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.

7 thoughts on “Stalking The Great Beast Of North Cornwall

  1. How great that you and John could go walking 🙂 I love to go walking when it is a little big cold but with the sun out!

    I love your photos. I did see the horn but only because I clicked on the photo and enlarged it !!

  2. Thanks, Elizabeth. What a treat it is to go on a walk with you and John. The photos, as always, are so beautiful, and leave me with such a calm and peaceful feeling.

  3. Well I’m blinder than you are, so I’ll have to wait for this afternoon’s addition!

    BTW, I tried that one contact idea for about two hours and discovered I’m just too near sighted for it to work….so I have two contacts and a pair of reading glasses!

  4. Beautiful shots, once again. Mother Nature is such a good and varied subject.
    I went on a hike with the Sierra Club a few weeks ago, and the group leader had three adopted rez dogs. They looked like small bombs, all rounded bodies and little heads. (One of them only had three legs. She was the alpha. ) The point of this story is that they each had on a little orange-red vest that went under all four legs. And on the top of the vest, was a handle. When we got to places where we had to climb, they would just pick up the dog, like a small suitcase, and pass it on up. I thought of it when I saw the dog gate. The dog can go under, but nothing bigger….like a cow. Thoughtfulness about companion or working animals has been around for a looooooong time.

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