Thursday, 13 May 2010

The End

Well, it's taken the best part of a day to get here, but at last I am at the start – Land's End.

Actually ,it was a pretty easy journey. The flight from Newcastle to Exeter was smooth and without incident, though nobody can make the whole process of flying anything less than ghastly. Getting through security, even for an internal flight, is excruciatingly stressful though at least I did not have to take my shoes off to prove that I wasn't carrying gelignite in my socks.

Airports themselves are pretty chilling, soul-less places at the best of times – with all that waiting around, the constant warnings over the PA about unattended baggage and the crazy security, its no surpriose there's a tangible unseen terror pervading everything. Frankly, airports often seem to be a bit like a shopping mall crossed with an operating theatre.

Compared to the stresses of flying, catching the bus into Exeter was a piece of cake. As was catching the train to Penzance – a much more pleasant way to travel. Stunning views as the track clings to cliff before plunging deep into the low rolling hills of Cornwall.

Penzance is an attractive little town set against an enviable ocean backdrop. It is a town of small shops, and all the richer for it. Yes, the big High Street chains are here, but they are constricted by the generally small size of the buildings themselves and therefore there is plenty of room left for smaller shops to succeed. And succeed they do, it seems.

The bus station is on the harbour side and passengers wait beneath white tented canopies which look appropriately like sails. Nice touch, I thought. One slightly worrying feature, however, was the length of time I had to wait for my bus to Land's End – about an hour and a half! When it came, though, I was delighted to find it was an open-topper so everyone trooped upstairs and we all enjoyed an exhilarating, sun-blest and wind-blown ride to Land's End.

Land's End itself is in every sense a visitor centre (ker-ching...) with amusements (ker-ching...), Ye Olde Pasty Shoppes (ker-ching) and about a dozen other ways for you pointlessly spend your money. It's a sort of smaller, less fun-packed Blackpool but with fewer lights.

I'm staying at the Land's End Hotel, which is rather smart and has a fabulous dining room looking out over the cliffs. I bathed during my meal in a rather wonderful sunset with finished the day off better than a malt whisky (though only just).

Tomorrow, I'm going home... though it may take a little while!

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