Walking To Clovelly Through The Fog By The Sea

John and I drove slightly north a week ago crossing into Devon to walk a different part of the coast path. We left the car about 11:45 after stopping to pick up sandwiches and drinks and set off to see a part of the coast I’d not seen before. As it turns out, we didn’t see much of the coastline on the way to Clovelly, but there was still a great deal that caught my eye. This stretch of Devon coast was different from the Cornish coast path with abundance of trees being the obvious difference.

The birds were calling out to each other as we walked alone along the path and it felt more like the beginning of the day rather than the middle of it. I lingered as I always do taking “just one more photo” before running to catch up with John.

I was actually much farther away when I took this picture of him, but I cropped it later to bring him in closer. Look below to see me hot-footing it to close the distance between us.

John took this one of me just before I snapped the photo of him above. We could hear the waves below us through the woods to the right, but we couldn’t see a thing until we reached the bottom of the hill and moved towards the water.

I love it when we come across old buildings that make great places to frame a shot. Watching John walk past me, I saw the color contrast of the life-preserver, the signage, and the sea, and hurried to snap a few before running to catch up again.

I like how I managed to get this shot with John in the background. Can you see him above the far right edge of the pink sea-drift flowers?

Here’s what can happen when you rush to catch up. You can’t really see it here, but I’m making a face and trying catch myself from going into the water. John took this photo right as my left foot slipped off the rock and got wet. I’ve taken some funny looking tumbles in the past where I was protecting my camera on the way down. This was not one of those times and the only calamity was a wet foot.

A look back at the hill we came down and the empty remains of some old buildings that John said were used for lime kilns.

Later, we stopped in a field of what looked like mostly flowers for John to check the map. We were climbing higher and the fog was getting thicker. I considered having my sandwich there as it was getting later and I was hungry when we began, but John promised me a better spot so I put away my pretzels and carried on.

Coming into another clearing, we moved through a gate and crossed into a meadow with cows and trees that looked faint in the distance hidden still by the fog.

Hmm … my growling tummy made me consider the bench around the tree in this photo, but still I carried on.

After thinking we might walk all the way to Clovelly before stopping to eat, I came round a corner to see this special shelter tucked between the woods and the sea. It was a perfect place to have lunch and I said to John as we listened to waves below us still hidden by the fog, that this gave new meaning to the idea of taking your sandwich outside for your lunch break. Of course, I was visualizing the days when I was happy to grab a few minutes on a bench somewhere outside when I worked for about eight months in an area with no windows and the whole day could pass without my knowing it except by watching the clock. It’s easy to guess which I prefer.

Come back tomorrow for the rest of the walk into Clovelly when the fog finally lifts and the view changes. 

Stalking The Beast Of North Cornwall-Part II

Going back again to the sloping Cornish coastline, I am making good on my promise to show you what I discovered attached to the other end of the big horn.

First … I try to sneak up on them.

Oops … Did they hear me coming?  I think I heard one of them saying,” Isn’t it a bit early for the tourists ? “

” Tourists … that one in the bushes with the camera has paparazzi written all over her and did you see that bearded guy with the video camera? ”  ” Sheesh, March is just a bit early to have to start pretending we don’t see them. “

After taking more photographs than you would want to see of wild goats, I have a few more of our walk from Strangles Beach to Crackington Haven to share with you. Crackington Haven is the beach you see in the distance.

John is sitting in a perfect spot for enjoying the beach and a view of the cliffs.

Here you see John trying to take a short cut to the beach, but after it got a bit dangerous, he turned back and climbed up the cliff to find a safer way down. Once we were back on the path, we saw the sign below.

It says, Danger Unstable Cliff.

The rocks on this beach are amazing and there is a great deal written about the geology of the area.

I really wanted to slip this rock with a V in my pocket.

This striped one was really hard (no pun intended) to leave behind too.

I do read directions sometimes though … and even follow them.

I mean look at all these rocks … would anyone really miss one or two? As much as I wanted the two above, I took only photographs and left the rocks behind on the beach.

Stalking The Great Beast Of North Cornwall

Saturday was so light and bright that John and I packed a couple of sandwiches and took off for a coast path walk. With all the cold winter weather we have had this year, I was dying to feel the sun on my face. After noting what time John hoped to leave, I grabbed my backpack and camera, filled up a water bottle and headed for the car. It is rare that I am in the car waiting for John, but I was so ready see the ocean and stretch my legs that I slapped together my standard lunch of peanut butter & jelly on toasted wheat bread and took my place in the passenger seat. Yes, you heard that right … my place in the passenger seat.

