Walking in Cornwall

Nearly two weeks in Cornwall already, it looks like such a small area on the map and there is so much to discover. I have extended my stay for another week, also because I love my cabin so much. And all the beauty! The snow cleared quickly and made room for milder days often with long sunny stretches.

I have explored most of the coast while walking parts of the South West Coast Path from Penzance clockwise to 6 miles before St. Ives when the terrain became just too muddy and hilly for me. I liked the challenge to walk the Path, often very rocky and always close to the sea. The structure of a walking day suits me a lot: getting up fairly early, having a good breakfast and then head out, spend the day outside in beautiful scenary, picknick outside or in a cosy cafe or pub and then coming back happy and tired, eat some more, rest and sleep. In between there were a few rainy days which I enjoyed too, resting in my cabin which is now comfortably warm, reading, writing, connecting with my friends online.

Today is such a rainy day, I cooked a meal in the kitchen of my host and chatted with her and one of her friends. The friend grew up around here and told me about the most interesting stone circles to visit. Stone circles are coming more into my focus now after which felt like honouring this area by walking along the coast.

As you might know this was once the most important mining area in Europe. Mining (mostly tin, then copper and arsenic) started here around 2150 BC says wikipedia and the last mine closed in 1998, most mines however starting closing around 100 years ago when cheaper metals came in from other regions. The mining industry made this area a rich and thriving place for hundreds of years. However, today this is one of the poorest areas in the UK. I had mixed feelings when I walked along the ruins of the old mines and chimneys, there can be beauty in looking at the ruins with a backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean. And at the same time the Earth feels terribly pierced here, sometimes every few meters there is an old mining shaft. One has to keep well to the paths not to fall into one of those shafts. I read that some of the mining shafts had tunnels that went far out under the sea.

The most peculiar thing happened when I tried to connect to the spirit of Cornwall close to the area with the deserted mines. The voice of the spirit felt like it was choking, it seemed to come through in a very high pitched voice. Not that I exactly hear a voice, but when connecting, I could feel how my throat was thightening. At first I thought it had just a funny character with this special voice, then I was wondering if it is maybe not doing so well. Maybe with all the mining and digging and extracting the Earth here might suffer, or as most of the old shafts are now filled up with dirt the Earth cannot breathe? First I asked myself what this might have to do with me and then I asked a few women friends to tune into this together with me and we had a sense that there is not ever only the pain to be felt, it helps to look at it more from a more holistic or integral point of view, also to see the beauty or necessity (e.g. to extract metals). We all sensed that somehow any presumable suffering of the Earth is always connected to human suffering, in the sense that it is only mirroring the suffering of humans, our fates are deeply connected. We could also sense a strength wanting to come through from the Earth which needs each of us to let it come through us, in the case of Cornwall maybe making us aware of all the things that we don’t allow ourselves to express. This feels important and I will elaborate on this in later posts.

People kept mentioning ‘Poldark’ to me in conversations as if this was something everybody should know about. I was curious to find out, but as I don’t normally watch TV, I had to read up about it and actually found parts of this apparently very successful TV series on youtube and watched some of it online for a few days. On my walks I found myself wondering what will happen next in the film and being excited and worried together with the characters. I imagine this is the fun of following a TV series, to kind of feel with the people in the film. Maybe I am just too easily distracted as I noticed that this took me from being present with where I was walking and from my walking practice, so I stopped watching further episodes. However, I quite enjoyed it and it gave me a good idea of how life might have been here around 150 years ago.

Back then and still today one of the most well-known landmarks around here is Land’s End, the westernmost place of England. This is also where we can meet the energy lines again that I mentioned in my post on Glastonbury: Michael and Mary enter England here, very close to Land’s End. I think I detected them and sat down on a rock which I felt was close to the energy from one of those lines. Anyway I felt restored and happy when I moved on. Similar to the landscape near Glastonbury, the land around this area seems to be filled with some special light, everything is a bit more sparkling then in other places or I like to see it like that.


Yesterday I travelled on to Cornwall. When I was tuning in where to go after Glastonbury a few weeks ago, the most southeastern corner of England would kind of light up on the map in my mind’s eye, it seemed to be blinking at me. This happened several times and I started to read up about this part of Cornwall and finally booked an airbnb place here in Penzance. The journey was quite adventurous. I had been aware of the forcasted snow and people in Glastonbury even went as far as suggesting I should travel the day before, but when I felt into it, it seemed to be ok to go ahead with my plans. When I stood in the snow waiting for buses yesterday, there were times when I was not so sure anymore. But the buses came eventually, the first local one however, which I was on for 1h 30 minutes was freezing cold, outside -4 degrees and inside just a few more. I was able to warm up for 15 minutes in a cafe at a bus coach stop after the ride. The next bus brought me to a junction close to the M5 where the Falcon bus to Plymouth would pick me up. In that short stretch I overheard people saying that bus services would be stopped in the afternoon.

My Falcon came, I had to clear my bag of a layer of snow when I boarded the bus, and going on the M5 was ok until just before Plymouth where snow fall was getting heavier and everything slowed down. When we arrived in Plymouth, many bus services from Plymouth had been cancelled. A young man from Egypt had just heard that his bus to London had been cancelled and we walked together to the train station where he wanted to check if he could instead go by train. I had chosen to get from Plymouth to Penzance by train anyway and though my train was delayed it did go and we had a beautiful ride through snowy Cornwall. But most of the connecting services had closed down and as I listened to fellow travellers trying to phone a taxi to get to their home it seemed that also taxi companies had stopped going because of icy roads and continuing snowfall. They have not had this amount of snow here for 40 years I was told. I called my airbnb host to tell her about the delay, and asked if she would be able to drive as she had offered to pick me up at the station. She was indeed waiting for me at the station, one of the few people in Penzance without four-wheel drive car who dared to drive on the snow. She told me that she was not sure if we would make it up the hill to her house, a 3 mile drive, and if not a friend of hers with a tractor would come and help us … But we made it thanks to her courage and winter driving skills. Yeah.

I am staying in a cabin in her garden. The water in the kettle was frozen when we arrived and there was no running water because the water pipes must be frozen I think, but a mobile heater is bringing some warmth to the room and the internet is working. I had a good night under two duvets and my hat on. Today the forcast is for strong winds which are already blowing around the cabin, but temperatures are to increase.

This is what happened as an outside adventure. Inside I was enjoying my ‘knowing’ that I would get to where I needed to go. A similar knowing that also keeps me from following plans sometimes, as it kept me from cycling when it was too stormy on Lanzarote for example. Yesterday, even when I started to be insecure when buses were running late, the part in me that focussed on imagining arriving here was stronger.

And then this joy, that is filling me since I am in Cornwall, during the train ride a very intense joy full of light would pierce through me sometimes. I don’t think I have ever known this kind of joy, it is deeper somehow as I was able to feel until now.

And waking up this morning the joy was there again and is here still. It feels precious and I want to share it too. I am aware that the whole setup with the cabin and the snow deeply nourishes the adventurer in me. Also aware of being an adventure for beginners as from this cabin I could walk a few meters and enter the warm house of my host if things are getting too extreme. But imagining to be in a cabin in the mountains, tending a real fire instead of an electric heater and preparing my food on the fire too feels good. I want to experience that soon. At other times in my life I have stayed in real cabins and sat by the real fire deeply happy, but not alone.

Curious what the day will bring. Sending love from happy Cornwall. And sending blessings and warmth to all those who were not so lucky and got stuck with their cars in the snow and do not have electric heaters and double duvets and a kettle beside the bed.

The view from my cabin. There is a little stream just beside it too.