TPK Walk 83: Davidstow – Tintagel via Boscastle (12/06/20)

DRAMATIC EXTREMES OF BOSCASTLE & TINTAGEL

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This walk yielded a bewildering range of stories and images. A friend joined me for this wander into the past, the present and the future…

WIND CRAZED WILD TREES 

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The observant driver along the ‘Atlantic Highway’ A39 may have noticed these stunning hawthorn hedges bent over by the prevailing off shore winds near Davidstow creamery. They tail off down the steep slopes towards Boscastle and the sea beyond, and I felt they somehow point to the mysteries of the valleys and high places along this stretch of the Cornish coastline. These trees were in the windswept field next to where the trigpoint sits and where our walk began.

COLD WAR BUNKERS FOR SALE OIRO £20,000!

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Beside 2 ancient tumuli with Brown Willy clearly in the background rests triangulation point BM5692.  Out of the ground on this elevated grassy plain not far from the trigpoint poke these three strange concrete extrusions (above); 2 ventilation shafts and a half open manhole hatch.  I had heard about these defunct bomb bunkers built in preparation for nuclear radiation fallout in the 1950’s and 60’s, but often they are hidden, unmarked on OS maps, or the access lids rusted and sealed shut. Adrian couldn’t resist descending the long ladder to the flooded chamber to explore and I followed.

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In a single room strewn with debris, on a flaky table sitting in 3 inches of stagnant water sat a rusted old air freshener dated March 1975, its unfamiliar typeface preserved under a piece of first generation cellotape. A cubicle without a toilet, abandoned bed frames and an eeriely whispering ventilation shaft (we recorded) added to a sense of ‘post-place’.

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After a bit of online research it turns out that this is Otterham ROC monitoring post: Royal Observer Corps (ROC) monitoring posts are/were underground structures found scattered all over the United Kingdom, constructed as a result of the Corps’ role of reporting the surveillance and threat of nuclear attack, and was operated by volunteers during the Cold War between 1955 and 1991.

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Built to reduce any external nuclear radiation by a factor of 1500:1, these bunkers were manned by the ROC until 1991 when the Berlin Wall came down and the Soviet Union Bloc was split up marking the end of the Cold war.

Whilst this one is not for sale, recently a similar bunker was sold at auction in Somerset for £23,000! click here for the BBC story

Of the 1,563 bunkers built across the UK, this bunker has rare and unique ventilation shaft metal covers (according to one online ‘bunker blogger’) which protect occupants from wind carried radioactive fallout, and which accidentally feature in the first of the 2 artboards for this walk, as does the 1975 air freshener and the wind pruned tree shapes.

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A FURRY BRIDGE BESIDE ANCIENT CROSS

Walking down to Boscastle we had lunch in the churchyard of St Michael and All Angels, beside a bridge clothed in sliver lichen ‘fur’ unlike anything I’ve ever seen before.  Beneath this strange bridge a very steep cut channel carries running water away at great speed.  I rub the word ‘angels’ and the shape of the old granite cross onto the artboard.

BOSCASTLE: CLIMATE CHANGE LIVE CASE STUDY

A lot of people know about the Boscastle flood of 2004 that caused great damage to buildings and watercourses, dumping 30 vehicles in the sea and effortlessly shifting another 100 with tsunami like force. Click here for some seriously dramatic footage

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On our wander down to the old harbour we met Valency valley residents living in picturesque cottages who witnessed firsthand the aftermath of the flood which included 100 residents airlifted to safety, concrete boulders moving miles with glacial power, the river being completely redirected from its normal course and thousands of live trout from the decimated fish farm upstream caught and suffocated, leaving a rotting fishy smell for weeks.

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But this quaint little harbour village sitting at the narrow geological funnel of the river Valency has had several watery disasters in the past. A flick through the Boscastle village online archives (click here) shows repeated flooding in the 1950’s and 1960’s, and right up to recent years this sort of freak flooding has been happening with a worrying persistence.

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The latest Met Office 2019 report  ‘UK Climate Projections’ has the following sober headlines relevant for the future of Boscastle residents and indeed the whole of the UK:

  • Despite overall summer drying trends in the future, new data suggests future increases in the intensity of heavy summer rainfall events
  • Significant increases in heavy hourly rainfall intensity in the autumn
  • Significant increases in hourly precipitation extremes in the future. eg. rainfall associated with an event that occurs typically once every 2 years increases by 25%

Metal signs around the town mark the height at which the water rose to, and I rub the ominous date onto the top of the artboard for the gloomy reminder that Boscastle will probably see more floods in the future.

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BOSCASTLE BRIDGE HOUSE B & B

But all this impending environmental doom certainly hasn’t put off Mr Smith of the Bridge House Bed & Breakfast (the only one in the centre of the town?!…hmm) who said “the 2004 flood put Boscastle on the map” and is “good for the tourism business”.  Moved down in 2018 from North Wales, the refreshingly upbeat and friendly Richard, with wife Louise and daughter Molly (6yrs old) have been making the most of the lockdown quiet, smartening up their little courtyard with a cute bug hotel, flowers and Cornish coastal memorabilia. DCIM136GOPRO

Richard told us that some of the trout from the hatchery business that survived the flood now breed in deeper sections of the river and we actually saw unusually large fish in an adjacent valley stream later on, and are now wondering whether these were aforementioned trout escapees.  Richard and Molly went onto say that during lockdown the quieter traffic has emboldened local Deer to happily pass through Boscastle high street and on the pavements in groups of up to 7 and even to swim across the harbour! – such wonderful encounters with nature that have been similarly experienced across UK towns and cities during this time. Click here for article

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BOSCASTLE MUSEUM OF WITCHCRAFT & MAGIC

Boscastle is also famous for the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic, thought to house the worlds largest collection of paraphernalia and artifacts related to folk magic, witchcraft, Wicca and ritual magic.

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It was of course shut like everything else in the town except the Co-op and to be honest the ‘Pixie shop’ building opposite (below and pre-2004 flood) looked more fittingly like a quirky witches den than the quite ordinary looking museum – a converted house with a retro fitted stone arch, but to be fair some of the carved panels were quite interesting and I rub the horseshoe and the word ‘witchery’ onto the artboard.

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The founder of the museum was local mystic Cecil Williamson who fell out with an early associate partner over sensationalist artefacts in the museum back in the 1950’s.  A report around the year 2000 amongst local witches found that there were mixed views on the museum.  Some witches felt that the museum provided “a marker of historical identification…  illustrating ways that rural magical workers operate… and a source of heritage” while for others it indicates an ongoing problem of romanticized historical invention.”  Others questioned whether there was sufficient evidence to justify the continued display of certain items in the museum.  It seems the amusing old pub sign above the museum entrance with the words ‘THE WITCHES OF BOSCASTLE’, ‘SELLING THE WIND’ might still be true…

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But since the 2004 flood and up to 2019 (pre-Covid 19) the Witchcraft museum, whilst an esoteric and curious speciality rather than a mainstream attraction, is generally well thought of by visitors and locals, receiving 4.5 out 5 on tripadvisor.  Main criticisms today relate to explicit adult and child unfriendly content, small and cramped spaces and an expensive ticket price for the relatively small  museum size.

