Bonking Bunnies (Land's End to Pendeen) (Day 1 - Walking Land's End to John o'Groats)


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June 25th 2011
Published: November 9th 2011
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Land's End to John o'Groats Official Start PointLand's End to John o'Groats Official Start PointLand's End to John o'Groats Official Start Point

Starting our 1160 mile charity walk at Land's End, Cornwall.
Everybody knows that rabbits like to have sex. A lot. Outside my three man tent, which should be re-labelled a two man tent for midgets, there was one wild rabbit orgy going on. The number of bonking Thumpers beggared belief. In every direction their silhouettes could be seen under the orange-glow of the campsite floodlights exerting quick, energetically-charged thrusts of movement. Throughout the night many of these loved-up creatures bounced into our tent, obviously blinded by their passionate affairs. It was near impossible to sleep through the racket and both my wife and I awoke tired, grumpy and with the excitement levels of a 90 year old being forced into a nursing home by their own offspring. We were in no mood to start our 1160 mile charity walk from Land's End to John o'Groats.

As daylight broke, I shared a pot noodle breakfast with my wife, slurping and grumbling in equal measures. It was cold, windy and the rolling sea mist kept visibility down to only a few metres. We packed the saturated tent away, drenched inside and out from a combination of our own perspiration and drizzle. Now in a crumpled heap in my bag, the thought of
South West Coast Path ViewsSouth West Coast Path ViewsSouth West Coast Path Views

Views from Day 1(Land's End to Pendeen) of our 1160 mile charity walk from Land's End to John o'Groats.
sleeping inside this for the next three months was starting to sound less and less appealing.

It was only a mile walk from the campsite to Land's End, our starting point. A group of cyclists setting off on their own Land's End to John o'Groats (LEJOG) adventure passed by in a far more jovial mood than our grumpy nature. "Just finishing?" the lead rider enquired. "Just starting," I replied immediately. I couldn't help but let out a sarcastic laugh. They quickly disappeared behind us. They would finish their end-to-end challenge in two weeks. It would take us twelve weeks longer.

Although only 9am, Land's End was already a beehive of activity. Bus loads of Asian tourists pulled into the car park. For many, Land's End is nothing more than a disappointing tourist trap. A selection of unrelated attractions and an overpriced hotel. For those attempting to make their way from Land's End to John o'Groats or vice-versa, there is the informative, motivational displays of the End to End Museum. Portraying the stories of many who have attempted this long distance journey, I was happy to learn that the shortest distance between the two points was the equivalent of
Cape CornwallCape CornwallCape Cornwall

Views from Day 1(Land's End to Pendeen) of our 1160 mile charity walk from Land's End to John o'Groats.
climbing up and down Mount Everest eighty times. This didn't seem such a great amount, even if we were going to be walking three hundred miles further than this.

After signing our names in the official LEJOG registration book at the Land's End Hotel reception and having our photo taken at the official start point, we were ready to begin. I took my bag off and stretched, giving my wife a hug and an overly enthusiastic 'good luck' kiss, which took her by surprise. We had only walked a mile so far but this was the longest either my wife or I had walked with our rucksacks. My shoulder blades were on fire and ached. Weighing in at 14kg and 10kg, our bags were less than those of others who we came across when carrying out our research. They still felt bulky and awkward.

It didn't take long to leave the crowds behind, making our way northwards along the South West Coast Path towards Pendeen, our end destination of the day. We would use the South West Coast Path for the first week, taking it as far as Newquay, a bustling seaside town famous for surfing and underage
South West Coast Path ViewsSouth West Coast Path ViewsSouth West Coast Path Views

Views from Day 1(Land's End to Pendeen) of our 1160 mile charity walk from Land's End to John o'Groats.
binge drinking, before cutting inland.

The South West Coast Path, maintained by the National Trust is a 630 mile (1014km) national trail and Britain's longest way-marked long-distance footpath. It starts in Minehead ,Somerset and runs along the coast through Devon and Cornwall before ending in Poole, Dorset. Continuing on with the Mount Everest fact-based theme, if you walked the trail in its entirety, the total height climbed would be four times that of Everest. It's not just a stroll along the beach. Undulating is an under-statement.

We looked behind us towards Land's End and The Longships Lighthouse. Fern, heather and brambles covered the rugged landscape. Beneath us the white-horse crests of waves crashed against rocks, causing an almighty din. It was chilly and we made slow progress towards our destination, stopping regularly to take photos. Slugs and snails covered the gravel path. When our concentration was diverted to day dreams and thoughts, the sounds of crunching underfoot brought us back to reality.

