piątek, 5 lipca 2019

My Cornwall SWCP Eco-Challenge

I think it's probably time to write more about my fastpacking trip that will take place on 7-17 August 2019 – only a month is left to my big adventure.

On August 7, I am flying from Warsaw to Bristol. Then, a nice big coach will take me to Plymouth and from there I will start the trip along the South West Coast Path trail.
It will be a bit of a run and a bit of a hike. The idea is to make it similarly to my lastyear's Lofoten trip, which means that I want to do it alone, by myself and in the turtle-like style – carrying my whole "house" on my back: tent, sleeping bag, mat, food, water and all the things I need. According to the plan, the trip will take me 9 days and about 470 km.

Officially, the length of the South West Coast Path (SWCP) running through Devon, Cornwall and Dorset is 630 miles (1,014 km), but I will only cover the Cornish section of the route. At the moment, I sort of don’t have enough time for a thousand of kilometers with a backpack ;-)

I have thought a lot about how my trip could be useful to or help anyone but me. And I came up with this idea. I would like to invite you to participate in the ECO - CHALLENGE, from which my project took its name:


It will be a bit of fun, a bit of competition, and above all a little good for our mother Earth.
To participate in the game, you will need to give a like to the event's fan page, follow the posts with the tasks that will appear there during the trip (August 8-17) and engage yourself. I’m sure you will have a lot of satisfaction and positive feelings with the activities you will take.

Returning to the very details of my trip, usually the SWCP hikes are made counterclockwise, but I want to do it in the opposite direction, from Plymouth to Bude, mainly because I signed up for a race named  R.A.T. (Roseland AugustTrail), which will take place during my trip and whose route matches my own itinerary.


I do not know yet if I will thank or rather curse myself later for choosing this option, as in the final sections of the trail, I will have the most difficult steep climbs and descents to make and the highest cliff on the whole route (High Cliff - 223 m high, straight up from the sea). On the other hand – at that time, I will already have the lightest backpack, because almost all food I will carry will be gone.

I want to sleep mainly at campsites, and while staying in the cities of Plymouth and Barnstaple in hostels. At SWCP, it is not allowed to camp in the wild, and besides, I have to charge my GPS watch and powerbank every day. I will also need hot water for pouring over my morning muesli and evening lyophilized dinner, and I do not take the stove with me.

The plan is to make on average 50-60 km per day, with days below 50 km and days with a distance of 62 km. At the very beginning, I cover less miles, because on the third day of the trip I hope to compete with other runners in the local Black R.A.T. 32 mile race and I do not want to kill my legs before the start. I should be able to proudly represent my country there, so for the duration of the race I will put away my 6-7-kilo backpack and compete with the others a little bit.

Unfortunately, during the trip I will have to use as many as 5 or 6 times from the ferry crossing.  I do not know why there are so few bridges across the rivers in Cornwall, but in 6 places where the route crosses the river beds I would have to march even 10 km inland and back to get to the other side with dry feet and unaided. So, such ferry crossings are a standard way of overcoming these natural obstacles, although in Hayle, if there is going to be a low tide, I hope to be able to use a foot bridge to cross the river.

I do not plan to make a speed record on the SWCP route, i.e. FKT, because, above all, Cornwall is so beautiful that it would be a pity to run there like crazy looking just under my feet so as not to stumble. I do not know if I will have another opportunity to visit these areas again, so I want to have time to enjoy the views, feel the place, smell it, meet people on the way or at the campsite, or swim in the ocean if I feel like doing it. On the other hand, it will not be a leisure stroll either.

Besides, during the trip I want to follow the 7 rules of outdoor ethics named “Leave No Trace”.

1.       Plan ahead and prepare.
2.       Travel and camp on durable surfaces.
3.       Dispose of waste properly.
4.       Leave what you find.
5.       Minimize campfire impacts (be careful with fire).
6.       Respect wildlife.
7.       Be considerate of other visitors.

Walking or running along a route is already an environmentally friendly form of transport, but there are tourists and tourists. Those who respect the places they visit and those who do not care where they throw away an empty packaging, a bottle, or bluntly say where they will do their number two. Care for the environment is a important question for me, so I will try to leave only my footprints on the SWCP. 

A link to the trip's fan page and more details about the tasks to be fulfilled during the Eco-challenge will be published on my FB soon!

photos: visitcornwall.com, intocornwall.com

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