But like the terrible flood of 2004 it all seems to be good for the tourism industry here which brings thousands of visitors to this part of  North Cornwall every year and much needed local revenue.

THE MYSTERY OF TINTAGEL

A tendency to over cook the truth seems to be in the fresh sea air of these parts and in the second part of our walk we head along the coastal path towards Tintagel where romanticised stories of King Arthur, Merlin and the Knights of the round table continue to cast a spell over the landscape and the people. Below: Bronze sculpture of King Arthur on Tintagel head by sculptor Robin Enyon, revealed in 2016 amidst ‘Disneyfication’ criticisms

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Before reaching Tintagel though, we were treated to the most jaw stopping and sublime views; gnarled and citadel like rocky ruins contorting and abandoning themselves into the brooding seas, again all seemingly pointing to something otherly and fantastical…

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I was still in the grips of this dizzy spell on the coastal path when we fortuitously came across Dr John Fanshawe, Cambridge academic and author of several renowned bird books including ‘Birds of the Horn of Africa’ (of course I didn’t find this out until later but what a project and field trip that must have been!)

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John shared a tip with us to see the Guillemots, Razorbills and Puffins on short island and pointed us to the Ladies Window, a gaping circular hole framing the Atlantic beyond, just at the edge of another dramatic precipice.

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Unfortunately no funny puffins were on short island and my 300mm camera lens could only just pick out the stumpy Guillemots and Razorbill’s, somehow rather like mini penguins, and I have to confess too that I had to research to discover the subtle difference in these social seabirds that always seem to gather together to confuse everyone – the main difference being that Razorbill’s have a smarter shiny black coat and Guillemot’s a duller dark brown grey.

A bit further on we meet Ludo, a German man who has settled in Devon after his wife died, today was her birthday and he was remembering her on his walk. He contributed to the second art board with a little picture of him and his beard.

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Walking on, the sun was periodically burning through the humid cloud cover and by the time we arrived at Tintagel Haven and ‘Merlin’s cove’ we were overwhelmed and drunk on the picturesque place, simply the colors, the dramatic cliffs and the caves seemed alive with natures treasure. This particular cave (below) caught the turquoise water and round rocks like giant gold and silver coins sparkled and shimmered in mesmerising colours.

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I am reluctant to say it but the scenes all about us were rather, well, ahem, magical. Tintangel castle and monastery ruins above, giant amphitheatre rock elder creatures circling all around looking down on us, still ultramarine blues in the giant mysterious pool coves below and Merlin’s cave (or caves because there were so many) and everything just looked as though something epic was going to happen or had happened there…

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We ventured out down onto the flat rocks to find somewhere to sit down, make tea and try and capture those unbelievable colours, and unbeknownst to me I had sat down right next to King Arthur’s Sword Excalibur set in the stone…

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Well it was all a bit too much for us, and Adrian tried in vain and with guttural groans to grasp the handle, pull the sword and release the spell, taking up the ancient quest, but the sword obviously didn’t like him and a bit of rusted iron flaked off and fell to the ground.

To be honest I had already done the research on Tintagel and King Arthur, Time Team Tony Robinson in his 2000 series helping with the main de-bunking of all the fairy-tale candyfloss which outlines the following brutal summary of non-facts:

  • Tintagel castle is mainly 13th Century therefore King Arthur of 5th/6th Century is about 700 years too late to be connected
  • King Arthur was not born at Tintagel (No surviving folklore about Arthur at Tintagel until Tennyson cast a wonderful narrative spell we all want to believe, peddling a myth that brought a lot of Victorian train travelling tourists)
  • Sir Thomas Mallory’s 15th Century popular classic ‘Morte d’ Arthur’ was the source of Tennyson’s wild romanticisations and is the basis of  most of the stories surrounding Arthur
  • In turn most of the Mallory’s sources were French authors and were connected to 11th Century crusades through Europe to the holy land, particularly Broceliande forest in Brittany and most of the story including Guinevere, Lancelot, Excalibur and the round table all come from these French authors
  • A slightly more believable 5th/6th Century Arthur was written by Welsh historian Geoffrey of Monmouth in ‘The History of the Kings of Britain’ (1136) outlining the Welsh Celtic Arthur’s epic warrior conquest of the Saxons and into Europe, nearly toppling the Roman empire, but Geoffrey’s accounts have now been largely discredited
  • Recent finds suggest evidence of a larger 5th/6th Century building at Tintagel (1998 find) but no mention of Arthur, also Celtic Greek and Latin inscriptions in 2018 finds suggest a global connected community at Tintagel
  • But overall the consensus among academic historians today is that there is no solid evidence for Arthurs historical existence

A good recent article for further reading can be found by clicking here

Again we could not enter English Heritage’s Tintagel Castle due to Covid lockdown measures, but the recent phased and controversial ‘Disneyfication’ of the site;  the Arthur Bronze sculpture, carved rock Merlin and just last year the opening of the spectacular new £4 million bridge (below) really just seems to add to the sense of place and mystery that imbues the atmosphere here, regardless of facts, legends, and myths (or not). I guess like Tennyson and Malory before them, English Heritage would be missing a big marketing trick if they took a hard line and somewhat spoilsport on the whole Arthurian story and of course they need to now milk this site and continue to cast the somewhat ambiguous spell for visitors to flock with magic in their eyes to help pay for that brilliant new bridge…

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We climb the steps and inspect the new bridge entrance, and I rub the interesting cast aluminium portcullis safety uprights onto the second artboard.

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We headed up to the main village and along the way meet Sean, a genuinely friendly homeless man who freely told us his story while we ate pasties and pastries from the bakery which was shutting up shop

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Sean had been staying in the shelter of one of the castle’s entrance booths and tonight was his last night there as staff were returning to prepare reopening the visitor attraction to the public post lockdown measures.

Sean shared his Christian faith journey and spoke of the peace and contentment he continued to experience here and even felt drew him to Tintagel.  I asked Sean if he would write something on the artboard to contribute. Feeling that he never really fitted into society, Sean wrote: ‘Tintagel, home of spiritual peace, says the square peg’.  Adrian and Sean chatted about conspiracy theories they had in common and I rolled my eyes a little and did some more drawing, capturing the silhouetted outline of St Materiana church in the distance on the cliff, as Sean spoke of when he had found refuge and sleep there several times.

