Saturday August 10 Bodmin to Bolventor

Miles walked: today 19 miles; cumulative 170.5 miles

Whoops!estimated mileage today was 16 miles. Not helped by poor map reading and then failure to find the permissive path down from Brown Willy.

First, thanks to Ros at Scrumptious for a lovely B&B and nice breakfast. I continue to surprise my hosts by not going for the “full English”. I find it difficult to set off on a full stomach, particularly if I have a long day and need to get going from the off.

2 mascots are now riding in the rucksack, one is more useful than the other

My fears were not realised and, apart from a little drizzle at the start there was no rain at all today.

I set off on the Camel Trail,turning North-east towards Wenfordbridge. It follows the course of the Wenford to Wadebridge railway, one of the earliest to open. It is stated that it was built to transport sand from the coast to inland farms to be used for fertiliser. However it’s main use was to transport China clay from quarries near Wenford. Little remains apart from a derelict factory and lines where the railway crosses roads

Bridge over the Camel

By the way, there are no camels in Cornwall, the name derives from the Cornish for crooked, the river has a very tortuous course.

Walking was very easy and I made good time. I was mostly in mixed woodland interspersed with river views.

After 6 miles I left the river and walked along lanes to St Breward for lunch

Light at the end of the tunnel?

After lunch things went a bit awry, nothing to do with the pint of Tribute I had at lunchtime. I took the wrong path out of St Breward. Not to worry, it went the right way. I then started to climb on to Bodmin Moor.

Disaster! Sloppy map reading. I headed too far North and wasted time and distance to get back on course. I walked past King Arthur’s hall, a Neolithic structure who’s function is unknown

With a lot of zig-zagging to find the path, I walked around Garrow Tor, an area of special archaeological interest ranging from Stone Age remnants to medieval field systems. I always think there is little for the layman to see, and this was no exception; however, there was a beehive hut but I found out too late to search for it.

I then climbed to the top of brown willy. For the first today I was troubled by gales along the summit ridge. Fortunately I was stabilised by the weight of my rucksackApproaching the summit of brown willy.

There are 2 theories regarding the name. One is that it is a corruption of the Cornish Bronn Ughella meaning highest hill, it is the highest hill in Cornwall at 420 metres. The other is that it derives from Bronn Wennili meaning hill of swallows.

Legend says that an ancient Cornish king is buried under the summit cairn but it has never been excavated.

The next two navigation problems were not my fault. I couldn’t locate the permissive path off the summit to Bolventor. This didn’t add to distance but required more effort to walk through the long grass. Then, as I approached the Jamaica Inn I could almost taste the pint…. I was separated from it by the dual carriageway,in a cutting, of the A30. Unlike the nursery rhyme (bear hunt for those who have forgotten) couldn’t go through it ; had to go round it

Mark Moxon, in his book, found the Jamaica Inn very disappointing. He describes the food as “self service cafeteria like”. I am pleased to report that things have obviously changed since 2003. The current landlord has only been there 3 years so I do not know if he or his predecessor changed things, but there was nothing wrong with my steak and ale pie.

When I walked in I was struck how the bar was as I had imagined it from reading the book. I don’t know whether it dates from the 1930s or whether it has been restored. I then found out that du Maurier lived there at the time she was writing the book, her writing desk is in a small museum.

Spoiler alert! The pub is not named after Jamaica rum but after a local Landowning family two of whose members were governors of Jamaica. It was never deserted as in the book but was a busy coaching inn. However, it is likely that smugglers did stop there in the 19th century when they were transporting the loot.

I certainly was not woken by smugglers during the night