Through The Valley Of The Sheep – On The Path To Polperro


John and I set off yesterday on a coast path walk that was new ground for us. While we’d been to Polperro in the past, we had not walked the path we took yesterday. This shot reminded me of a trip I took the summer of my 20th year to the dusty Greek island of Ios. The lone tree with all the sheep around it took me straight back in time except it was cooler here and green, with the only dust being that our feet kicked up in a few well worn places when we picked up the path later.

It’s always easy to spot when you’re in an area where you may run into sheep. Walking the coast path can sometimes take you through farmers fields and while you are free to walk on the designated path, you must be very careful not to do anything that scares the sheep if you stray off it. Dogs have to stay on a leash and there can be serious repercussions if a farmer catches a dog chasing the sheep.

Sometimes following John can mean diverting from the path … ‘ Don’t mind us,’ I tell the sheep as we walk right through their seaside café.

He can often get ahead of me when I linger to take … ‘ Just one more photo ‘ an expression he’s heard me use many times since we met. You can see John in the distance if you look to the right.

Here’s another shot of John that I took while running to catch up.

Because we were walking through a field, we had to hop a fence or two to get back on the coast path … John went first.

Then I showed him my technique for climbing over barbed wire fences.

Not long after, we walked into this lovely space as we came down the coast path.

I stopped to touch the nose of the chestnut colored horse on the way down to the beach.

Before I went down, I turned back to photograph the horse on the hill. I liked the balance in the space between the horse and the tree.

There’s John off to the right … waiting for me, again.

This is one of my favorite shots of the day. I loved the lines in this photograph … that’s John enjoying the view for a minute before continuing on into Polperro.

Polperro is one of my favorite fishing villages in Cornwall and is different from others in a few ways I’ll come back to in another post.

We walked into the village next to the harbor coming from the direction near the tip of the trees you see slightly off-center in this photograph. You climb up and down a lot of hills on the path to Polperro.

We were halfway back to where we started by the time we reached this spot. Our goal was a visit to the Talland Church on the hill before going on to where we left the car. From here it didn’t look as if we had far to go, but as anyone who drives through the lanes here will tell you, a quick trip can take longer than you think and even more so when you are walking rather than driving through the lanes.

I was in a hurry to get to the church before the sun changed too dramatically as I was worried about losing the light. We took a wrong turn that carried us right past this view and I loved the way I was able to show the church and the fairy balanced in the same shot.

After a few more hills we reached our destination, although not our final one of the day.

The church was locked which is generally not the case with village churches at least during the day, but we didn’t mind so much after finding a well placed bench with a view of the sea.

Going Nowhere In Particular

Sometimes when you look outside the window and you see the sky is a brilliant shade of blue for the first time in days, you feel the need to get out even though you have no idea where you want to go. So you slip on your shoes or you tie up the laces of your boots and you grab your camera and head out the door.  Saturday was just such a day … want to see where we went?

John is going on ahead as usual while I hang back to photograph a few macro shots of spring flowers. The forest is full of varying shades of green right now as the leaves are still coming out. Everything seems to be a bit late in the blooming probably due to our colder than normal winter.

Up ahead you have a choice in direction … take the left fork and go up a hill deeper into the woods or …

… if you continue on the main path you begin to see a special place for us. Can you see the sheep through the trees?

The light was perfect as we caught sight of the buttercup field.

Stepping into the meadow, we could see some bluebells to our right near the river’s edge.

As John was walking into the buttercup field, I told him I almost expected to see Thomas Hardy walking towards us with Tess trailing behind him.

I thought I we might spy Elizabeth Bennet out for a walk with her sisters just ahead, but John and I were the only two legged creatures around as we passed by the fat sheep munching in the meadow.

We discovered the reason for the lengthy ringing of the church bells earlier in the day when we saw the flowers arranged over the doorway to our parish church. Notice that someone cut the grass, but only part of it for some reason, making it look as if like they might have stopped for a break and not come back to finish the job.

The mix of flowers above the doorway was really lovely and I almost expected to see Marianne coming out on the arm of Colonel Brandon.

Inside were more flowers including a circlet around each of the pillars.

The flowers were a delightful mix of wild and cultivated providing a few photo opportunities.

I can never resist shooting from outside in even if the panes of old glass are a bit in need of a wash. I love the reflected surprises that can show up later when reviewing them.

After church, we stopped by the pub for a pint. I had my usual diet lemonade (like diet Sprite) while John sampled the special of the day.

If we didn’t live within walking distance, perhaps we might have talked the owner of this classic MG into giving us a lift home. Notice the church in the background … the white cottage in front of it is for sale if you’re interested in relocating or having a holiday home in Cornwall.

We’re having perfect weather again today and I’m off in a minute. Where am I going you may ask … nowhere in particular would have to be my reply, but it’s sure to be good wherever my feet lead me.

Sheep Encounters

Sheepish E - Elizabeth HarperNormally, which really translates into always … I carry a camera of some sort. When I’m out on a run, I take my iPhone because I can listen to music, make a call if necessary, (As in I’m lost somewhere in England … help!) and most importantly take a picture when a perfect opportunity presents itself.

Fuji -Elizabeth Harper

When on a hike or just traveling around, I carry my little Fuji Finepix Z100, a great little point and shoot I bought after I got here and found my larger camera to big to haul up and down the coast path.

Rock Climbing Cornwall

When I need more power and picture quality as in when I’m shooting a wedding or doing some portrait work I use one of my Nikon D200’s.

Dancing - Elizabeth Harper

A couple of days ago, I went out without my camera and I missed a perfect photo opportunity while in the homeward stretch of my run. I was running down the very narrow lane in the picture below while listening to music on my iPod, not my iPhone when all of a sudden there were 20 or 30 sheep racing down the lane in my direction. Notice how narrow the lane is in the picture below. Lanes are roads wide enough for one car or one woman, or twenty or thirty sheep, but not all at the same time.

Reaching - Elizabeth Harper

If you notice all the green on the hedges of the sides of the lane … you should know that there is a sticky (ouch!) plant called a nettle which lives in the hedges that look deceptively beautiful.


If you touch it even slightly, it causes a lingering stinging sensation that will still be sore the next day. It feels a bit like a burn. Notice the spiky things sticking up on the under side … avoid those spikes!

Toothy Sheep

We saw each other about the same time … at least the first few sheep noticed me and slammed to a halt causing the sheep running behind them to bump in to the ones in front. For half a second we just eyeballed each other uncertain how to respond. I was thinking, “ Why didn’t I bring my camera?” I’m not sure what the sheep were thinking.

E Hedge

All of sudden a white dog looking a bit like a wolf comes tearing down the lane behind sheep heading straight up the side of the lane where I’m standing. The sheep begin to run in my direction and as they race my way, I fling myself into the hedge not even remembering the stinging nettles in an effort not to be run over by the wooly mass coming towards me.


The white dog shoots past me and runs around to the front of the escaping sheep and goes down on his front paws into a position that the sheep understand as turn around, ” Boys … we are going the wrong way! ”  In one quick motion the sheep turn and run back up the lane, through the gate, and into the field where the farmer stands waiting.

Seeing the sheep are safe, I pull myself out of the hedge and go off in search of some dock leaves to rub on my nettle stings to reduce the ouchy side effect of my sheep encounter.

Dock Leaves

Dock leaves, nettle stings, sheep encounters, every day is a new adventure … does it get any better than this?


Reposted from original GOTJ