Clouds were gathering and between a sharp shower we sat under King Arthur’s Inn outdoor shelter. I rub the word Arthur upside down on the artboard and draw the famous old post office across the road.

The forecast rain had arrived and with 2 miles to climb steeply up hill to the trigpoint (308m above sea level) we say goodbye to Sean, don waterproofs, cover the artboard and set off into the rain leaving Tintagel behind us. Originally I had wanted to find Merlin or Lancelot or something else to add or rub onto the artboard but somehow an upside down Arthur, spiritual peace and endless natural beauty sort of summed up the walk and the place.

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By the time we reached the trigpoint sea mist and mizzle had got us pretty wet but we were very happy to have a dry car waiting.

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THE ROUTE (ignore the straight line driving and forgetting to turn strava off bits!)

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NEXT WALK No.84: Towards Camelford via Delabole

 

TPK Walk 82: Brown Willy – Davidstow (05/06/20)

Bronn Wennili : Hill of Swallows

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I was blessed to share this particular walk with Karensa Laurie, an ecologist and a keen walker, and I am very grateful for her contribution to this blog in the words below.

Layer upon layer of landscape

The curvature of the hills and valleys

Cattle dotted in groups, spread, scattered

Tree lines and woods create shading

Haziness casts off into the distance

Draws your eye out and up to the sky

Clouds hang still in suspension

Though the wind whips all around

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Closer now, the trees emerge as plantations

Textured clumps rounded, rising from the ground

Still like sturdy upright blocks

Shelter belts for animals

Tussock grasses shimmy in the wind

White horses appear on top the water

The tors still rising round the bend

Marsh all around, get let into birds’ merry dance

The sky is bigger than the land

The skylark ascends, its chaotic chorus

Glimpses of sun warm the chill

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Now we settle, make a nest

In the willow thicket and tussock grass

Looking out on cotton grass

Floating gently about in the wind

Warm and sheltered, suns a blazin’

Framed by a rusted fence line,

A horizon of rocky outcrops atop undulating hills

A desolate and abandoned airport building

We enter with trepidation

The fun and friendly graffiti tags

Juxtaposed with rude lingo

Opportunistic sheep have left behind their droppings

Which cover the concrete floor

The building provides the only shelter

This exposed landscape offers

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The gaping windows blow a harsh north wind

Ducking in between the openings

which frame the surrounding landscape,

including Brown willy in the background

An urban concrete island in a moorland setting

An art installation on a concrete canvas

I feel enriched by the experience of it

As if spending time in an art gallery and museum combined.

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On the ceiling, warn patches of concrete expose steel veins criss crossing to reveal the fabric of the building.

Leaning out the windows to watch swallows at eye level,

suspended like kites they fly into the wind.

Words courtesy of Karensa Laurie  © 2020

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THE WALK

A number of Wheatear birds led the way up to Brown Willy, perfectly disguised as quirky granite pixies.

‘…the Wheatear has a distinctive habit of flying ahead of people, then perching before moving on again, flashing its white rump every time it moves…’

(RSPB Pocket Birds 2003)

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It is too windy to bear on the summit and we sit down on the lea side of the cairn looking towards Devon, and write and draw and drink tea out of the fierce gusting winds.

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On the way down we lose the footpath, a repeated occurrence today, and have to assail fences, stride tufted grass stepping stones, one quaking tussock to another, negotiating sinking marshland. I get a booty early on…

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Last winter 2019,  Rough Tor plantation (pronounced Rowl) was clear felled (below) leaving this apparent desolation and hectares of grey scaring.

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But it isn’t long before the light and space is colonised, a free for all canvas on the soils built up since the original post WW2 planting: Foxgloves! Normally biennial, a single season has brought a strong burst of pink, more prevalent nearer to the access tracks intersecting the plantation, this incredible plant capitalising quickly on the land change. Below: Sitka spruce stumps and new foxgloves, with Brown Willy in the background.

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Meet Karensa! (below) who joined me on this walk as my lovely assistant; as well as supplying great words and ecological insights, also helped carry my gear. We both came ill prepared for what was a very cold and windy day, donning every spare piece of clothing to be found in our cars including a towel, a high vis vest and dirty gardening gloves!Karensa

Heading north away from Brown Willy and Rough Tor, it wasn’t long before we met this characterful farmer who had been out to rescue an injured pony. Remarkably well informed about all the specific flora and fauna of this area we learnt much from a man who had farmed the moors all his working life.

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Crowdy Marsh is a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and is one of several valley mires found around the edge of the granite massif of Bodmin Moor. The deep hollows are dominated by bog-moss Sphagnum [auriculatum] with a mix of typical transition mire species such as marsh cinquefoil Potentilla palustris and bogbean Menyanthes trifoliata.

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I found many treasures along the walk speaking clearly of the place and the environmental conditions found here*

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Stonechats with their distinctive black head and orange chest played in the willow edge of the marsh as we ate our lunch on grassy mounds, and willow warblers chattered away in the distance.

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Juxtaposed against this unique ecological paradise is Davidstow airfield, a stones throw from the marsh, here seen below in 1941 when it was built to support the war effort.

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As well as sea rescue and scouting duties, the Bristol Beaufighter plane, (below) a frightening looking light bomber, flew into action from here, providing cover for the west flank of the Normandy landings.

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The runways still intersect the conifer plantation and give a wide sense of space and place as well as history, a landscape dominated by wide horizons, all the time Brown Willy and Rough Tor just in view

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The air sock is evidence that this airfield is still operational today, being the main base of Davidstow flying club which uses the runways for microlights and motor gliders. 2 Museums near the Davidstow cheese factory document the history of the airfield and the surroundings.

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The old runway control tower is super cool (below)

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Seen from miles around it affords the best post modern views of Bodmin, framing the peaks in the distance whilst it sits defiantly out on the post apocalyptic plain, replete with car doughnut turf sculptures. It is full of grafitti, a chap by the name of wizz seems to be the primary tag, but several mentions of ‘scrotum’ serve to amuse.  It seems to shelter sheep more than dystopian angst and one can explore every inch of this building, even walk out onto its cantilevered roof. Worth a visit. The swallows enjoy the setting and I draw their wonderful flights of fancy and fly catching. I didnt know at the time that Brown Willy comes from the Cornish words Bronn Wennili, which means ‘hill of swallows’.

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Even the ceilings of this fascinating place seems to ooze abstract art, slowly decaying into Kandinsky’esque homage

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In fact this isn’t the only building left standing from the past, and several mess huts and workshops remain on the northern edge of the airfield. Some look like the Cornish mining engine houses and many have beautiful examples of grafitti, the grey concrete a perfect foil for the electric colours.

