Advertisement -- Learn more about ads on this site.

    CHICCHANTAL   29,102
25,000-29,999 SparkPoints

From the bite to the kick

Voted Popular Blog Post: View All Popular Posts

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:
ROCKYCPA 12/20/2012 2:13AM

    As usual another great blog!

Report Inappropriate Comment
BLUEJEAN99 12/20/2012 1:54AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
LISAN0415 12/20/2012 1:22AM

    This is a great Blog! Thanks for sharing!

I hope your ankle feels all better!

Report Inappropriate Comment
LINDAM.1 12/20/2012 12:08AM

  Wonderful scenery

Report Inappropriate Comment
NIKKIJ55 12/19/2012 11:35PM

    Love the pictures. Glad your ankle didn't hold you back!

Report Inappropriate Comment
ONLYTEMPORARY 12/19/2012 11:27PM


Report Inappropriate Comment
JUNETTA2002 12/19/2012 11:05PM

    You have the best adventures. I envy you having such cool places to walk.

Report Inappropriate Comment
JAMER123 12/19/2012 9:59PM

    Great trek!! Love the story and pictures to go with it!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
LTMURPHY7 12/19/2012 9:58PM


fabulous walk

Report Inappropriate Comment
JUNEAU2010 12/19/2012 9:49PM

    You keep posting pictures and adventures like this and I'll have to come visit! (LOL!) But I'd have to start doing a whole lot more walking in order to keep up!
I LOVE your blogs and your pictures!

Report Inappropriate Comment
AMARILYNH 12/19/2012 8:50PM

    I got to your blog by way of a 'featured member blog' paragraph in one of the SP emails and as soon as I read the 'teaser' I thought to myself (they don't say in the email who the member is) this MUST be ChicChantal - it just sounds like her! And sure enough when I clicked on it, there you were.

As always I loved your journey (except the bog - hope you were wearing waterproof boots?) and want to go there myself! Have a lovely holiday!! emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
GOOSIEMOON 12/19/2012 7:56PM


Report Inappropriate Comment
SUSANK16 12/19/2012 7:40PM

  Loved it

Report Inappropriate Comment
DANAPRIME 12/19/2012 7:34PM


Report Inappropriate Comment
SUSIEMT 12/19/2012 6:31PM

    You transported me once again! Thank you.

Report Inappropriate Comment
MAMAHOYT 12/19/2012 6:29PM

    Love the paths you walk. I hope to someday visit over there.

Report Inappropriate Comment
MITCHDY 12/19/2012 6:17PM

    Great blog post.. so fun to read and also gorgeous pictures that you share. Thanks! Also, really impressive that you didn't let the sprained ankle hold you back.

Report Inappropriate Comment
JOANNHUNT 12/19/2012 6:06PM

    Pictures and scenery. So so worth the trek to see. YES emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
MJ7DM33 12/19/2012 6:00PM

  emoticon Take care of your ankle!

Report Inappropriate Comment
PCASEY7 12/19/2012 5:45PM

    You're a wonder woman, over 10 miles on a bum ankle! Love reading your daily blogs and seeing the wonderful English countryside. Keep em coming!

Report Inappropriate Comment
ALIDOSHA 12/19/2012 5:39PM

    emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
BARBARASDIET 12/19/2012 5:15PM


Report Inappropriate Comment
NEWCHINELO 12/19/2012 4:35PM


Report Inappropriate Comment
MADAMES 12/19/2012 4:20PM

    Thank you for taking us along, horses, bogs and everything else!

Report Inappropriate Comment
LYNCHD05 12/19/2012 4:07PM

    It would be interesting if you told us how many miles you are actually walking.
Once again thanks for taking me along!

Report Inappropriate Comment
HEARTS116 12/19/2012 3:36PM


Report Inappropriate Comment
JAYSHRI2 12/19/2012 3:34PM

  I have been readings all your posts with great interest. Beautiful. Please keep writing.

Report Inappropriate Comment
LIFETIMER54 12/19/2012 2:58PM

  POSITIVELY SPECTACULAR!!!! emoticon emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
ITSALWAYSABTME 12/19/2012 2:37PM

    for some reason your blogs and pictures make me feel like "home" (I am SEVERAL generations from England and if my genealogy research is correct , I can trace as far back as 1475 in Essex and Cambridgeshire on one line. and another line to Tytherton Manor Wiltshire. I would love to visit the places you have. Thank You for sharing

Report Inappropriate Comment
PATTISTAMPS 12/19/2012 2:06PM

    I clicked on your blog because I saw a friend had commented - and loved it. I can't wait for tomorrow's treat! You have a lovely way of writing.

