Sleeping in a tent is rarely quiet as the wind will blow the tent and the sea rumbles in the distance. You get used to this but I woke in the middle of the night to the sound of something. I say something because by the time I’d woken the noise had stopped. I wasn’t even sure what the noise was and I lay there in relative silence and all was quiet.
I closed my eyes and lay still. All was quiet I was just about to doze off when a loud rustling roused me. Apparently I wasn’t alone in my tent.
I reached over to get my head torch and the noise stopped carefully positioning the torch I lay still and waited.
The rustling started again and I switched on the torch. About six inches away was probably the smallest field mouse in Cornwall who was eating the crumbs from a cereal bar wrapper hence the noise. For a split second a pair of bright eyes met mine then he scampered under my ruck sack.
This was not an ideal situation, being kept awake all night by a ravenous rodent wasn’t a great prospect. Furthermore I wasn’t keen on him trying to nibble into my other food supplies during the night. However trying to catch a fast moving mouse in the the cramped confines of the tent wasn’t practical . It was tricky enough taking your coat off in the confined space and trying to grab a small fast moving animal would be beyond me I suspected.
Another question was what the mouse was likely to do when he had finished eating. I had no desire to have him stow away in my clothes or kit particularly as I had to squeeze everything to get in my rucksack and a dead squashed mouse wasn’t an ideal addition to my supplies.
So I carefully removed all the crumbs from the wrappers to make nice pile for Mr. Mouse that he could eat hopefully quietly. I then ensured the inner lining of the tent was open , despite the January cold, so he could leave easily back to his friends and relatives. My slight concern was that is friends and relatives could equally well come and join him but I felt the risk of a tent full of field mice was one worth taking.
I lay back down to sleep. In the morning the pile of crumbs was gone and so was the mouse. Though I did check every bag and pocket for mouse stowaways.
After the night’s excitement the walk also proved interesting. The rain had again converted most of the path to streams. I also had to contend with scrambling over wet boulders. This is problematic with a ruck sack with the added bonus you can’t see the trail so you don’t know if you’re even climbing over the right boulder.
The one thing I did learn about walking along flooded tracks was it was better to walk in the water as trying to walk along the sides gave you a large chance of slipping. My boots and gaiters protected be from the water and I did get a childish sense of satisfaction of meeting other walkers struggling to avoid getting wet while I splashed and sploshed through the water.
St Ives was a welcome site and I met a friend of mine Tom , who I hadn’t seen for years.
I was also offered hospitality in St Ives by Andy.
I was walking through St Ives on my phone while Andy gave be instructions.
“You should see a sign to Burrough street on your left”
“I can only see a sign to a car park”
“You don’t want that one”
“I can’t see a sign to Burrough Street”
“It’s on your left”
At which point a local who could hear my side of the conversation took my arm.
“I live in Burrough Street follow me”
He escorted me through and along Burrough Street.
“Right” said Andy “can you see the woman walking the dog”
“I can see two women walking dogs, Andy”
“ you need the one with the bulldog”
I got to Andy’s where I had tea and he took me of a tour of the harbour including the lodges where the teetotal fishermen sat and smoked and discussed the days fishing. A lot of St Ives Fisherman we’re Methodists hence the need for a teetotal lodge.
I had a beer and pizza with Tom and settled in my B and B. An eventful day.