Three words to describe today; challenging, painful but fun.
After what we felt was a well-earned lie in we had breakfast and left for our 18 mile coastal path walk to Bude. And the sun was out, finally! We reached the sea and although tempted to jump straight in we had hills to climb, and lots of them.
It was the first time we had seen the sea since Gretna in Scotland, and to me the seaside reminds me of my parents- they took us to the beach come rain or shine every weekend until I was 16, making this part of our trip special for me.
We stopped for lunch 13 miles in next to a small sandy beach with two very large hills either side of us. Seeing holiday makers sunbathing made Kate and I quite jealous so we didn't stick around for long. Our next hill was one of the steepest yet, but for both of us it showed us how much fitter we were getting; we climbed it no problem, even in the gorgeous summer heat.
However, as always, where there's an up there's a down. I now know what it feels like to be my 82 year old nan going down stairs, and I've decided getting old isn't going to be much fun. I snail-paced it as my knees were complaining- what I didn't know was things were about to get a lot worse.
We looked across in to the distance and as Kate took in the glorious views, all I could see was three horses in our next field. As my stomach churned I continued on slowly trying to create any other possible pathway. I was out of luck, and by the time we had reached the gate the three horses were right there at the fence- waiting for us.
Kate tried to calm me as she ran through step by step instructions of how to keep walking forwards, even when a horse is approaching you, tears starting rolling down my face in pure fear of my next challenge. I was gifted the smallest second where the horses turned their backs and you have never seen me run so fast in all my life (though considering the 22kg rucksack on my back, that's probably an exaggeration).
I eventually looked round to check Kate was still alive and now with my knees and hands shaking, I was sweating all over. Keen to reach the next fence I continued, now heading up a hill with 30m or so between me and Kate, I started having a panic attack. Trying to breathe was hard enough besides the fact I couldn't see with all the tears blocking my view.
I finally reached the gate and feeling grateful that I had made it through alive I tried to calm myself down and catch my breath again. It was crazy, I have dived with sharks and not been that scared... and to think they are just a four legged animal with a long tail.
Leaving that experience behind I obviously let myself relax too much as I found us lost, walking forests with no path, climbing barbed wire fences and crossing streams, all for 90 minutes, just in circles. But I loved it, to me this was what the adventure was about- and as Melinda would say, make your own path and follow your senses.
We finally found our final destination where Tabitha (my boss) was meeting us with her family at our campsite. A BBQ was cooked and prosecco poured, it was a perfect end to a challenging but fun day. And so lovely to see a familiar face. Tabs even let us share her 6 man tent- Kate and I felt it was a treat to have a different home for the night, without mentioning the pillow! It had been a great day, and now with only 8 days to go the count down was on!