From: Tinhay, Devon

To: Redgate (Bodmin Moor), Cornwall

Distance: 19.7 miles / 31.7 km

Total distance so far: 1,014 miles / 1,632 km

Date: 23 June 2021

The churchyard at Trebullett, where I dried out my soggy tent – some beautifully inscribed graves

There’s a saying, on the network of walking / pilgrimage routes that stretch like a web across Spain and Portugal, that the journey (the ‘camino’) provides. That has never been truer than today, the day I finally crossed over into my final county (hello Cornwall, you hilly beast!) and passed the 1,000 mile point of my journey… a feat I achieved as I wandered the aisles of the Tesco supermarket on the outskirts of Launceston!

The Kings Cross, a 9th century memorial to Doniert, the last recorded king of Cornwall

Despite being on my way by 7.30am this morning, I was still walking as it approached 6pm, with almost nine miles to go to reach the campsite I’d originally planned to head for. My earlier finish yesterday, combined with the seriously undulating terrain underfoot today, and much hotter weather than was forecast, meant it would be impossible for me to get there much before 10pm, and I was hopeful something – an unexpected B&B or campsite, would appear miraculously before me, despite nothing being marked on my maps or on google. I got something better; Nikki.

Some of the old mine works on Bodmin Moor

I was seriously flagging as I hiked down from Minions (a place I’d just HAD to walk through – not necessarily reliable internet sources suggest it’s become a more popular place to visit since the Despicable Me films, featuring the yellow creatures of the same name, were released), the highest village in Cornwall, atop the wild beauty of the edges of Bodmin Moor. A couple, just a few miles before, had offered me a lift, but sorely tempted as I was, I explained about the walk I’m on and continued on my way. Then I saw a woman standing in a driveway, smiling at me; Nikki had seen me limping my way down the road (I stumbled yesterday and exacerbated an existing injury, which has slowed me down considerably for the past two days) and wanted to invite me in for a drink. In the end, she also invited me to have a shower, dinner, G&Ts and to stay the night. I had the most unexpected and lovely evening talking to Nikki and her family, in their beautiful, creative home, and I am so very grateful to them for letting this weary walker stay in their garden annex (they call it a shed, but it was so lovely I’ve given it a posher name) for the night. You can plan a trip as much as you like – although, admittedly, not a huge amount of planning has gone into this walk – but you can never plan for the people you meet, and they are the magic element.

Locals are apparently divided about the addition of the ‘yellow fellows‘. Made me smile though.