'Groats (LEJOG) charity walk.
sat down to enjoy our liquid refreshments and listen to a nearby table of non-Cornish drinkers compare the species of road kill they had in their freezer, King Buddha went from table to table to drum up support and sponsorship for us. Badgering his regulars for money, we left several hours of beer consumption later with our biggest donation from strangers to date. Not only this, but such gestures of kindness helped restore our faith slightly in humanity and keep a positive mindset for the journey ahead.

Our campsite was another thirty minutes walk from Blisland to the edge of Bodmin Moor. We were merry and slightly intoxicated and the final distance felt like we were walking on air. Maybe this was the secret to completing our challenge? We might finish without feeling as much pain, but would it be worth only hazed memories? Probably not!

We had hoped to pitch our tent and return to The Blisland Arms for more ale sampling in the evening. But after reaching the untamed, open moorlands of Bodmin Moor, dominated by its granite rocks and wild horses, we were already fast asleep before darkness fell.



Land's End to
Boscarne JunctionBoscarne JunctionBoscarne Junction

Steam engine pulling into Boscarne Junction. Views from Day 8 (Ruthernbridge to Blisland) of our Lands End to John o'Groats (LEJOG) charity walk.
John o'Groats (LEJOG) Walking Statistics:

TODAY:

Start Location: Ruthernbridge
End Location: Blisland
Distance Covered: 11.45 miles
Start Time: 09:15
End Time: 16:10
Total Walking Time: 6 hours 55 minutes
(this includes all rest and stoppage time between start and end location and not just walking time)
Footpaths Used: The Camel Trail. To download the official leaflet, please follow the next link: http://www.cornwall.gov.uk/idoc.ashx?docid=7e12a0eb-9fbd-439b-8783-60be584bb60e&version=-1. Also once leaving The Camel Trail to Blisland we followed the National Cycle Network National Route 3 (known as The Cornish Way). For more information, please visit the Sustrans website at http://www.sustrans.org.uk/what-we-do/national-cycle-network/route-numbering-system/route-3
Accommodation: South Penquite Farm, Blisland, Bodmin Moor, PL30 4LH. Cost: £7 (Half price due to walking for charity).

OVERALL:

Total Land's End to John o'Groats (LEJOG) Walking Distance: 1160.23 miles
Total Distance Covered: 94.38 miles (8.13%!)(MISSING)
Average Miles Walked per Day: 11.80 miles
Days Walked: 8 (out of 82)

Pint(s) of the Day:

Blisland Bulldog (Sharps Brewery) (5%!)(MISSING) http://www.sharpsbrewery.co.uk/
A dark, malty ale with red highlights. Super -fruity with clear cookie like notes. Both sweet and bitter.

King Buddhas Blisland Special (Sharps Brewery) (3.8%!)(MISSING) http://www.sharpsbrewery.co.uk/
Named after the owner of The Blisland Inn a cool, crisp and refreshingly true
The Camel Trail - Dunmere HaltThe Camel Trail - Dunmere HaltThe Camel Trail - Dunmere Halt

Views from Day 8 (Ruthernbridge to Blisland) of our Lands End to John o'Groats (LEJOG) charity walk.
real ale.

Blisland Gold (Penpont Brewery) (3.8%!)(MISSING) http://www.penpontbrewery.co.uk/
Tasty golden ale brewed for the Blisland Inn. Light and refreshing with caramel, toffee and smoky notes.

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 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


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Boscarne JunctionBoscarne Junction
Boscarne Junction

Walking along The Camel Trail. Views from Day 8 (Ruthernbridge to Blisland) of our Lands End to John o'Groats (LEJOG) charity walk.
The Camel Trail - Nanstallon HaltThe Camel Trail - Nanstallon Halt
The Camel Trail - Nanstallon Halt

The disused train station of Nanstallon Halt. Views from Day 8 (Ruthernbridge to Blisland) of our Lands End to John o'Groats (LEJOG) charity walk.


23rd April 2012

The Camel Trail
What a fantastic name for a trail ;-) I'll need to see it for myself one day. A very enjoyable read and some lovely photos as well.
24th April 2012

Haha.....a great name indeed! :)

Tot: 3.044s; Tpl: 0.055s; cc: 17; qc: 96; dbt: 0.0656s; 2; m:saturn w:www (104.131.125.221); sld: 1; ; mem: 1.6mb