The Luxury of Rain (Colliford Lake to Launceston) (Day 10 - Walking Lands End to John o'Groats)

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July 5th 2011
Published: April 29th 2012
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Jamaica Inn - Bodmin MoorJamaica Inn - Bodmin MoorJamaica Inn - Bodmin Moor

Views from Day 10 (Colliford Lake to Launceston) of our Lands End to John o'Groats (LEJOG) charity walk.
Pieces of soggy rabbit carcass splattered my face for the umpteenth time. My skin was drenched to the bone and my waterlogged shoes squelched with every step I made. Car horns beeped. When I raised my head to see why they were honking , I was met with an array of abusive hand gestures. Other vehicles purposefully drove towards me travelling at eighty miles an hour. I instinctively jumped further into the uneven grass verge. I tripped often, spraining my ankles. The weight from my backpack pushed my face into the wet grass, rotting roadkill and other rubbish. I stumbled, struggling to return to my feet. Shivering miserably, I wished I was anywhere but here.

The rain was relentless. Spray from passing vehicles kept visibility on the treacherous A30 to a minimum. These weren't safe conditions for walking at all. Today's leg of the 1160 mile charity walk from Lands End to John o'Groats should have been cancelled. But with a tight schedule, my wife and I decided to push on. We hadn't originally planned on walking along the A30, but with poor visibility and terrible weather, we decided it was even riskier to attempt to walk across a boggy,
Southgate Arch - LauncestonSouthgate Arch - LauncestonSouthgate Arch - Launceston

Views from Day 10 (Colliford Lake to Launceston) of our Lands End to John o'Groats (LEJOG) charity walk.
waterlogged Bodmin Moor. The A30, which runs from London to Lands End and cuts Bodmin Moor in two, was our only other option.

If things weren't already depressing enough, neither of us had slept well. After arriving at the campsite and seeing a man pleasing himself amongst the surrounding trees, it was hard to relax as night fell. Throughout the night a montage of spooky sounds made us wish the morning sun would quickly arrive. The wind howling through tree branches and a nearby owl's echoing hoot kept us on edge.

In the early hours of the morning, I was forced to make the long walk to the campsite's only toilet. Moonlight shone down, lighting up the grassy field. I could make out the white rabbit seen the day before in the distance. It was still chasing his wild counterparts around in circles. Looking up to the heavens, I was happy to see the forecasted rainclouds had yet to arrive. A glowing light moved slowly across the sky before mysteriously disappearing. Of course it could have been a plane or shooting star but already struggling to settle down and get some sleep, my mind raced.

Just before
Cornish CountrysideCornish CountrysideCornish Countryside

On the outskirts of Launceston. Views from Day 10 (Colliford Lake to Launceston) of our Lands End to John o'Groats (LEJOG) charity walk.
dawn the rain finally came, lashing down in buckets. The noise on the tent sounded like the arrival of the four horsemen of the apocalypse. There was no point attempting to get any sleep now. With expert precision, we packed up and left with minimal fuss despite the downpour. Neither of us spoke.

We had known the previous day that bad weather was coming. Not only had we changed our route for today, but we'd made the decision to change our accommodation too. Neither of us wanted to sleep in a wet tent with all our belongings saturated. Instead we had booked in to a B&B in the town of Launceston, our finishing point for the day. This would be the first night since starting our charity walk, where we would have the luxury of sleeping in a bed. This put an extra urgency in our step and kept us focused, despite the weather.

Heads down, my wife and I walked at speed from the campsite and back on to the A30. We would follow this all the way to Launceston, still almost 14 miles away. It didn't take long to realise that our waterproof clothing was anything
Launceston CastleLaunceston CastleLaunceston Castle

Views from Day 10 (Colliford Lake to Launceston) of our Lands End to John o'Groats (LEJOG) charity walk.
but waterproof. Our clothes soon became saturated. Droplets of cold rainwater regularly trickled down our backs.

Before today, I never knew how many animals were killed on Britain's roads. Every few minutes we'd pass a rotting carcass. The variety was impressive. Cats, dogs, foxes, badgers, weasels, stoats, rabbits, sheep and many unidentifiable remains littered the lanes of the road and grassy verge. Some were kicked up from passing vehicles, splattering us with a putrid foulness of decay.

Shortly after joining the A30 we passed the town of Bolventer. While it may have looked unassuming, dismal and dull, the town of Bolventer is actually one of the most visited locations on Bodmin Moor. That's down to Jamaica Inn, which owes its fame to Daphne Du Maurier and the novel of the same name she published in 1936. After getting lost whilst riding on the moor, she ended up staying here and her book, written on this area, is set in a time when smuggling activities by rogues and scoundrels were still rife. Today Jamaica Inn, possibly named for its past trading of contraband rum, is over four centuries old. Seeing the dedicated Daphne museum and parking bays for tour
Launceston Parish Church of St. MaryLaunceston Parish Church of St. MaryLaunceston Parish Church of St. Mary

Views from Day 10 (Colliford Lake to Launceston) of our Lands End to John o'Groats (LEJOG) charity walk.
buses, it looks to have sold out to the best of tourism.

