14 May – Sun, Beaches and a deeper meaning

Another truly magnificent day of walking.

Today’s walk, a bit longer than yesterday’s, brought us to Hayle.

We’re staying at a very cute little B&B called the Mad Hatter. It is decorated very brightly in a Alice in Wonderland motif. No stuffed monkeys glad to say.

I’m writing this in a lovely sheltered Tea-Garden that is catching the sun’s warmth. An excellent place to relax after a fairly easy day. We stated with a bit of upping and downing but then the path held level around cliffs and bays until we came to the biggest beach I’ve ever seen. We climbed down to the golden sands. Removed our boots to cross a swift stream running across. Then enjoyed a few kilometres of bare foot walking. All this before lunch.

We ate on a grassy knoll above the sand then continued down the beach for a few more kilometres. On the way we stopped to watch a school group of ten and eleven year olds have a surf lesson. I paid close attention should I ever take leave of my senses and decide to try it out!

Just before we climbed down onto the beach we walked past a rocky cove below some cliffs. Our path being at the top of the cliffs, we had a view down to the bottom. There were signs posted asking people to please whisper and to not let their children shout or dogs bark. We noticed numerous people gazing intently down into the cove. Creeping quietly closer we looked down. Sea. Rocks. A couple of seals. We couldn’t figure out what the church quiet was about and thought we’d laugh out loud it all seemed so odd. We walked on towards a car park. At the exit of the car park was a more detailed sign.

All this hush was so we didn’t disturb the seals basking 30 metres below. I guess English seals are sensitive souls. Can you imagine people tip toeing around our West Coast seals. It seemed a bit ludicrous.

Pat and I have been discussing a slight ambivalence we feel towards this path. It is the longest path in Britain. Shouldn’t we be “getting” our usual sense of excitement and inspiration? It is very scenic. It brings us past Iron Age forts, 19th century mines, sites of terrible ship wrecks, through quaint villages and the scenery is stunning.

I think our quandary is because the path itself has no cultural, historic or spiritual significance. The last section was opened in 1978, the purpose being to create a lovely linked long coastal trail. We aren’t going anywhere for any reason other than to walk along. Nothing wrong with that. We are however used to having a more defined (significant?) purpose.

As I was walking today I puzzled over what to do to make this, a more meaningful significant experience. The thought came to me that I have three dear friends who are in various stages of struggles with cancers. Hideous meaningless arbitrary illness.

So friends – Brenda, Philip and Fed – this is no longer a meaningless walk along a pretty rugged coast. This walk is for you. Every time I feel a bit tired I will think of your more urgent fatigue. Every time I feel an ache I will think of your more significant pain. Every time I feel the joy of the moment – I will wish that joy on you.

Cheers from sunny Hayle

4 thoughts on “14 May – Sun, Beaches and a deeper meaning

  1. Like Philip,I too was touched by your last paragraph. Thank you Kim. Trevor’s comment after the next blog was very enlightening and gave me something to ponder. As he so aptly pointed out there are many ways in which a situation can have purpose. It is apparent to me we need purpose in our lives….perhaps that purpose changes over time?Through your writing and photos I feel I am able to enjoy your experience at some level without the hard work!…. am riding your coat tails so to speak. Enough philosophyzing!
    My sister just finished walking the Portugal part of the Camino, She enjoyed it but had not done enough training and her feet certainly suffered the consequences!
    Just home from Vancouver, attending a 2 day National conference on Myeloma. Lectures ran from 8 am to 4:30 pm. It was very interesting and informative but lot of information to digest. Glad I attended.
    Lovely warm/hot weather here in the Comox Valley. My wisteria in bloom was gorgeous but now looks a little faded and bluwzey ( sp?)The sea lions are waking us early am with their incessant barking, growling and general bellowing!! But who is complaining!

  2. Kim, I very much concur with your thoughts on more significance – putting our day to day aches and pains, minor annoyances into a bigger perspective; and gratitude for the opportunity to explore so many rugged and beautiful parts of the globe…..and right on our doorstep.
    Keep your stories and photos coming!

  3. I am very touched by your final paragraph, Kim. Thank you. I have been reading the blog daily in my hospital bed and it has brought back so many nostalgic memories of visits, especially when pictures follow, so keep it up! I think the answer to your question about whether the long, long coastal path has a meaning, spiritual or otherwise, is a bit more practical than you imagine. In the 1960s very large parts of the rural coastline were private and barred from access by the public. The National Trust charity launched a campaign called, I think, Operation Neptune, to try to buy small pieces of Coast with a view to getting them joined up to create public access to the views that were otherwise denied. It was hugely successful, and later changes in national law accelerated the process with government support. The south west coast path and a similar long path around the Pembrokeshire coast of west Wales were the areas where most progress was made, so they became targets to fill in the missing pieces of the jigsaw. I’m not sure the path is truly continuous yet, there may be more gaps to plug, But you are seeing in your walk what few people were ever allowed to see 50 years ago. That’s enough to lift my spirits! Onwards and upwards (and a bit of downwards too, I suspect….). Philip

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