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Heading north to Davidstow we walk along this ancient drove (below), which is lined with spectacular beach trees planted by a local woman benefactor who is still well respected by the farmers and locals we spoke to. All the farms in the local area had ‘rights to the moor’ and took their cattle up to graze on Bodmin moor along this old track.  ancient drove

These Beach trees form some of the unique wind pruned hedgerows and exposed groves of this region none more striking and dramatic than the line that one can see from the A39 just before the cheese factory, rolling downhill towards the rugged north Coast, branches bent over impossibly, iconic coastal emblems somehow living and pointing towards the wild mystery of Boscastle and Tintagel, where the next walk will take us…

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We then met David Upington, owner farmer of Treslay Farm which backs onto St Davids Church Davidstow.

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As well as telling us about burial mounds and a secret nuclear bunker next to the trigpoint, he pointed us to the Holy Well behind the church, a quaint little green roofed house in a flower meadow.

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The trigpoint was clearly visible from the road and after being outside for 12 hours we were glad to finally see the car and finish the day, a walk crammed full of encounters with the place. Below are the found object treasures* collected:

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From left to right: Equine shinguard (please feel free to contact me if you would like to claim it as yours – it had been there for over a week already) rubber vehicle seal, rusted barbed wire, sheep bones, strap, livestock feed bag, plastic fragments, tic tac box, intact mint sachet, milk bottle top, spent airfield smoke canister, expanding foam fragment, yellow pencil, chewed sheep ear tag, flattened aerosol can, rusted mild steel square washer, red lid of lighter gas, Chinese made sunglasses, ceramic fuseboard component, class 1 asbestos roof fragment from mess hut, rusted steel shard, iron shackle

Below: The route taken – except I forgot to turn Strava off so the route is from the green dot to the top of the screen! – about 11 miles in total.

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Next walk – TPK Walk 83 (of 100) Davidstow – Condolden Barrow, VIA Boscastle and Tintagel!

TPK Walk 81: Fox Tor – Brown Willy via Jamaica Inn (16/05/20)

We discreetly camped below Fox Tor trigpoint on a clear and still night. Pot noodles and spiced rum warmed us under a crescent moon and sparkly stars.

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Low on water and with a hot day ahead, we prioritised our route to pass streams and valleys. It wasnt long before we found crystal clear delicious water filtered through the granite massif beneath us. This was along the E edge of Bodmin’s largest commercial forestry plantation,  Halvana cross. Managed by the forestry commission, this public forest is predominantly coniferous having been planted after the First World War to address the national timber shortage.

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We followed the forest edge round in the rough direction of Jamaica Inn to the SW. Noah was on sound recording and Caitlin was on maps. It wasnt long before we heard and captured cukoo calls and other creatures…  The area is known for its production of high quality Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis) which makes up the vast majority of the trees.

Below: Sitka Spruce with a Mistle thrush (Turdus viscivorus) we spotted singing and swooping around

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Bodmin moor is an area of natural beauty (AONB) and a site of special scientific interest (SSSI) due to its unusual moorland habitats supporting a range of rare birds and plants such as the nightjar, golden plover and a moss unique to this area. Balancing a range of land use demands from commercial forestry and farming, recreation and leisure, the busy A30, historic monumnets and habitiat conservation is a delicate and challenging task requiring a lot of joined up thinking. The forestry plan (link below) is just one piece of the puzzle… 20yr Bodmin forestry plan

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On the map an ancient cross is marked (above & below) but we couldn’t see it. I later discovered it was stolen in 1987, sparking an initiative to microchip all of Cornwall’s 400+ old crosses and ancient monuments.

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Inside the forest giant machines chomp their way through to make lines of access, and timber is cut and sized as they go along.

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Where light is introduced to the wider road tracks and to vast areas that are felled, plants and animals flourish and thrive, like this Bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) which will turn blue and delicious come autumn. Conflicting issues and land politics wrestle, the tension and age old struggle for control is in the air itself. Nature is as relentless as humankind’s quest for ownership and exploitation.

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Leaving the plantation I remember a previous trigpoint walk that passed by on the southern side of Halvana where gold crests played on the edge of what looked like an apocalyptic nuclear catastrophe (just a clear felled forest). TPK walk60

And we wander down into a magical stream teeming with life above and below the life lit stream.

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I play a little on my violin, and Noah has a go too. A sheep with young lamb come and listen. As does a beady eyed Kingfisher (below) perching on the bridge.

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Walking over the hill the droning A30 taints the idyll and the dark chimneys of Jamaica Inn come into view. Covid – 19 signs declare closure everywhere. A friendly but ‘best move on guys’ Australian accent chap comes out from the slightly sinister grey but clean buildings. We all talk together for 15 minutes. Richard Cornish (2nd left, below:) emigrated to Sydney as a child and has now moved back, working in Jamaica Inn which he says would normally be ‘rammed’ at this time of the year. With 39 rooms fully booked throughout the season and so close to the main vehicular artery of Cornwall, this place is a tourist loving gold mine. We also meet the local farmer with a good local accent who looks after 100 acres near Helman tor and 60 acres at nearby Toddy Park who said ‘we could do with some rain, even overnight’

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Built in 1750 as a coaching inn, Jamaica Inn was the 18th century equivalent of a motorway service station for weary travelers. Using the turnpike between Launceston and Bodmin, horses and coaches would stay at the Inn after crossing the wild and treacherous moor.

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In fact it was here that Daphne du Maurier’s horses led her off the foggy moors when she was dangerously lost one wet and dark winter night in 1930, and formed the inspiration for her famous novel Jamaica Inn. Below: Daphne du Maurier around 1930

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Now the nearby A30 (below) rumbles away happily all year round with recent new road improvements to smooth the harsh moor, assuaging the bleakness and delivering a palatable car window picture postcard.

 

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Somewhat fittingly though, Holy Trinity Church Bolventor can be clearly seen from the road opposite the tucked away Jamaica Inn, and its little bell tower spire is especially dramatic in the winter and most hauntingly Gothic, perfectly setting the scene for myth and misty misdemeanors…

 

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We meet and chat with the current owners who are refurbishing the church to live in, and are invited back to see how it all finishes!

It was our turn to venture out onto the moors then, and the rolling plateaus of the lower slopes gave way to the giant plutonic intrusions of Rough Tor and Brown Willy, rising to 400 and 417m above sea level.  Under a hot sun and blue sky, alarming larks rose all at once, over half a dozen, as we sat on Catshole down and drank water collected through millions of years of stone. Noah explained earlier that skylarks rise noisly and continuously to divert attention from the ground nest and then fain injury by cascading to the floor out of harms way of the vulnerable nest. This burst my poetic unrealistic fantasy bubble somewhat of singing larks for pleasure or from some other post naive standpoint.

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Below: Cotton grass (Eriophorum angustifolium) beneath Brown willy

Historically, common cotton-grass was used to stuff pillows in Sussex. It was also collected and used in Scotland to dress wounds during the First World War.