Although I do drive here from time to time, I don’t generally (read, never) drive when we travel together.  This type of control would have been hard to relinquish a few years ago. The truth is, there is an art to backing up in the narrow lanes here especially in a car with a clutch and a gear shift on the left hand side of the car, oh yeah … and add to that, the fact that the steering wheel is on the right where I am used to having my passengers sit. John doesn’t insist on driving and would certainly be fine with my taking the wheel, but for some reason I am okay with just enjoying the ride.

I drove a great deal in my earlier life. It went with the job. I was always in traffic rushing to the next sales call, trying to look composed and put together as I dashed in and out of hospital parking garages while struggling under the weight of giant bags filled to overflowing with medical literature, drug samples, and company freebies. These days, I am content to move a bit slower and last Saturday was one of those days. We started our walk in a new place, one known for having had Thomas Hardy walk across its sandy pebble beaches during his courting days with Emma Gifford, the woman would become his wife. I did not know that bit of history when I asked John if it was named Strangles Beach for any sinister reasons.

There were a few unusual things we saw on our walk. John is trying to show you something we see in places at times along the coast path. Can you guess what it is used for …

If you answered, ” So dogs can get through the stile, silly ” then you would be right!  Okay, maybe silly was not a required part of the answer.

When we went to step up and over the stile, we discovered someone had left some pretty deep foot prints. We spent the next few minutes of our walk trying to decide how it was done.

As we were heading up the path, John nodded in the direction of the hill above and said,  ” Look at that ”  So I closed my left eye and squinted in the direction he had indicated. I only wear one contact to adjust a distance vision deficit. Simply put, I am short-sighted and if something is more than 8 to 10 feet from me and I’m not wearing glasses or contacts, it’s a big blur. I have yet to experience the long-arm syndrome that seems to begin to plague many people in their late forties, so I just wear one contact for distance in my dominant eye and nothing in the left one leaving me able to see close up without the reading specs I would need if I had a contact for distance in each eye. I have had no problem with my squinty eye method until lately.

As I near my next big birthday decade this fall, I may soon have to concede that two contacts are better than one especially if I want to be able to distinguish things like the blobby shapes on the hillside from a distance.

After realizing that I could not tell what he was seeing that was so fascinating, I crept up to the side of the hill, approaching from behind to get a better look at what John assured me were not just sheep.

Climbing into the bracken and prickly gorse bushes, I saw something curvy sticking up that looked like a horn of unusual size for animals found in the fields here where we’ve walked. (Can you see it? ) Right … well I barely could, so deeper down the side of the hill ( mountain cliff ) I went until I was able to see a bit more.  I will be back a little later today to show you what I saw.

The Dance Of Life

John lifted this image from a 1953 movie that his cousin Mary mentioned when she was here a few weeks ago. She is only in Will Any Gentleman for a few minutes, but you can’t miss the Cancan scene where Mary who was a professional dancer for more than twenty years is kicking up her heels. During her career, she danced with the Ballet Rambert, which is the UK’s oldest established dance company and still considered one of the world’s most renowned.

Take a look at the six women above and see if you can pick Mary out of the chorus line. (I’ll tell you which one is her at the end of this post) John found the movie online and ordered it almost as quickly as he heard Mary’s story when she was here for Christmas. We had a great time figuring out which one was Mary after it arrived. She would have been about 29 or 30 when this film was made and having just turned 87 we thought it might be a bit of a challenge to pick her out of the group based on how she looks now.

By slowing the movie down and viewing the scene frame by frame, it was very easy to see which woman is Mary. Despite the fact that her high kicking days are long past, Mary’s graceful movements as an 87 year old are still very similar to her much younger self.

It’s there in the angle of her head when she is listening to a conversation and you see it in the fluid rhythm of her hand gestures when she is telling a story. The lovely posture you see on her wedding day below is still very evident today.

David Levack & Mary Bench 1948

In addition to aging with grace and intelligence, Mary has not lost her taste for adventure as you can see by her decision to get close to the water’s edge on a blustery day when the sea at Trebarwith Strand was really rough.

I was a bit nervous thinking that as tiny as she is she might blow over, but John persuaded me not to hover and Mary was just fine.

I climbed up these rocks to catch the view of the ocean from a higher location and to my surprise …

I turned around to see John (no surprise there) coming up the rocks with Mary close behind him.

Remember what I said about adventure … she didn’t even need help going back down. My idea of what 87 looks like went through some major shifts during Mary’s visit.

This view waits for those who climb the path.


I saved this one for the last because of how absolutely beautiful Mary looks here. On Boxing Day, the day after Christmas, John and Mary went to Falmouth to go sailing with his brother David and his family. I stayed behind for some rest and missed all the fun, but John came home with some video so I could see how the day went and then created this still image of Mary from it. (The Cancan dancer second from the right is Mary, John’s adventurous, still stepping cousin.)


