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    CHICCHANTAL   29,282
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From the bite to the kick

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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

It's very annoying when you're on a holiday where you'd planned to do a lot of walking and you go and sprain an ankle.

Best thing to do? Pretend you didn't sprain it. Works for me.

So this morning, quarter to ten, I set off along the coastal path I took yesterday. St Ives looks more or less the same as it did yesterday, but a bit greyer, so I won't post the pic . . . ok, ok only joking.

Walk a mile or so and take the footpath inland that is marked Knill monument. You can read about Mr Knill here:

It's not true that the English are all eccentric, it's just that those of us who are, manage to make a particularly thorough job of it.

I walk up the path which is steep and come out on the main road above St Ives, dig out map (which I will end up carrying in my hand, I have to get it out so often), find the right road and keep climbing steadily. This path is actually part of St Michael's path, as was most of the walk I did yesterday and you can see the whole route here.

So today I am walking the bit that is south from Carbis Bay.

Cross a stile and suddenly I'm on open moorland. It's easy enough to find the monument, as it's huge.

I hadn't realised it is three-sided. Walk round taking photos of it and the view towards the Hayle estuary where I was yesterday and the lighthouse beyond it.

It's a bit misty but you can still see for miles. After some thought pick what looks to be the best path south. There is no marker for St Michael's Way so I just use CC-radar. End up walking along a wall completely covered in vegetation, but am not too bothered as I can get a bearing from the sea and the sun and know I'm going in the right direction. The going is a bit rough: they have cleared a lot of saplings here and left about six inches of each trunk amusingly protruding along the edges of the path, so that you may not see the stumps until you trip over them. Oh what a jolly jape!

Find myself on a better path, going downhill path a plantation. It comes to a junction of tracks with this warning sign:

This warning refers to the bit I've just walked across. The mineshafts are from disused tin or copper mines, usually tin. In Cornwall a mine is called a 'wheal'.

There's also an official St Michael's Way signpost.

You couldn't make it up, could you?

Since they are saying, more or less 'take your pick' I choose the one headed due south, nice clear farm track, keep walking, come out on road, work out where I think I am, turn left along the road, walk for a bit, come to a nice signpost telling me I am near Trencom Hill.

Yippee. This is where I wanted to be. Trencom HIll is about halfway between the north and south coasts.

So, nearly there. First I have to endure Ordeal by Horse.

Now, I like horses. I used to ride a bit in my teens. You groom from the bite to the kick. I walk up this fenced track (across what is normally a holiday caravan park, but not in winter)
through this wooded bit.

And I get to a field. With three horses in. It's not entirely clear where the path is, but the map tells me to go diagonally across the field. By the time I've worked this out, two of the horses have decided they want a closer look at me. I say 'No. Go away you beastly beasts,' and one of them does.

The other one, smaller, is persistent. It's after blood, or failing that, whatever I might have to appease it with.

Fortunately, I haven't got so much as a polo mint (horses love these). It sniffs me all over, suddenly shies away from the map, making me gibber a bit, and comes back for another look.

I'm feeling very very very nervous. The problem with horses in fields on public footpaths is that people feed them things to keep the horse happy while they get past. The stroppier the horse, the more it gets fed. Horses aren't stupid. They very quickly learn that if you seriously pester humans they'll respond but feeding you sugar/apples/their dog so you have a vicious circle.

Just when I'm seriously thinking I am going to have to find a way around this entire field. the horse loses interest. It wanders off, then turns back briefly but by now I am walking fast across the field. I look back and it is following me, at a distance. It can move faster than I can but on the other hand I have a head start on it now. It realises this and gives up.

I arrive at the other side of the field and there's a path marker, thank goodness. Nip over the stile, out on to a road, cross the road, pick up the footpath along a muddy field, find myself on a little hedged bit. In a moment of pure Disney, the hedge whips my woolly 'at from my head.

Go along by a W marked on my map which turns out to be a well and is in fact a huge stone trough thing covered in pondweed.

Cross a very noisy and fastflowing stream. , miss the standing stone that I was going to look out for but find another one.

Looks like a standing stone to me, ok? I have to explain, Cornwall is full of stuff like this, covered in it. None of it's quite on the scale of Stonehenge, but there are circles and stones etc all over the place.

Clamber over a stile and head up along the side of a field. It's muddy and there have clearly been both horses and cattle in here at some point.

