… Then we had turned and were heading east, it felt very tangible, like forcibly resetting the internal compass. Taking the edge of the cliff top track we were rewarded by a continually shifting sense of exposure while the landscape and a mighty sea slugged it out like heavyweights, each meeting the other’s blunt force, each tiring and collapsing a little as the storm wore on. We walked miles like this, unable to hear each other above the anarchy. Eventually we were at Chair Ladder, again buffeted by powerful images of feeling alone and committed on the great stretches of this golden cliff in all stages of my climbing from 1967 onwards.
As we came towards Porthcurno, our stopping point, the rain eventually stopped too, put us down for the night and went elsewhere. We picked our way down the very steep steps beside the Minnack open air theatre, full concentration still very necessary, onto the sandy brilliance of this special little cove at around 5.30. We took off layers of wet clothes and laid them to dry in the late, strong sun. Vally sketched, Rob changed into his swimming costume and strode into the sea past signs warning of the treacherous undertow, and I walked about with my toes in the sand, grinning.