Coast Path Walking In October- Port Quin To Port Isaac

The weather here was stunning on Saturday so John and I set out to do a little coast path walking. I sometimes forget how close we are to the sea and I’m still a little surprised when I hear seagulls right outside our door. One of the closest coastal locations is Port Quin, which is about ten miles from us. I thought you might like a Monday distraction to go with your coffee or tea break depending on the part of the world you call home. These appear in the order of our journey. I hope you enjoy the walk.

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This sign tells us that we are close, but we’re not driving to Port Isaac, we are walking in, so we veer to the left and head down to a parking spot in Port Quin.

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Taking the left towards Port Quin.

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Port Quin as you see above is tiny. There’s not much there anymore, but what is still there is lovely. It used to be a thriving fishing village until something happened that changed everything. It’s worth going here to find out why.

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You pick up the path to Port Isaac here going between the old cottages leading up and out of Port Quin.

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Almost immediately you begin to see amazing views.

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A shot of me wearing my Tilley hiking hat and carrying my Canon Powershot G9.

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I’m dragging along behind John taking pictures of almost everything. Can you see me down there?  All along the fence, there were spiderwebs with no spiders. I must have passed 30 or 40 empty webs like the one below.

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In the photos above and below you can see a series of steps that go straight up or down if you’re lucky.

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I was amazed to see how many flowers were still blooming along the path.

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John takes a break so I can snag a photo.

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This was the view he was seeing from where he was sitting in the photo above.

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More flowers in October…growing wild.

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Our approach to Port Isaac as seen from above.

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This bee impressed me with his pollen boots.

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Viewing the harbor from Port Isaac.

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John heading back to Port Quin.

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Again…honeysuckle flowers in October. I always thought of these as a flower for spring.

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Returning to Port Quin…coming back by what I think of as the back way.

Remember to stop by tomorrow for Tell Me A Story Tuesday. If you’d like to participate in TMAST, go here to see the pictures and choose a topic sentence. Post your story on your blog and let me know so I can link it here.

The Long Walk From Mevagissey To Gorran Haven & Back

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Yesterday John and I took a long walk along the south coast path of Cornwall. We began in the village of Mevagissey and picked up the path just past the harbor where colorful boats rocked gently and seagulls battled loudly for bits of dead fish floating near the boats in the low tide water that edged the harbor.

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With a fish that big you’d think they could share it, but most of time, the strongest one wants to take it all. Take a look in the two gulls over at the right in the picture above…don’t they look like they’re planning something.

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Meanwhile,  I think there may be more fish in the ( gulp) sea…

 

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Leaving the seagulls to battle over brunch, we climbed up out of the village and onto the path going towards Gorran Haven. The day could not have been more perfect, blue sky, a light wind, and everything blooming and greening up for spring. People in the village had paintbrushes out touching up for the season of tourists that come for summer holidays and school breaks. The coast path though was mostly empty with only a few people passing us fro the opposite direction. 

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This green space with sheep was what we could see when we looked to the right and below is what we saw on our left….        img_73035     

 

It’s a remarkable contrast…it reminds me of both Scotland and the California coast.

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You have to mind where you go as sometimes the path takes you right along the edge. 

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These forget-me-not flowers almost don’t look real. John said they were a bit early for this time of year and then he reminded me of how when I came to Cornwall to see him the first time, I brought him a packet of forget-me-not seeds. He planted them after I left  and they didn’t do well here in Cornwall. He has the nicest green thumb, but only one tiny flower survived. Of course, one can be enough…if it’s the right one.

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Walking The Saints Way – When Living Your Life Gets In The Way Of Writing About It

 

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Three guesses as to what I’ve been doing instead of writing.  John and I like to spend a fair amount of time walking the coast path here in Cornwall. We went out for a little walk on Friday and it wasn’t until four hours later that we headed for home. Additionally, I had a few projects drop into my lap that have required my creative attention and life has just gotten in the way of my blogging. I want to take a minute to share some photographs from our walk along the south coast path toward Polkerris and The Gribbin a few days ago so you can see a bit more of my world through my eyes.

After leaving our car in the car park we set off in the direction of Pokerris and the Gribbin, with part of our walk taking us along The Saint’s Way which is clearly marked with signs like the one below.

 

Marker For The Saint's Way

Marker For The Saint's Way

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As you can see above we hiked for most of the time with a heavy sea mist all around us. 

 

Warning!

Warning!

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Danger In The Mist

 

Sea Loving Dog Walking The Wall

Sea Loving Dog Walking The Wall

 

The Saint's Way Footpath

The Saint's Way Footpath

Not all paths along the way are scenic…some pass right through farms right near the cows and through the muck.

 

Mind Your Step!

Mind Your Step!

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The Newlyweds

The Newlyweds 2009

This last photo below is taken around the same time last year in the same location as the one above.

John & Elizabeth 2008

John & Elizabeth 2008