Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Traversing Pastyland

Since my last post about my new year's resolutions, I thought it was about time for a progress report. The resolution to go for a walk every day has been going really well. I had one day when I was too much ill with a cold to venture outside, but other than that I have been outside for a walk of some kind, every single day since January the first.

I began slowly, not wishing to give my muscles the shock of their lives...little quick walks around the block and back inside for a cup of tea. It would take me less than 5 minutes, the 'block' being pretty small. Now, for a daily walk, this was obviously unimpressive in the extreme. I vowed to myself that I'd slowly increase the length of my walks, increase my fitness and hopefully shift some of my 'Christmas weight'.

Confession: I used to hate Walkers. Not people who walk in general (after all, walking is pretty handy in getting from A to B, especially when like me, you don't drive) but people who Walk, capital wuh, kitted out in proper walking gear, grasping waterproof maps, be-anoraked, be-compassed, be-noculared... frankly, I found all the accessories a little absurd. I'd pass by groups of Ramblers in the town centre and puzzle at them clutching onto hiking sticks (which are like walking sticks for people who don't have a bad back and want to burn more calories walking, apparently)

And then it happened.
It began with a particularly energetic walk around the block. I came to the turning to head home and glanced down the road...this was a route I knew very well. It's my route to work, my route to the local mini-supermarket, the way down to the shops. I looked at my watch and set off down the hill. Before I knew it, I'd gathered momentum. I walked through the town centre, passed the closed shops and Falmouth's many bakeries (this county is famous for pasties, and we have approximately 10 to 12 bakeries and dedicated pasty shops at my last estimate - I'll write more about pasties another time...), passed the National Maritime Museum (worth a visit) and up along a residential area that took me to the road the local art college (where I got my Illustration degree) is on, then headed up a slight hill and I was home. I mapped the route on a map of the town that I have at home, and calculated that I'd walked about 3 miles in a little under an hour. I felt encouraged knowing that 3 miles had actually been quite easy.

Since then, I've gradually been challenging myself more and more. I now have a regular 5 mile route through town that takes me on a scenic route through both the town centre and the rural headland of Pendennis peninsular. Plugged in to my MP3 player, I power through the uphill parts with something upbeat - Walk Like an Egyptian by The Bangles does the trick, Trains to Brazil by the Guillemots is best - and soothe myself along the flat parts listening to Einaudi as the sun sets ahead of me. I find the long walks are good for me in terms of fitness but also in terms of having time to think. I can let myself ponder a new idea or a thing I need to do, and when I get home I feel invigorated. It's enough to make me want to buy a waterproof and a compass!

Yesterday, I decided to take some photos to show you. I've realised that I live in a popular tourist destination, a lovely part of the world, and yet I never really blog about it. The plan was to take a picture every mile or so...but my camera's batteries didn't have as much energy in them as I did! But here is a bit of the scenery I managed to capture.

This is a view from the South West Coastal Path, 20 minutes in to my walk route yesterday. This is the part that runs between Swanpool Beach and Gyllyngvase Beach (that's a lotta consonants for anyone unfamiliar with Cornish placenames - you say it 'gill-ing-vayz' - with a hard 'g' - most locals refer to it as 'Gylly') This path meanders along the coast line, views of the sea visible between the bushes to the right. You can just about make out Pendennis castle in the distance there.

Heading further along, Gylly comes into view. It isn't a very sandy beach, it's partly shingle (in places, it resembles cat litter!) but it's a popular spot even in winter. Here you can see the large houses along the seafront. One thing that struck me when I first moved here was that although this is a tourist destination, Brighton it ain't. Note the absence of neon lights, hot dog stands and donkey rides. Cornwall's coast, at least for most of the year, is 'au natural', and for my part I like it that way. Even in high summer the tacky plastic souvenirs are pretty minimal. There's a nice cafe that overlooks the beach, with a veranda. One of these days I'll walk there earlier in the afternoon and stop for a cup of tea, I think.

From this point just before Gylly, there's a nice panorama of the Pendennis headland that I was about to walk around. The camera may make it look a little further away than it is, but that castle on the far right was my halfway point for the walk. That is Pendennis Castle, built by Henry VIII (well, ordered-to-be-built by him, in any case) - Falmouth has been an important part of England's defences for a long time!

I think I've probably rambled on enough now (har har) but I plan on making this a regular topic for the blog. Next time, I will make sure I have enough battery-power to show you the rest of the route!


  1. Wow, lucky you having all that gorgeous sea scenery for walking in! Walking has been proved to be one of the most beneficial exercises, and best of all it is free! I have to laugh at the intrepid 'proper' walkers tackling our gentle Cotswolds lanes with full armour and sticks though.

  2. Ooh a friend just mentioned this blog so I stopped by... lovely to see another Cornwall dweller in blogland!
    Hubby & I do enjoy a mooch round Falmouth on the occasional sunday afternoon :)

    Great pics!

  3. Walking is definitely the best, easiest free exercise there is! Sometimes I forget how lucky I am to be in such a lovely part of the world. Thanks, folks, for the positive response. I will try to post more about my little part of the world :-)