 

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The Belted Galloway cattle seemed more than ever to be wearing a Cornish flag in the hot early summer sun, proud and stubborn, just ‘being’, and it reminded me of a film Samuel Glazebrook made when the two of us cycled around Cornwall, prerequisite to this crazy project… it had some spoken word poetry about these gentle giants becoming Cornish identity – 1min:50 in

https://youtu.be/tC3eMTEAgJk

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The ground rose even steeper for the last 50 or so metres elevation and I was happy to see the trigpoint come into view after 9 hours walking.

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We still had another mile and half to go to get to the Rough Tor car park where Noah’s ice cream van lay waiting to refresh us (NB: Noah doesnt have an ice cream van he has a large white van and there were mint chocolate ice creams and tea making facilities to refresh there in his van fridge) in the distance but it felt good to be on top of Cornwall and being able to see the sea on both North and South coasts and all the way to St Agnes, St Austell, Devon and Plymouth.

Moor me 😉

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The ‘art’:

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The route:

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Next time: North towards Davidstow…

TPK Walk 80: Bray Down – Fox Tor via Altarnun (16/05/20)

SKYLARKING, A RED ‘THING’, WESLEY FOR SALE, & THE VICAR OF ALTARNUN!

St Nonnas Altarnun

I set off early to the summit of Bray Down to try and join the sunrise. Alas I didn’t make it. Murky grey sky sheets disappointed to my left as I climbed with my full gear to the top but the golden piercings of a skylark were already filling the air at the summit and I laughed and smiled. Well they didn’t have to cycle 7 miles and walk 1 uphill! We are both just doing our crazy thang.

I was glad to have taken an extra jumper, tights, big scarf and gloves, as the wind chill at this exposed altitude brought the temperature down to around freezing.  After taking hasty panoramics from the base plate of the trigpoint (as I do on every walk), I leant with my back against the concrete pillar on the south facing side, mildly sheltered from the wind, awaiting the promised warmth of the sun.

For the next hour I sat there just mesmerised by the rise and fall of my constant friends on these early morning starts, Alauda arvensis, the Eurasian skylark.  In my well thumbed RSPB Pocket Birds guide, Elphick & Woodward describe the unusual movements of the Skylark:

Mark Avery Skylark

‘During its song-flight the Skylark rises vertically on constantly flickering wings, then hovers, singing all the while, before spiraling or parachuting to the ground with a final steep plunge.’

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I held my mark on the paper and followed one lark after another, responding to what I could see and hear, sound and vision often just blurring into one (below)

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Pleased to have used some watercolours, I had finally warmed up a little and the skies were clearing so I got on my way.

A RED ‘THING’

Often a particular theme conspires on these walks. After walking past and rejecting a shiny red plastic object I stumble upon several red moments, starting with this adorable scene:  A sadly decaying red mini engulfed by fresh apple green bramble growth (below)

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In the village of Altarnun by the idyllic village green shot, a red azalea near the war memorial, just past its best (below)

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Red tulips jump out and disturb the dappled greens by the river (below)

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Then, a bright red skeleton crew bus on the way to Launceston replete with friendly driver in red uniform

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And up the road, the original Methodist chapel building with Wesley’s 1836 bust above the entrance, for sale.

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WESLEY FOR SALE

On walk number 11 way back in 2015 I wrote a piece titled ‘new wine in old wine glasses’ when I stumbled upon a Wesleyan chapel converted into a glass making studio. Back then the statistics showed one Methodist building a week was being sold off (between 2005-2010); probably to finance this declining UK institution, so 10 years on I wonder now how much of John Wesley’s legacy is left in actual assets…

Below: the original stone carving of John Wesley by Neville Northey Burnard (1818- 1878), famed local stonemason (who also carved the sky high Richard Lander figure on Lemon Street in Truro)

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Methodism’s founder John Wesley (1703-1791) was a charismatic Anglican theologian who began a deeply spiritual Christian revival movement. Ironically he never intended to create his own church, rather to simply pass on what he had been given, mainly by preaching in open fields, collieries and public spaces to those who did not regularly visit a parish Church service:

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‘I look on all the world as my parish… …that, in whatever part of it I am, I judge it… right, and my bounden duty, to declare unto all that are willing to hear, the glad tidings of salvation.’

— John Wesley, Journal (11 June 1739)

 

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Below: the porch where John Wesley preached from (now the entrance to the Wesley museum in nearby Trewint), and the associated prayer garden rather in need of care

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It seems somewhat fitting that Wesley’s legacy is increasingly not in material buildings but in a simple Christian movement that started outside with the ordinary folk and the everyday, where wealth and land politics cannot complicate or burden a message for all.

A VICAR OF ALTARNUN!

St Nonnas Altarnun

I had the pleasure of meeting my very own Vicar of Altarnun! (OK Methodist minister, but close ;)) and fortunately she was nothing at all like Frances Davey of Du Maurier’s Jamaica Inn infamy (below- from the 2014 BBC TV adaptation) – the devious character using religion as a dark veil for murderous wrecking operations along the Cornish coastline.

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Living in the pretty cottage next door to the St Nonna’s churchyard lives Doreen Sparey – Delacassa, Methodist minister for Camelford and Week St Mary circuit (below)

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We spoke for some time about life and Coronavirus. There is a definite sense of community but this has obviously fragmented recently with the requirement to stay home and Doreen wondered what the long term effect of Covid -19  would be on village life and how long it might take to recover.

I asked what people do for work in Altarnun and discovered that like a lot of these tranquil rural places around Cornwall most people are retired and middle-aged upwards with few young families.  Out of the picturesque village itself towards Trewint and Five Lanes where house prices are cheaper (and also beside the noisy A30) there is newer housing, a school and more working families, with trades people, council and care workers and those who have employment in Launceston and further afield.

Moving on towards the trigpoint I stop to record the dulled rumble acoustic of the A39 underpass and then head steeply upwards onto grazing moorland.

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Viewing out from the summit of Fox Tor the rough gorse and granite give way to fertile rural patchwork and the A39.  Visibility from here extends to Dartmoor towards the E, Plymouth in the SE, the St Austell clay pits to the SW and Lundy Island to the N.

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Below: Rough tor trig point  walk 81 is over there!