We continued on at a pace quicker than any day walked so far. There was nothing pleasant about walking along a main road in torrential rain, with vehicles passing only inches away. The one thing I certainly wasn't expecting was the level of abuse received from the passing vehicles. While lorries and trucks safely and politely gave us a wide-berth, cars were less forgiving, forcing us further away from the road with confrontational driving and unjustified abuse.

Over the next three hours, the abuse was relentless. It was hard to ignore, but try our best we did. Considering the weather and how much heavier our backpacks had become from the additional rainwater that had saturated through them, our pace impressed us.

The closer we got to Launceston, the slower the miles seemed to pass. Morale was dipping and we used differing motivational techniques to keep us going. While I drifted away into my own thoughts, like JD on an episode of Scrubs, my wife sang with fierce gusto. I can only imagine what views passing drivers had of us: my wife singing enthusiastically to herself
Cornish CountrysideCornish CountrysideCornish Countryside

Views from Day 10 (Colliford Lake to Launceston) of our Lands End to John o'Groats (LEJOG) charity walk.
and me pulling contorted faces while holding conversations with my daydreams. Maybe the abuse was justified!

Just before midday, Launceston came into view and our pace picked up to an almost jog as we navigated the last mile to our bed and breakfast accommodation. It's amazing how quickly every day commodities become an item of luxury. It had only been ten days since starting our charity walk, but having a bed to sleep on and a TV to watch made us as excited as a seven year old on Christmas Day morning. We immediately stripped out of our dripping clothes and for the next hour sat naked under the sheets of our twin beds, our eyes fixated on the TV.

We would have stayed there all afternoon if it hadn't been for our growling stomachs. After showering and laying our wet belongings over every inch of available flooring, in the hope they would dry by the following morning, we ventured out to explore Launceston. Luckily with packing my belongings inside several refuge bags, most had stayed dry.

The rain had finally stopped, but the skies remained grey and volatile. Lying on the Cornish-Devon border, Launceston is known
Launceston CastleLaunceston CastleLaunceston Castle

Views from Day 10 (Colliford Lake to Launceston) of our Lands End to John o'Groats (LEJOG) charity walk.
as 'The Gateway to Cornwall' and was once the capital of this county. It has the only document in the UK signed by Queen Mary II and her husband William of Orange and with its Georgian houses, narrow streets and market square it is quintessentially Cornish.

The Norman-built Launceston castle dominates the town. Built around 1070, today its nothing more than a ruin and one of the few highlights the town has to offer. While deciding what to do with the rest of the afternoon, a pregnant mother passed us, pushing her infant child with one hand, while swigging from a two-litre bottle of Strongbow with the other. Her child was covered in a demolished Cornish pasty. Chunks of beef were in her lap, while flakes of pastry covered her mouth, cheeks and nose.

Without realising it, this infant had just decided our plan for the rest of the afternoon. With rain threatening to fall again, we found a local bakery and with a number of Cornish pasties, pastries and other baked delights purchased, we returned to our bed and breakfast and enjoyed our one night of luxury, stuffing our faces with the last authentic Cornish delights we would eat before entering Devon tomorrow. Content with our purchases, we decided that if the British weather was to turn nasty again, another night in a B&B would have to be our reward for walking through it. With a fluffy pillow under my head, I secretly hoped there would be more rainy days to come.

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


Start Location: Colliford Lake
End Location: Launceston
Distance Covered: 13.97 miles
Start Time: 07:10
End Time: 11:50
Total Walking Time: 4 hours 40 minutes
(this includes all rest and stoppage time between start and end location and not just walking time)
Footpaths Used: None. Due to worsening weather, and the dangers of walking across a boggy, misty Bodmin Moor, we made the decision to stick to the more direct A30.
Accommodation: Glencoe Villa, Launceston, PL15 9BB. Cost: £66 (Owner gave a £2 donation towards our charity walk challenge).


Total Land's End to John o'Groats (LEJOG) Walking Distance: 1160.23 miles
Total Distance Covered: 116.59 miles (10.05%!)(MISSING)
Average Miles Walked per Day: 11.66 miles
Days Walked: 10 (out of 82)

Pint(s) of the Day:

Honey Gold (Sharps Brewery, Rock, Cornwall, PL27 6NU) (4.2%!)(MISSING)
A seasonal summer ale from Sharps Brewery, this light golden ale is a thirst quencher. Five varieties of hops are used and combined with Cornish honey and root ginger sourced by the Eden Project. This creates an addictive bittersweet flavour.

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


29th April 2012

Launceston is an awesome place just a heaven for me where i spent 2 years of my job
30th April 2012

It wasn't a bad place at all.....pretty central to plenty of decent attractions to visit.....not that much going on in the town itself though.......easily enough to keep you occupied for a few hours!

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