I didn’t fancy going for a run this morning. I only fancy going for a run about once every three months, at which point I will go, love it, and promise myself I’m going to do it more. But the fact of the matter is that I’m good on about four runs a year. Unfortunately, when I’ve recently been, I wake up thinking I should probably try and squeeze one in to my busy Sunday of doing absolutely nothing. Having vetoed the idea of moving any faster than strictly necessary, I remembered that I have a 600-mile footpath basically on my doorstep.
I walked from Falmouth to Maenporth (also technically Falmouth, I think, but separating them makes me sound like I’ve achieved more) when I first moved to Cornwall. I wanted to try out a bit of the coast path, and I had a couple of hours to kill while my handmade bread dough proved, because I was really intent upon living all of my Poldark dreams at once.
It was a very nice walk, but I was constantly clock-watching, knowing that I needed to get back in time to make Mary Berry proud. In the end, I took longer than expected and my bread was rubbish. It’s not a great idea to go for rambles when you’re on a yeast-based schedule. I know that now.
But today I had nothing specific to get back for. I mean, I had a vague plan to wipe the mould off of all of my window seals, but that doesn’t really have a deadline. I even remembered to bring my binoculars, as I frequently find myself standing on cliff tops absolutely convinced that I’m seeing fins everywhere. I see the odd one occasionally, but to see as many as I think I’m seeing I would have to live in actual Seaworld. And that would make me sad.
So, I packed my Cotton Traders backpack with my binoculars and my good water bottle, because I have one of those, and I set out, caring not one jot about how middle aged I must have looked. After all, everyone in Falmouth is a student, so I look old anyway.
And do you know what? Cornwall is beautiful.
I mean, I already know this. It’s famously all rugged cliffs, and yellow gorse bushes, and super-clear seas. But this time I actually paid attention and saw a thousand different bits of weather blow in, changing the light several times a minute. I watched sea birds diving and knew, conclusively, that I shouldn’t get too excited because the splashed weren’t coming from dolphins. I saw a horse in the sea. And not a seahorse. A land horse having a paddle. I also watched a second horse throw its rider because she was trying to make it get into the sea when it didn’t want to, and had to fight not to laugh out loud because I was well within earshot. Plus, I came away with a head full of vague bird descriptions that I meant to look up when I got home. I’m beginning to think I should just lean in to the binocular ownership and take my bird book out with me next time too.
I’m trying really hard not to use the word ‘privilege’ because that sounds wanky but, well, when I go out and about – whether it’s walking a little section of the coast path, doing a very tame bike ride, or paddleboarding around the bay – it does feel like one. I mean, people travel for hundreds of miles just to visit a place like this, and I’m just here all day every day. It’s just great, is all. So great that I can say all this and I haven’t even been drinking.
To top it all off, when I got to Maenporth, I had the most amazing hot chocolate, because my hands were cold and hot chocolate is always amazing when your hands are cold. Like, could I just remember to take gloves out with me when I go for walks? Sure. But does that come with whipped cream and chocolate sauce and a flake and marshmallows? Almost never. So I think my way’s better.