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PLANTS OF THE WALK:  

Below: Meconopis cambrica (WELSH POPPY) pretty perennial,  reliable in a damp spot between rocks/paving slabs, pictured  here amidst ubiquitous but lovely Silene dioica (RED CAMPION)

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Below: Centaurea montana (PERENNIAL CORNFLOWER) – the clump forming, returning type, not the annual wildflower of meadows, with attractive silvery foliage groundcover

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Below: Claytonia sibirica (PINK PURSLANE) – edible – tastes like beetroot – grows in moist conditions https://www.wildfooduk.com/edible-wild-plants/pink-purslane/

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Below: Cerastium tomentosum (SNOW IN SUMMER) great impacting groundcover for a sunny bank/wall

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THE ROUTE:

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THE ‘ART’:

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THE SELF:

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NEXT WALK: 

I will be on Cornwall’s highest peak Brown Willy circled on the left (below), via Jamaica Inn circled at the bottom.  Aiming to arrive at Brown Willy around 6pm to catch the lower light in the sky and will remain there for the sunset (9:20pm) plus some positive word affirmations over the county, country and world if anyone happens to be about. If you are really brave I might also be camping out on the friday night 30th. NB: all at a physical distance

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TPK Walk 79: Warbstow – Bray Tor (25/04/20)

DOGBITTEN, GIANTS GRAVE, ‘MKII HUMANS’, MAGIC HOLY WELL

This was a walk full of surprises.

Bowithick. Best kept secret hamlet on the edge of Bodmin moor

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The walk started worryingly as a dog chased me on my bike ride to the start and the cheeky wotsit bit my my leg instantly drawing blood (near moment captured below on my 10 second gopro timelapse!).  I thought oh no! When did I last have a tetanus jab? what if that dog had Rabies?

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I panicked for a bit and stopped a farmer to ask for advice who said ‘mmm…that could get a bit nasty there couldnt it?’ in perfect Cornish country accent.

Hmm… I decided to wash it out thoroughly with water and liberally apply anti bacterial hand sanitiser (Covid – 19 supplies) into the neat diamond shaped hole on my lower leg, still bleeding away. Yeeeee – OUwwwwch!

Not a good start but I just put it behind me, hid the bike in a random field and got going, finding another wind turbine for clear sound recording and then making my way past a little water house on the prairie (below) to Warbstow bury, an ancient hill fort with a Giants grave on top.

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Seen from miles around and with commanding views, this raised double ringed fortification has a wonderful sense of ancient place and time, particularly with the evocatively named giants grave, a small grassy mound in the middle of the inner ring and even called King Arthurs Grave by some claiming mythological significance… click here for a recent archaeological report.

https://heritagecalling.com/2014/05/23/warbstow-bury-re-writing-the-story-of-a-cornish-hillfort/

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I made my way down an old hollow byway that led to the church of St Werburghs near Warbstow village and met a friendly couple (at distance) with whom I talked for some time, Vic Albon wanted to get back to his home in New Zealand and I found him in a very philosophical state of mind, and perhaps echoing a lot of our feelings and hopes for a future.  Vic spoke about a ‘Mark II human’, one that lives in harmony with the planet and each other. I wanted to somehow include Vic’s thoughts so he wrote on the artboard.

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Jo had lived in the village of Warbstow for some time and spoke about her project of documenting the unusual gravestone angels that appear on the headstones only here in Cornwall, and she kindly drew me one on the artboard – copying from Leonard Pearn’s grave of 1767 in the churchyard where we chatted, below.

Angel headstone

I left the churchyard and headed south towards the hills and moors of Bodmin.  The landscape rose before me and a wind farm completely still, looked odd on the horizon, dozens of double blades fixed horizontally, as if synchronised.

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Coming through unknown fields I stumbled upon this lovely family (Martin and Liv Rail) I knew of but had no idea I would walk through their back garden. It made me very happy and the children contributed to the artboard, Isla drawing flowers and the dog, Issac adding the tree swing, and Jack a tractor, who rushed to finish so he could go and drive his own electric tractor around the garden.

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It felt so good to have others input and join in from different ages.

On I went walking towards the trigpoint with the peaks of the tors in the distance gradually geting closer.

From the map it was clear that St Clether Well and Chapel can only be accessed on foot and is hidden from sight.  The Holy well of St Cledrus is tucked away on the side of a valley floor with a stream that literally trickles through the little building under the font.  It is generally thought that Cleder, or Clederus, believed to be one of the twenty-four children of Brechan of Wales, came to Cornwall during the 6th century and chose the site of a spring in this the Inney Valley, to build his hermitage.

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Some Welsh Poppies (Papaver cambricum) line the damp stone beside the old well  housing (below:)

 

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Inside you can just hear a gentle repeated dripping from below, and light floods through the windows.

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The landscape on the edge of Bodmin Moor here becomes increasingly rugged and I spot perhaps one of the first Swallows migrating across from North Africa on the warm airs.

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Plant of the walk below – the pretty Cuckoo flower – Cardamine pratensis, in a damp lush field

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Up the steep mossy edged tracks up to Bray Tor,

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On top, views out to Brown Willy and Rough Tor, highest peaks in Cornwall, with the A30 barely visible.

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Below: The route

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Below: the artboard with people contributions  – before any studio alterations – and a couple of found objects – sheeps jaw with 3 molar teeth intact, pretty pink hay bale twine, and a monster munch crisp wrapper found neatly folded up

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Since this walk the government guidance to only exercise within a reasonable distance from home has changed and I dont feel as bad travelling 50 miles to the next walk.

NEXT WALK: No.80 Bray Tor – Fox Tor via Alternun, Jamaica Inn territory…

 

 

TPK Walk 78: Crackington Haven – Warbstow (11/04/20)

GUILTY SILENCE, RISING SKYLARKS & GIANT WIND TURBINES

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This was a very strange walk.

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I didn’t really engage with the walk, the place or the people, as fear got the better of me…

I felt guilty for walking a long way from home, and I struggled to shake that feeling all day…

I did record some great sounds under giant wind turbines and rising skylarks, and witness unusual silence amidst purple honesty and vanilla gorse.

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This trigpoint is by the road on Highcliff a mile outside Crackington Haven with views all about for miles.  The barbed wire (below) had a wonderful tension like a giant double bass and I played with a few rhythms which I recorded in the sound piece*

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I watercoloured the blue cliff fingers reaching into the Atlantic as I witnessed the skylark fall from the sky …

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Empty roads.  Everywhere.

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I met this delightful man (below) working on his wall project but he was jovial and there was no questioning me being there from him.

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Just up from here in the little village of Marshgate a banner boldly proclaimed ‘ISOLATION NOT VACATION’ warning people not to visit.  In my haste I spelt it wrong as I copied the lettering onto my artboard! I didn’t hang around to be challenged, even though I really am not on a vacation, and left the village at a brisk pace up the hill to the A39.

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I had been musing about what I would say to the police if I was stopped.  I sort of see this walking as my job, work even… and it could be seen as exercise, but I doubt any of these standpoints would be justification to officers of the law.  So once more I moved on at pace and saw wind turbines all around in the fields.  I wandered in and sat eating my sandwiches under the whir and swish of the blades.  I recorded many different sounds. Even the fizz of the electricity cables was audible without the ambient drone of traffic and aircraft…

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Above: Vanilla fragrance arising from the pea like flowers of Gorse

Below: Plant of the walk: Honesty – Lunaria annua. Striking proud stalks of pink and sometimes white flowers persist for over 4 weeks before the disk like purses turn green, dry out transluscently, then scatter and delight children and adults in the autumn.