Report Inappropriate Comment
AUSSIEJAN2 12/19/2012 1:59PM

    Great Travelogue! My Great grandma was from Cornwall so I am loving seeing the countryside. Also love hearing the good old English slang and terms I am familiar with, being from Australia.
You are a warrior woman to walk on a sprain. I hope you didn't do any damage. Another thing you don't need on holiday is rain! It poured on my honeymoon :D
I have walked the Bush in Western Australia where old gold mine shafts abound. Scary!
I would love to hike in that country, but I am sure I couldn't keep up with you. About a half mile or a kilometer is about all I could do. Great photos too. Athurian indeed! I have been reading The Once and Future King, and This is the perfect setting.Keep it coming!

Report Inappropriate Comment
JUSGETTENBY42 12/19/2012 1:54PM


Report Inappropriate Comment
MARITIMER3 12/19/2012 1:54PM

    Love your blogs and have enjoyed many wonderful vacations in Britain, so am adding you as a friend. All the best,

Report Inappropriate Comment
DMSGLASS 12/19/2012 1:15PM


Report Inappropriate Comment
PATRICIAANN46 12/19/2012 12:38PM

  How wonderful to see and experience all you do on your hikes and lose weight as a bonus. emoticon again for sharing.

Report Inappropriate Comment
4KWALK 12/19/2012 12:16PM

    Words fail to express how much I do enjoy reading your blogs. I am still looking forward to that travelogue you should write. How brave you are to be hiking alone but I do find enjoyment in hiking in the woods alone (not totally alone - I have 3 dogs with me) but with no other humans. I laughed aloud when I thought of those horses coming to investigate you. I would dearly love to walk in countryside like you show with your photos but I would probably have to chase my dogs from the horses or vice versa. Oh well I'll enjoy your virtual hikes in the English countryside and continue hiking through the forests here in Nova Scotia.
Thanks again.

Report Inappropriate Comment
CLAYARTIST 12/19/2012 12:01PM

  emoticon for sharing your emoticon hike...I emoticon eading them emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
LINDAKAY228 12/19/2012 11:46AM

    Oh this is so beautiful! Glad your sprained ankle held up under the exercise. I love going on your vacation with you!

Report Inappropriate Comment
IAMWINNING 12/19/2012 11:26AM

    How utterly DELIGHTFUL! A treat tomorrow? Wow! I cannot imagine anything more wonderful than this!

I'm glad the horses weren't any more insistent than they were. : ) I'll bet you have a bit of something for them the next time. And did the hedge give your wooly hat back? : )

Thank you very much for your wondrous blogs.

Report Inappropriate Comment
KNYAGENYA 12/19/2012 10:59AM

    Very nice.

Report Inappropriate Comment
REGILIEH 12/19/2012 10:59AM

    Today was a treat! I'll look forward to tomorrow for another treat! emoticon

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
HLOCHRIDGE 12/19/2012 10:59AM

    I always love your blogs and your pictures!

Report Inappropriate Comment
RBALF1 12/19/2012 10:59AM

    I am loving your journey. It's exactly the kind of holiday I would love to take. Someday, perhaps.

Report Inappropriate Comment
SHOAPIE 12/19/2012 10:59AM


Report Inappropriate Comment
NOTSOFLUFFYDAD 12/19/2012 10:58AM

    I am going to visualize these pics during my workout today

Report Inappropriate Comment
BONIFIANT 12/19/2012 10:51AM

    Thanks for posting the links that include historical notes. emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
IAMAGEMLOVER 12/19/2012 10:45AM

    I love being on holiday sitting on my butt enjoying the scenery. emoticon for sharing with me.

Report Inappropriate Comment
ANNANN63 12/19/2012 10:38AM

    Thank you so much for sharing your holiday with us.

Report Inappropriate Comment
THOMS1 12/19/2012 10:23AM

    Thanks again for another great day! emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
MOMMY445 12/19/2012 10:15AM

    such a great blog with fabulous pictures! have a terrific day!

Report Inappropriate Comment

Add Your Comment to the Blog Post

Log in to post a comment.
Member Comments Page (170 total):  < Previous 1 2 3 4 Next >

Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.

Other Entries by CHICCHANTAL