Two-thirds of the way up, I realise that there are still horses in here. Two of them.

Oh, glory be.

The icing on the cake (to use a very very loose metaphor) is that the next stile I need (and I've really had enough of these stiles, this is about the tenth and you never know WHAT'S on the other side till you tread in it) is in the corner by the gate.

It's a midden.

No other word will describe it. Impossible to avoid the horsebuns and cowclaps and just tread in good old mud. It's all mixed up together in some sort of primordial soup. You could call it fecund, seething with life forms. I could tell you what I called it, out loud, in the middle of a field, with two horses listening, but the post would get pulled.

The nearest horse has decided to make my day and come over to have a butcher's.

I stagger across 10 metres of assorted reeking liquids and near-liquids and over the stile. There is no photo of the assorted reeking etc cos I was too busy not slipping in it which would have ruined my day if I had.

Worth it though. Ahead of me is Trencrom HIll. I'm on moorland: dead heather, bracken, short sheep-mowed turf, behind me a stupendous view of the Hayle Estuary, above me rocks.

It's heavenly. I ignore the fact that the map tells me to go round the hill rather than climbing to the top of it, it's not possible to have such a hill in front of you and not climb it. Trencrom HIll was first a stone age and then an iron age fort. Here's the detail.

Standing on top of it, I can see the sea on the south Cornwall coast in one direction and the sea on the north Cornwall coast and St Michael's Mount in the other direction. This makes me very happy.

St Michael's Mount is straight out of an Arthurian legend, all pinnacles and ists. I sit down for five minutes to drink it in, then choose a path to make my descent on the north side.

Some path this turns out to be. It's the sort of path I wouldn't climb up, because I wouldn't be able to get down it again. However as I climbed up the other side of the hill, I didn't know this. I descend very very slowly at times sitting on one rock and swinging my feet down to the one below. At the bottom I heave a sigh of relief. I've now been walking nearly four hours, have had nothing to drink and nothing to eat and there is nowhere to get them. The total length of St Michael's way is 17 miles. I'm not up to that yet, but I've come half way. So I turn along the road and stomp a couple of miles till I get to the bus stop to catch a bus back to St Ives.

Tomorrow, I've got an absolute treat for us.

Member Comments About This Blog Post:
CATNCAG 8/16/2013 12:04PM

    Wow, thanks for all the details, info, pictures & links! It's almost as if I'm there with u! I would love to go on 1 of your journey's with u! The only problem is I doubt that I could keep up... Thanks so much for your blogs! They & U are awesome! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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KAYYAK1 3/24/2013 3:59PM

  This is your absolute best blog. Fantastic!

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MICHERU 2/21/2013 8:49PM

    I agree with everyone in that I love the pictures!

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DEEEBEE 2/19/2013 11:53PM

    Reading your blogs makes me want to go to St. ives and Cornwall and see St. Michaels Mount. So interesting! Many thanks!

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LINDERVEE 2/13/2013 7:09PM

    Thank you for sharing your breathtaking journey with us. :)


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TEEBEE44 2/2/2013 10:22PM

    Love the pics!

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IRISHGIRL3 1/17/2013 8:10PM

    Beautiful pictures!

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SERASARA 1/12/2013 8:57PM

  emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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NLYR20 1/11/2013 1:01PM


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CINDYBEL 1/8/2013 10:00AM

    Beautiful. I love reading about your adventures. emoticon

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JACEBEL 1/3/2013 11:59AM

    looks like an awesome adventure

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    Great walk :)

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BKLYNDIVA 1/3/2013 2:10AM

    great pics!

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SHIELDAC 12/29/2012 6:51AM

    loved this

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KHALIA2 12/24/2012 11:49PM

  Simply Beautiful!

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JIBBIE49 12/24/2012 3:10AM

    Great to see your blog featured in the Spark Mail.

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LOUISE3518 12/23/2012 10:36PM

  I cAn't believe you did all that walking with that ankle sprain.

You are my favorite cup of tea..... haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
Mud mix...and so it goes.... and thankful you didn't slip. How in the world did you walk and not hurt????

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VRCATON 12/23/2012 9:06PM

    Absolutely lovely blog!!

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ARUSHING2 12/23/2012 2:56AM

  Beautiful blog regardless of your unfortunate fate or the grey weather.