I like to think I have a good sense of direction, always referring to my years at University studying geography as proof. This was one of several reasons we'd decided to not carry maps of
Cornish Mining LandscapeCornish Mining LandscapeCornish Mining Landscape

Views from Day 1(Land's End to Pendeen) of our 1160 mile charity walk from Land's End to John o'Groats.
our intended path with us. Not only are they bulky and heavy, but needing 54 OS Explorer Maps (1:25,000) costing around £8 each, they didn't come cheap. Instead we put our faith in technology. Picking an iPhone and downloading the UK Maps application for £6.99, which includes OS Maps down to 1:10,000 for all of Great Britain, this seemed the more logic avenue of choice. Unlike using maps and a compass, the GPS on the phone pinpointed our exact location and the direction in which we were walking. This came in extremely handy. Within the first hour of walking, we managed to get lost twice. A little disappointing considering all we had to do was keep the Atlantic Ocean on our left.

Eating and drinking on a regular basis, we admired the derelict industrial landscape. An agglomeration of chimneys and mine shafts from a more glorified, prosperous past of copper and tin mining surrounded us. Peregrine falcons, herring gulls, shags and rock pipits now replaced the forgotten miners.

Mining views gave way to Cape Cornwall, once thought to be the most westerly point in England before the first OS map was published in the nineteenth century. It is
South West Coast Path ViewsSouth West Coast Path ViewsSouth West Coast Path Views

Views from Day 1(Land's End to Pendeen) of our 1160 mile charity walk from Land's End to John o'Groats.
the only cape in England and the point where the Atlantic currents split and flow south down the English Channel or north into the Bristol Channel and Irish Sea. With the sea mist clearing, The Brisons, two small rocky islets about a mile out to sea, were just visible.

There was still over half of today's walk left to complete and we were starting to struggle. Feet felt clumsy and heavy, stumbling over some of the larger rocks that littered the path. The pace slowed, the conversation stopped and we concentrated on getting to Pendeen.

It was getting towards mid-afternoon when we reached the Levant Mine and Beam Engine, departing the South West Coast Path for the day and heading inland towards Pendeen. The Levant and Beam Engine is the only Cornish beam engine anywhere in the world that is still in steam on its original site. In its heyday the mine reached a depth of six-hundred metres. Although a tourist attraction that sounded like it had the ability to send me into a coma with immediate effect, it was recently rated in the top ten tourist attractions in the country by a national newspaper.

Pendeen has
Cape CornwallCape CornwallCape Cornwall

Views from Day 1(Land's End to Pendeen) of our 1160 mile charity walk from Land's End to John o'Groats.
the feeling of a quintessential English village in decline. Like many Cornish seaside villages, in the past it had a reputation for smuggling activities. Everyone knows everyone, with life rotating around the village shop, chip shop, post office and pub (The North Inn), where locals pour their own pints into their own personal glasses.

After pitching our tent in a field adjacent to The North Inn, showering and stretching out the cramp in our shoulders, we entered the pub, spending the majority of the evening there. We were both exasperated to have finished. With a new iPhone to charge to make sure we could keep on the right path, we never had a better excuse to drink alcohol.

Once inside a village pub, eavesdropping on the conversations of locals never fails to delight. Today's main topic of discussion was the inability for one regular to keep her legs shut. Sitting at the bar in an all male group, these ageing borderline alcoholics argued the need for her not to give in to her husband's demands for drunken sex every evening. Defending her decision, she argued, "but if I let him have sex then I get control of the
Cornish Mining LandscapeCornish Mining LandscapeCornish Mining Landscape

Views from Day 1(Land's End to Pendeen) of our 1160 mile charity walk from Land's End to John o'Groats.
remote.............I don't want to, his breath stinks and he has the beer sweats." She slurred through her words. It's nice to hear about marriages built on such solid foundations. They wrapped the conversation up by exploring the possibilities of accusing her husband of rape the next time it happened so to gain control of the remote with no more repercussions. I was happy such thought processes had yet to make their way into Westminster.

As the sun made its first appearance of the day, before almost immediately fading from view, the pub started to fill with revellers celebrating a 50th birthday party. With the whole village seemingly turning out for it, we retreated back to our tent, falling asleep instantaneously. Our dreams centred on a repeat of today's excursions.