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A chapel and graveyard seemed poignant as I continued up towards Warbstow.

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And I also stumbled upon the old railway line which used to serve North Cornwall until 1967, all that is left are raised bankworks and old bridges that cross forgotten hollows and land cuttings, empty voids now bursting with a beautiful reclamation of nature’s bounty.

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Finishing just outside of Warbstow next to the ancient hillfort the skylarks were once more rising in swathes of random melody around the trigpoint.  I recorded some and played my violin, improvising around my own skylark musical sketches.  I combined this with the turbine, electricity and barbed wire strums.  Listen here.

https://soundcloud.com/bernard-gweever/rising-skylarks-giant-wind-turbines

 

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The word  ‘ r e s e t ‘ had been floating round my psyche as a hard but interesting concept to grapple with during global lockdown, and it popped up on the board, later to be embellished in childlike colour aptly sourced from rainbow thread I found along the walk…

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I have grown to dislike what I have done here to the board on this occasion, perhaps I will persevere with it at a later date but for now I am moving on as I have since completed walk number 79 before writing this up – a completely different experience.

Thanks for seeing, reading and listening.

TPK Walk 77: Wainhouse Corner – Crackington Haven

SUNDAY 29th MARCH

I felt bad going on a long walk. Over 50 miles of the A39, I met 3 vehicles, 2 of which were tractors.

Cycling from finish to start it was so cold in a brutal freezing wind from the SE.

I got scratched, bog booties and impaled on thorns getting to the trigpoint just behind Wainhouse corner on the A39. As often is the case I hacked my way to get to the old concrete plinth,  my trusty felco secateurs on my belt ready for action.

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Back to the A39 everywhere was deserted.

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Wainhouse corner sprung up on the crossroad of the A39 and the road into Crackington Haven, and historically there used to be a cattle market here on the common land. Midway between Bude/Kilkhampton and Camelford, the Wainhouse Inn has served travellers since 1785 as a coaching inn.

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Towards Crackington Haven, a sign reminds me of an album of  by a famous local homeowner

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Alexanders (Smyrnium olusatrum) below:  is still looking great and edible by the roadside verges, its a bit pungent but it tastes ok…

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I have to take diversions away from really nice valley footpaths 😦 later I find out* that someone who was visiting Lundy island and staying in Crackington Haven contracted COVID-19, probably sparking this response…

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However,  St Gennys is near my route so I take lunch here in the icy winds

The church is locked but the gate makes a lovely metallic noise for recording…

The old well around the back is also locked.

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Over the grassy hill to Crackington Haven; ‘Cracky’ to locals, in Cornish Porthkragen, meaning “cove of the little crag” But there’s nothing small about the cliffs just south of this charming little village – highcliff rises to 735 feet (224 m) and is Cornwalls highest cliff and S England’s steepest sheer drop…

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It is well known by locals that Thom Yorke owns this house in Cracky (below). I love Radiohead and Yorke’s solo music output, characterised by postmodern electro indie beat angst. As I improvise on my violin above Thom’s house on the coast path I just cant help moody minor colours bleeding out over the drama of the zig zag rocks, the wild rugged coastline with wind haggard vegetation, and the mysterious sea and wind always at odds to each other. I fantasize that I might meet him and talk to him about life and this place.

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Unusually meandering streams and bridges add to Crackington Haven’s charm

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Along from the cove towards Highcliff coast sublime awaitsblackthorn1

NATIVE FLOWER OF THE WEEK: Blackthorn or Sloe (Prunus spinosa) gorgeous pure white flowers open from pink cream buds and the cliff sides are clothed in white blossom from early February right through to mid April. It is one of our first native shrubs to flower and is a real herald that spring has come.

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Selfie 2 of the week, sporting some goofy found object sunnies…

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Further along the coastpath I make 2 metre friends* with a couple who left London weeks back to avoid the gathering pandemic gloom.  One works for a very famous unnamed fashion designer. We talk about the good that is coming out of this forced reset and the chance to stop and reflect on whats important and where we are all at.

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An obligatory and apt go pro slow shot on the hill alongside high cliff

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The trigpoint is basking in the late afternoon sun, pictures that conceal a shocking wind chill factor on this very exposed hilltopTP CH 2TP sunset CHTP CH 1

I found some very interesting found objects: Raybans, GPO ceramic electric muffler (intact) some sort of goods delivery sheet for the local area (with pink cross through marks), a green Y (only smarties have the answer), typical rock colours, sheeps wool,2 Wispa wrappers (come on, it was quiet;)) and a nice piece of painted green wood its edge reminiscent of the coastline

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I enjoyed drawing, layering up and rubbing this weeks piece (all done on the walk itself except for the rubbing out of the intriguing white figurine)

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This is where I walked.

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I’m not sure when I am going to do the next walk: inland to Warbstow…

 

TPK Walk 76: Dizzard Point – Wainhouse Corner

SUNDAY 22nd MARCH

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Selfie 1 as I am about to cycle to the start of walk 76

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Below: Plant of the week: Alexanders – Smyrnium olusatrum. See this tall flowering plant now by road side verges and cliff paths- insects and bees go crazy for its lime green umbels, all parts of the plant are edible and wikipedia describes it as ‘intermediate in flavour between celery and parsley’ apparently Roman soldiers used to carry plants around with them for food on long journeys…

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And the gorse! so yellow, so bright and so so optimistic!

Later on the walk I spoke some words:

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The smell of vanilla gorse sweetly fills my nostrils

Rising from the warm ground

A thousand textures resonate before my eyes

The ordinary, with extra, super, natural

beyond

beyond

beyond

Below: This farmer described to me in detail the process of feeding newborn lambs with this instrument…

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Below: A concrete plinth not far from the trig point. I think it could have been an anti-aircraft gun mount from WWII but I am not certain. Regardless, the bolts made interesting metallic pitches when struck with my steel leatherman multi tool. Watch the mini film for the sounds and the shape features in the drawing.

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Below: I walked past that wind-pruned hawthorn tree AGAIN. SO gnarly…

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Below: It was a perfect moment in the warm morning air. So I played around with a piece ‘Alauda arvensis’  (Skylark) I have been working on and off for years here – listen to it on the mini film.

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Down one valley, up another

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Below: A wonderful half an hour chatting with another local farmer Peter Moyles, Yorkshire born, moved here to Dizzard as a child with his parents and has never left. We put the world to right and spoke about many important things. Some of this interview is captured in the mini film.

