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Jay Walking

LEJOG: Queens Indian to Shell Wood

I woke at 6 AM and was ready to leave at 7:10 AM, my tent was pretty soaked with condensation inside and out so it would need drying at some point.  Luckily it was going to be another hot, hot day.

I headed off along the road, past the Screech Owl Centre  before turning off along a footpaths which went past a farm, after which the footpath became  more of a traditional Cornish one, being not maintained or signposted and a small period of bush whacking started.  Now I was an experienced bush whacker this did not fazed me at all, in fact I thought the farmer had not put  much effort into not maintaining it.  True he had piled up about 20 metres of schist to a height of about 1.5 metres but this would not bother the least experienced of bush whackers.

Looking back, moorlands in the foreground and Castle Farm and it's fields in the dis
10 brown and white cows lined up shoulder to shoulder looking towards the camera

I eventually arrived at a road and after crossing headed past the well maintained Castle Farm, no rotting cars or piles of rubbish to be seen.  Reaching Tregonetha Downs I crossed them, heading East to reach a small road though not before stepping in a large cow pat something I had not done since visiting the Indian city of Varanasi many years ago.  The previous occasion was a lot worse as I was only wearing sandals at the time.

Crossing the road I headed into another piece of downlands,  I had bit of trouble finding the footpath until I saw a dozen or so cows running along it.  After passing the cows I headed along with them following behind me at a distance, they seemed interested but scared but were getting nearer.  Heading through a handy gate I spent a fruitless 30 minutes trying to find my way, across some moorland through the ferns and thistles, eventually giving up and heading back to the road.  On a more positive note I did manage to put my foot in a boggy area which cleaned the cow shit off. 

I followed the road for a few kilometres, leaving it to use  another traditional Cornish footpath, relying on the OS app to keep me on the right track.  At the end of this footpath, I encountered a collie standing in the middle of it, looking at me. I was unsure of his attitude but as I got nearer a slight wag of his tail told me he was okay and I said hello to him. A long period of road walking started after leaving the footpath, luckily it was often on shaded undulating tracks and I was able to keep quite cool.  I saw a dead mole at one point with no indication of how it had come to be there, there were also a number of birds of prey around though I am not sure what species they were.  At one point I saw a heavily laden cyclist come towards me and we stopped to chat, he had camping gear and loaded panniers.  He was called Mark and was from the Philippines via Los Angeles, and had cycled from John O'Groats in 15 days and would finish today, he had wanted to walk it but hadn't had the time.  He had already walked some big routes such as from Rome to Canterbury.

Mark the cyclist on his bike,  looking tanned and fit
Bodmin Jail an old large stone building now a restaurant and hotel

I had decided to modify my original route and head to the town of Bodmin, I needed some blister plasters and probably some more food as I was probably going to wild camp tonight so wanted to pick up some extra rations.  The walk to Bodmin was uneventful, I stopped for 30 minutes at Tremorebridge, taking out my tent and letting it dry out.  I also used my water filter for the first time, filtering half a litre from the small stream next to the road.  An hour after this and I was on the outskirts of Bodmin, it was getting really hot but the way into the town, along an A road was pretty well shaded.

The first thing I did was stop at the "Pots" cafe and have a  vegetarian breakfast and a cup of tea, after which I brought 4 packs of blister plasters and headed to the local park, where Bodmin Pride was underway.  They had a few acts singing famous tunes, I sat away but could still hear it.  I spent the next few hours resting and drying out my tent and the socks I had washed yesterday.  After this I went back to town and picked up 2 high calorie meals from Millets before heading to the Camel Trail.  

I asked a local which fork in the road I should take to get to the trail and he told me that it was on the other side of town, not in the direction a sign on the street said.  He pointed out that the sign had been bent round and was pointing in the wrong direction.  I was incredibly grateful for the help he gave me, it would have been depressing to walk in the wrong direction in the current heat. By 4 PM I was starting the Camel Trail which is a bike route based on a disused railway line.  It was a pleasure to walk as it was well shaded, ambling alongside the River Camel, sometimes high above the river sometimes near it, though often inaccessible from the trail. I was hoping to use it to filter more water but because I could not guarantee getting it I called in a house and got a couple of litres.

A baby pheasant on the Camel Trail

I stopped walking around 6:30 PM at a place called Shell Wood which looked like the last place I would be able to wildcamp, searching for a place to put my tent up.  I made dinner and got ready for my first solo wildcamp and my first wildcamp of any type for many years. I decided to put it up a small slope behind the a picnic area, though at the last moment two men and a dog drove into the carpark and started to walk a dog. When they came back from the walk and I went down from my camping area and chatted to them and once they left set up my camp and prepared to sleep.