Wednesday, 11 July 2012

OK Mother Nature – You win!

I have decided to divide the walk into two halves. Having completed the northern section this year, I plan to walk the Southern section in spring next year - it should have stopped raining by then!! This decision is only partly due to the unrelenting weather conditions - I see no point in walking and camping if I can't actually do any artwork. The other reason is that I started to feel overwhelmed by the amount of information I was trying to absorb. It was always a mammoth undertaking to try and do it in one go, even if everything went smoothly. I don't want to rush it and by doing it in two sections I can enjoy it and have enough time to fully develop the work.

I still have to revisit a few locations that I missed during the first four weeks, so when the weather improves (which I'm sure it will now I have stopped trying to walk!) I will sneak out and fill in the gaps.

All exhibitions and events that I have booked will continue as planned, and I can now look forward to planning some more for the second half.

I will send monthly blogs/newsletters out to keep in touch with you all.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Week 4: St Ives to Penzance 'On the Path' Day 25

Sennen to Treen

8 miles
1854 ft of ascent
Word of the day: Shark
Late start after a stormy and mostly sleepless night. Cross country to Sennen Cove (walked the coast path to and from the Old Success Inn last night) where we saw a basking shark just offshore. Walked onto Land's End where the obligatory cheesy photos were followed by a hasty getaway from the crowds before stopping to sketch Carn Boel.
Everything changes when you pass Land's End, the wind now behind us for the first time since starting the walk, and the sea now lit from offshore in the middle of the day.
I think the milestone of 'going round the pointy bit' will probably sink in later - the feeling at the time was an overwhelming urge to run away from all that the theme park represents.
Weather turned rainy and foggy this evening, we decided that there is no point in continuing this week so we are going home tomorrow.

Just to show that I have maintained my good humour, despite hearing that we have completed the first 4 weeks of the walk during the wettest April - June on record, I thought I would share this photo of me in an adit with the worst camping/hat hair ever!

Week 4: St Ives to Penzance 'On the Path' Day 24

Pendeen to Sennen
9 miles
1922 ft of ascent
Word of the day: Adit
Woke to a better day weather wise. 

Porridge was followed by a gigantic egg and bacon bap from the local chip shop which opens early morning and was very busy. A short walk along the coast to the amazing Geevor Mine - a mix of old and new ruins. Did a sketch including the copper stained rock.
Also got a photo of two chicks on their nest - I think they were cormorants.
Walked on past numerous mines including the Crowns Mine - probably the most photographed in Cornwall.
Stopped at Cape Cornwall for a cup of tea and an excellent homity pie.
Just after Porth Nanven we went into an old adit - it was dark and just being in there for a few minutes with only the light form a head-torch gave me the briefest of insights of Cornish mining! I can't imagine what it must have been like a mile out under the sea bed and able to hear the waves crashing overhead.
We passed a beach covered in large white granite boulders which, from a distance, looked like dinosaur eggs. Rock formations on top of Aire Point bore a striking resemblance to an elephant, an Easter Island statue and a whale! 

Amazingly, I saw Kurt Jackson on Gwynver Beach - we had a chat about printmaking and I said how good it was that someone so much in the public eye was raising the profile of printmaking. It was great to see him working and it confirmed for me just how important it is to work in the landscape. 

Week 4: St Ives to Penzance 'On the Path' Day 23

Zennor to Pendeen
8 miles
1600 ft of ascent
Word of the day: Climbers
Another tough day, really feeling it in my knees. Respect is due to anyone who walks from St Ives to Pendeen in one day.
Stopped to sketch an offshore island covered in black and orange lichen. Then stopped on a boulder beach to sketch and have lunch.

Walked past Bosigran and saw some rock climbers; Tim looked on wistfully. Did a quick ink sketch of the rocks that the climbers call Commando Ridge but it was very windy and hard to concentrate so I abandoned it. A long stretch of high cliffs was followed by a sandy beach at Portheras Cove.
Hunger and the threat of yet more rain drove us inland slightly earlier than planned - camped at the North Inn in Pendeen and had a hearty meal in the pub.
I hit a wall today, both physically and mentally; as I was walking along racked with pain in my legs I thought to myself "I don't have to do this", and more importantly "why am I doing this?" Will it make any difference to the artwork - the fact that I have walked it all? I started to have thoughts of pleasant day trips in the car with a stroll down to the coast for a spot of sketching followed by a warm and dry bed and breakfast! I clearly need to take myself off to one side for a bit of a talking to!

Week 4: St Ives to Penzance 'On the Path' Day 22

St Ives to Zennor
8 miles
1600 ft of ascent
Word of the day: Seal-song
Starting on a Thursday because the weather has been so bad, we have shortened the itinerary to 5 days. The two days will be easily recovered over the next couple of weeks; also it makes the journeys to and from home easier.

After a quick cup of tea in St Ives we got away just before two. Stopped briefly a few times to do some very rapid sketching as a warm-up exercise. I have been finding that my first sketches of each week are a bit rusty so I am hoping this will help.
As we passed the Carracks (offshore rocks) we could hear the seals singing - I counted at least 20!
Walked inland to Zennor to stay in the Backpackers Hostel; this is in an old chapel and is great although the beds were a bit hard. Nearly didn't get anything to eat in the pub but fortunately they had a no-show so we got fed at 9.
Hard going today, easily the worst path surface on the path so far - clambering over rocks and very boggy but at least there wasn't much up and down.