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

TODAY:

Start Location: Land's End
End Location: Pendeen
Distance Covered: 12.54 miles
Start Time: 08:30
End Time: 14:25
Total Walking Time: 5 hours 55 minutes
(this includes all rest and stoppage time between start and end location and not just walking time)
Footpaths Used: South West Coast Path. For a full indepth look at sights of interest
South West Coast Path ViewsSouth West Coast Path ViewsSouth West Coast Path Views

Views from Day 1(Land's End to Pendeen) of our 1160 mile charity walk from Land's End to John o'Groats.
passed during today's walk, please click here . This is the official South West Coast Path website, maintained by the National Trust.
Accommodation: The North Inn, The Square, Pendeen, TR19 7DN. Cost: £10.

OVERALL:

Total Land's End to John o'Groats Walking Distance: 1160.23 miles
Total Distance Covered: 12.54 miles (1.08%!)(MISSING)
Average Miles Walked per day: 12.54 miles
Days Walked: 1 day (out of 82)

Pint(s) of the Day:

Proper Job (St. Austell Brewery, St. Austell, Cornwall) (4.5%!)(MISSING)
"Proper Job is an authentic IPA brewed with Cornish spring water and a blend of malts including Cornish Gold. First brewwed in 2006 as a seasonal beer, it is now a permanent fixture at St. Austell Brewery and their second best selling cask ale. It's a powerfully golden bitter that explodes with citurs grapefruit flavours." (http://www.staustellbrewery.co.uk).

Trelawny (St. Austell Brewery, St. Austell, Cornwall) (3.8%!)(MISSING)
"Trelawny Ale invokes the best Cornish traditions, heritage and innovation. Locally grown barley is gently roasted to give this beer a classic burnished copper colour and a robust full body which belies its modest strength. Peach and apricot notes dominate the aroma, with hints of butterscotch and toffee apple. The taste is full,
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Views from Day 1(Land's End to Pendeen) of our 1160 mile charity walk from Land's End to John o'Groats.
with toasted biscuit and jam being balanced by the mellow, yet assertive bitterness of tangy hops." (http://www.staustellbrewery.co.uk).

Charity of Choice:

We are walking 1160 miles from Land's End to John o'Groats 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
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South West Coast Path ViewsSouth West Coast Path Views
South West Coast Path Views

Views from Day 1(Land's End to Pendeen) of our 1160 mile charity walk from Land's End to John o'Groats.
South West Coast Path ViewsSouth West Coast Path Views
South West Coast Path Views

Views from Day 1(Land's End to Pendeen) of our 1160 mile charity walk from Land's End to John o'Groats.
South West Coast Path ViewsSouth West Coast Path Views
South West Coast Path Views

Views from Day 1(Land's End to Pendeen) of our 1160 mile charity walk from Land's End to John o'Groats.
South West Coast Path ViewsSouth West Coast Path Views
South West Coast Path Views

Views from Day 1(Land's End to Pendeen) of our 1160 mile charity walk from Land's End to John o'Groats.
South West Coast Path ViewsSouth West Coast Path Views
South West Coast Path Views

Views from Day 1(Land's End to Pendeen) of our 1160 mile charity walk from Land's End to John o'Groats.
South West Coast Path ViewsSouth West Coast Path Views
South West Coast Path Views

Views from Day 1(Land's End to Pendeen) of our 1160 mile charity walk from Land's End to John o'Groats.
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South West Coast Path Views

Views from Day 1(Land's End to Pendeen) of our 1160 mile charity walk from Land's End to John o'Groats.
South West Coast Path ViewsSouth West Coast Path Views
South West Coast Path Views

Views from Day 1(Land's End to Pendeen) of our 1160 mile charity walk from Land's End to John o'Groats.
Cornish Mining LandscapeCornish Mining Landscape
Cornish Mining Landscape

Views from Day 1(Land's End to Pendeen) of our 1160 mile charity walk from Land's End to John o'Groats.
Sennen WildlifeSennen Wildlife
Sennen Wildlife

Views from Day 1(Land's End to Pendeen) of our 1160 mile charity walk from Land's End to John o'Groats.


14th November 2011

Very impressive!
That's a pretty ambitious undertaking to walk the whole LEJOG. I think it wouldn't be for me, seeing that you carry a 14kg-backpack. But the daily pint thing sounds good! Keen to read more about this epic walk. Cheers, Jens
22nd January 2012

Ambitious...............
.................or stupid! I think it was the the promise of local ale and the ability to eat large quantities of food and not gain weight that was the main attraction. Certainly not sure if I'd attempt such an endeavour again though.
21st January 2012

More blogs please...
I'd like to read more about your adventure....
22nd January 2012

..........I've been a little slack with writing (I blame reality, jobs and life!), but should have regular updates added from now on!

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