Take care of yourself as best you can.

Happy Holidays for you and yours.

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MAIDAMONTREAL 12/22/2012 7:36PM

    Sounds like a wonderful hike but difficult too. I sprained my ankle on my fourth day of my trip to Newfoundland. I was crossing a street in St John's and stepped into a pothole and tripped and sprained my ankle. I was supposed to be hiking in Gros Morne and did not know what I would do. I also scraped under my knee badly. To make a long story short I iced and rested my ankle as much as possible. Each day I did short walks and then longer walks. I had to cancel my hike up Gros Morne and also my trip to the museum. When the scrape got infected I had to sit in a hospital all alone for an hour until the doctor returned from dinner and then dressed the wound. In a nutshell I did what I could with the ankle so that I could still enjoy the rest of my trip and not have to miss out on too much.

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JERICHO1991 12/21/2012 12:30PM

    Keep sending those good pics. Lots of great hiking!

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REGSHAR 12/21/2012 10:28AM

    m emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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BANDMOM2012 12/21/2012 9:46AM

    Loved this!

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INGMARIE 12/21/2012 7:32AM

    Lovely pics. thanks for taking me along on this trip.
Loved it. emoticon
Hope the ankle is better.

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FATHINSN 12/21/2012 12:05AM

    Those first two pictures makes me think of pirates and romance :D

Funny about the horses but also make me afraid to get close to one LOL If it's in Disney, you probably just jump onto one of them and gallop in the forest, singing something :D

I love reading what you wrote on your trip, it feels so magical :D And those pictures are gorgeous!

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LIBBYL1 12/20/2012 11:15PM

  love the pics!

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MKRETIRED 12/20/2012 7:40PM

  It sounds like a wonderful trip - sans the sprained ankle.

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FARFROMASAINT 12/20/2012 7:09PM


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AJB121299 12/20/2012 7:06PM


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MA_KING69 12/20/2012 5:28PM

    fantastic journey thank you for sharing

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NYAHCLARE 12/20/2012 1:51PM

  Loved this blog. Complete picture of a great journey. Thanks for sharing

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LACIEKAY 12/20/2012 1:21PM


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LJOYCE55 12/20/2012 1:00PM

  You walked this on a sprained ankle? Whew, makes me realize what a slug I am. Thank you for sharing.

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GALINAZ 12/20/2012 12:03PM

    I couldn't help but thing of the children's poem "As I was walking to St. Ives...."

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MYBABYGIRLS 12/20/2012 10:14AM

    thanks for sharing! Love the pictures!

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BUSMOM27 12/20/2012 9:53AM

    nice pictures emoticon

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MANDYLOVE_76 12/20/2012 9:39AM


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TIPPY211 12/20/2012 9:37AM

    emoticon emoticon

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WILSONWR 12/20/2012 9:17AM

    You are so fortunate to be able to see so many great places realatively near to you! Thanks for sharing!

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PENOWOK 12/20/2012 9:01AM

    You have so much amazing history!! The formations and man-made creations are fabulous!! You are a terrific tour guide to what the average traveler will never see!

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ASHPATCH11 12/20/2012 8:54AM

    nice pics

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ILOVEJIM851991 12/20/2012 8:43AM

    Very nice pictures I usually call what you walk in as s?/t. Have a great time and emoticon emoticon

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LEANMEAN2 12/20/2012 6:49AM

    Another winning blog/walk! I love them.

I can't wait until tomorrow.

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SWEETNEEY 12/20/2012 6:33AM

    beautiful emoticon

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TDEMAIO2 12/20/2012 6:14AM

    emoticon ! your are a treat and sharing your vacation with us is emoticon

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DIXIECAP79 12/20/2012 6:06AM


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WEARINGTHIN 12/20/2012 5:52AM

    Loved reading the slang, but what I understood was the beauty of the walk. Would caution you about walking through a sprain. Wonder how it did the following day. Glenn

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1DRWOMAN 12/20/2012 5:47AM

    How's you ankle ya crazy english woman?! You sound like hurts...but I can deal with it...ummm,,,,your Physio will not be impressed! I speak from experience! Lol beautiful walk!

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AMANDACOETZER 12/20/2012 4:55AM

    Beautiful pics!!

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DURANGOREDDOG 12/20/2012 3:50AM


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