WITH the January weather proving variable, my forty-second birthday saw me ambling gently along five miles or so of the Thames from London Bridge to Greenwich in the company of two good friends. This was entirely lovely. It also reawakened my desire to walk around the coast again.
Thus, a week later, I found myself dozing fitfully through the eight hour overnight bus journey from London to Penzance.
I SPENT my seventh day in Cornwall having a day of rest, on which I took the Scillonian III over to St Mary in the Isles of Scilly, accompanied for part of the crossing by dolphins, and generally had a pleasant time chilling out on the mist-shrouded island.
But I’m not going to tell you about any of that; I’m blogging about the walks.
The weekend before last saw me back in Cornwall, taking a week out to walk the coast from Looe to Land’s End. Because I thought it would be fun.
The first day’s walk was from Looe to Par where, having failed to find any accommodation near Par that wouldn’t require a second mortgage or major gold robbery to pay for, I would be jumping on a train back to Plymouth to stay in one of that city’s fine hotels.
Dy’ Sul, my a wrug kerdhes dhiworth Aberplymm dhe Logh (ha dhiworth Dewnans dhe Gernow ynwedh).
Or, in English…
On Sunday, I walked from Plymouth to Looe (and also from Devon to Cornwall). Although technically I didn’t actually walk from Devon to Cornwall as that bit was handled by the Cremyll Ferry as it crossed the Hamoaze, the estuarine part of the River Tamar.
OCTOBER having brought unseasonal warm weather to southern England, I made doubly sure to have packed sunscreen before catching a train back down to Plymouth. My original plan for the day involved the Cawsand ferry but, so far as I could tell, it had finished for the season and so I settled for a leisurely jaunt within the confines of Plymouth’s city limits.
HAVING gone to bed without an alarm, I awoke at about four in the morning and vaguely snoozed until about six. I freely admit that I didn’t really want to get up and look out of the window because the dull grey half-light strongly suggested rain. By the time I had performed my ablutions and got dressed, it was a grimly unavoidable truth that Plymouth was firmly enveloped in low cloud and drizzle.
YESTERDAY saw what I now consider a ‘short’ walk even though not that long ago I would have considered it a sizeable distance, i.e. twelve miles. The length of the walk was determined by a moment of unexpected synchronicity – it just so happened that I would reach a handy station (Portsmouth Harbour) twelve miles on from Emsworth and that twelve miles from Emsworth would, quite coincidentally, also be my three hundredth mile.
FRIDAY’S walk was mostly enhanced by the colour yellow (narcissi, celandines and gorse flowers) and the smell of coconut (gorse flowers smell of it. Although, since gorse is native to Great Britain and coconut is not, surely from a British perspective coconut should smell of gorse?). Less delightful ‘enhancements’ involved becoming festooned with the webs of what seemed like every single spider in West Sussex, the occasional aroma of decomposing seaweed and an extremely unwelcome case of sunburn.