I was a teenager when I came to the realisation that if I wanted to do something badly enough I’d better get used to doing it on my own: not everybody likes what I like and people don’t always want to join you if they do. It’s hard when you’re painfully shy as I was to put yourself out there, but I figured if I didn’t I’d have no fun at all. And no one to blame but myself. So I’ve ended up doing a lot of things on my own over the years; going to the cinema or the theatre, going for a meal, joining a class, or my running club…
I’ve been walking a fair bit of late, around 30 miles a week or so over 4 or 5 days; I keep asking myself why I’m doing it. I feel like I’m looking for something but I don’t know what. Answers maybe? But to what questions. I know that for me walking’s a time to notice things, like today as I was walking down a steep grassy hill in the finest mizzle. I was looking at my feet, transfixed as the water saturating the grass flung from my shoes in a silvery spray with each forward step. It seemed like something and nothing
We’re on to a new map, but my map of the area is holed and creased with the ink thumbed away to nothing in places. It’s been just a few weeks since I was last here, a beach stomp at Godrevy before the storms. It didn’t have the purpose of this walk and the further west we get on this particular mission the more excited I become. I’ve lived here 30 years, it goes to say I’ve walked significant parts of the coastline in that time
Sea water and rain pool on the rocks like spilt milk, reflecting the white misty glaze that washes the sky. Miles of sand floats on beyond the horizon, the clear edge of the land invisible, caught under thick, tumbling clouds. We watch the sunlight break through in silence. It creates a shifting tracery across the sand reminding me of light falling through high stained-glass windows onto the stone floor of a mediaeval cathedral.
It’s pitch black. I’m struggling to see anything at the back of the car as I tussle my bike off the rack. There’s an eery quiet, nothing but the sound of the ocean. The waves sound big and much closer than I expected. I lock the car and wonder, vaguely, if it’ll still be there tomorrow when I come back to find it. I cycle off anxiously leaving it isolated and vulnerable, probably to vandalism rather than being washed away on another spring tide. There isn’t much at Godrevy, except the lighthouse
Steps. Up. And Up. With each twist in direction I have to stop; my legs are heavy and my lungs won’t fill up enough. After a mile or so’s walking Katie and I have just started on today’s coastal section and I’m already exhausted. Man flu
I feel like I’m at school getting my bag all packed for the morning. Sandwich made, milk in a bright pink plastic bottle (left here by a 7 year girl ironically enough), both tucked up waiting in the fridge; flask on the counter ready for some fresh coffee, sitting next to some all important soon-to-be-crushed Cadbury’s mini rolls. Nothing healthy. It’s about 1am and I can’t sleep
If your best laid plans oft go astray, why bother making them? That’s what I asked myself last night when my head was about to explode trying to work out the logistics of a ‘simple’ point to point walk along the Cornish coast path from Lands End. Not gonna happen. Not in the off-season when public transport seems to have disappeared off the map completely (it looks pretty sketchy during the on-season too).