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The road, normally deserted this time of the year was busy with folk out for a walk on a crisp clear day.

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Below: an idyllic spot for lunch on a sun drenched bench overlooking Millook valley. I made up a little jig on the violin here – listen to it on the mini film

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After traversing the A39 I found St James Holy well.

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Selfie 2 at St James Holy Well

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Below: I couldn’t find the trigpoint initially but strange ginger chainlink fur distracted me – I think some highland cattle in the adjacent field needed a good scratch

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Below: Wainhouse Corner on the A39 ATLANTIC HIGHWAY as the sun begins to set

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Below: Some treasured lines, colours, rubbed objects, found objects, moments, mementos of place…

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This walk, this project, is about valuing the ordinary, celebrating the ordinary, showcasing the ordinary

elevating the status [of the ordinary] to art, to beauty, to mystery of existence

Finding truth and meaning and purpose and humanity goodness and…

wow look at these guys there’s so many of them; sweet violets, Iv’e got a cold I cant smell them…

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valuing the ordinary, [the un-noticed]

The route:

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Heres the hastily mashed up film! please someone help me edit and make a decent film!

Thanks for reading, watching

 

 

 

TPK Walk 75: Efford Beacon – Dizzard Point

Millook Haven zig zags nr. Widemouth Bay

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I have been meeting this guy each week on his recycling round in north Cornwall villages. Perhaps next week we will talk more but he seemed busy.

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ZIG. Millook Haven I think is the steepest hill in Cornwall at 30% …

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ZAG. I got off my bike and literally walk to go down the insanely steep hill as I knew I wouldn’t be able to stop! FYI On the way up out of the cove I didn’t get off 😉 .  My car also burnt serious rubber trying to drive up there – careful when you turn the tight chicane corners in damp road conditions…

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The early rain was gradually ceasing, leaving grey skies but the wind was still strong, as if winter was desperate to hold on.

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Colours muted and powerful. I got my own water colours out. It rained a shower and my colours ran.

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The cliffs sighed after recent storms raking material into the wash

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I met Tom from London and we didn’t shake hands. We discussed nudging shoulders or tapping feet as they do in China as an alternative as we walked towards Widemouth Bay.

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Dog walkers occupy Widemouth Bay and the pay here car parks

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An interesting but unfriendly recent development in Widemouth Bay

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I met another person walking the path away from the bay and we talk as she helps me put in the distance towards the trigpoint (I tend to dawdle as I get so distracted by everything around me so having someone with me helps!)

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Other walkers from the Peak District like the SW Coastal path because ‘you can always hear the sea’…

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Millook haven is famous for its chevron folded carboniferous rocks, voted as one of the top visits in the UK for geological sites. I headed for the shelter of the far cobble beach under the giant zigzagging contortions. I listen to the drag of the waves on the round and resonant flint stones and the constant driving wind. The rocks overwhelm in strange and powerfully forced chromatic lines. After lunch on the round pebbles I try and respond to this dramatic environment all around me on the violin. Whilst I loved improvising, I feel vulnerable putting these clips out there but I guess they are only sketches… a little bit like the drawings but I feel more confident with pen and paper.  Click here to get a couple of short snippets…

 

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I sit down just out of the wind and have another go with watercolours, the chance of showers decreasing as the wind brings in a new front, perhaps to batter and brace the coast once more. Below is the piece and the found objects. Can you see the RNLI flag?

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In the Millook Valley woods nearby, even the streams zig and zag, eroding obtuse angles shooting out to the sea.

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This particular valley has been described as the “best ravine wood in Cornwall”  and is a former SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) and an ancient semi – natural woodland, evidenced by Dogs Mercury (Mercurialis perennis), a ground covering perennial leafy green under the bare tree canopy (currently thriving until tree leaves emerge and darken the woodland floor) and an indicator of woodland that has been here since at least before 1600.

Onto the top of the cliffs again, a break in the blackthorn thicket opens out to a breathtaking and magnificent view, and clouds do a strange symmetry over my head.

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It seems even the Dizzard point triangulation plinth has been affected by recent winds and is on the wonk.

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The route on foot:

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And that badboy Millook haven hill cycle ride to the start

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Next week:

Dizzard to Wainhouse Corner –  A39 Atlantic Highway crossroads

TPK Walk 74: Scadghill Farm – Efford Beacon

Braving gale force winds on a stumbling and staggering walk

The wind was so strong this week that I could not walk very well. Add to the fact that all the fields and paths away from popular sections of footpath are over saturated with water from the continuous rain, I dont really walk at all. Instead I slip, slide and glide over the mud and boggy ground, hardly walking at all, rather skating without momentum or traction. As one can imagine, this makes for slow progress, both energy sapping and frustrating.

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The wind was gusting to 60/70mph, racing off the sea and striking the steep cliffs, the effect being that I was constantly battered, bullied and pushed around on the slippery mud. Quite dangerous in fact when close to the cliff edge.

The following photos do not show the violence I was enduring to obtain the shots. I think it is important to experience Cornwall in all weathers, and also to make art in all weathers, warts and all, since life is not all plain sailing and rosy.

A dead badger

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A frightened pheasant

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A windy trigpoint

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Lines

stripey land

Sheep flocked to me

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Lines

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Backwards water ‘falls’

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A perfect storm

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Some nice concrete shapes

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Wrangle point.  J M W Turner sketched this in 1811…

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Obligatory beach huts and viewing telescope of the holiday town

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And Tamarisk, a whispy shrub perfect for windy salty locations

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Bude has the only manually operated sea lock in the UK

Harbour

I like its rusted log pins… What do you think Spike Jackson?

Harbour arm

And its safe passage markers in varying states of decay and modernity

the harbour

Compass point was brutal and uninhabitable

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With 6 inches of water and deafening howling through 6 windows I couldnt stay long.

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The trigpoint at Efford Beacon was no different, knocked about and exhausted I quickly took photos and rubbing and headed for the stillness of my car interior.

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I took the opportunity to draw Bude Castle, now the library, and take pictures from the calm of the car.

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Charming nearby Poughill

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And the Bude Tunnel (Sainsbury’s covered polytunnel walkway)  making local history in  2018 the national news and on TV as Budes no.1 attraction. It is lit up with fairly lights at Christmas and is something of a local novelty attraction… 4.5 stars on trip advisor. Elvis apparently returned to perform there recently…

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ANYWAY …

Despite being completely weather battered, I enjoyed being on the coast once more and finding sea spills – the feather of a giant black backed gull and an old inhaler seemed appropriate. I arrange below: Mary Trapp I thought of you when I found the sea weathered polystyrene 😉

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Above: The sea boiled up brown capuccino froth. Naturally I immersed the art piece into it and it gave a yellow ochre staining.

This is where I was blown

74 Strava