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    CHICCHANTAL   29,033
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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:
KANDOLAKER 12/19/2012 9:58AM

    emoticon and this is emoticon

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MEOWMEOWGIRL 12/19/2012 9:50AM

    Love it!

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GIRLINMOTION 12/19/2012 9:44AM

    I hope your holiday will keep you entertained as you are for us.

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SIMPLYABUNDANT 12/19/2012 9:42AM

    Amazing walk! Exercise and discovery all rolled into one!

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DDHEART 12/19/2012 9:38AM

    OMG! What a place! Thank you again for a great tour!

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DR1939 12/19/2012 9:36AM

    We walked across a field full of steers in Wales. They followed us in a large group. More than a little scary.

Beautiful pictures as usual.

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OFGREENGABLES 12/19/2012 9:34AM

    I love your blog walks! This is one of the best

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THEIS58 12/19/2012 9:20AM


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NILLAPEPSI 12/19/2012 9:08AM

    Always emoticon your blogs & photos. So glad you avoided "the beastly beasts."

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MIMIDOT 12/19/2012 9:00AM

    I really enjoyed your blog. Learned a lot about your country. Thank you for sharing.

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SIZE8NOTSOMUCH 12/19/2012 8:50AM

    I LOVE your blogs, keep it coming. You should go on Holiday EVERY day, just to keep us amused!!!

The Very Best,

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NEPTUNE1939 12/19/2012 8:47AM

    Great tour!

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LRSILVER 12/19/2012 8:37AM

    Great walk, beautiful pictures. Thanks for sharing.

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IMAGINE46 12/19/2012 8:33AM

  Being American I didn't understand all of your lexicon, but I have quite an imagination. I'm very impressed you took a four hour walk with a sprained ankle! Can't wait for your next blog.

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LENIASTY 12/19/2012 8:30AM

    Great walk - thanks for posting! and wonderful pics! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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EJMCCLOSKEY 12/19/2012 8:09AM

  What an adventure! emoticon

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DJSHIP46 12/19/2012 8:04AM

    Thanks for the tour!

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JANEMARIE77 12/19/2012 7:59AM

    another wonderful fun walk thanks

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SUNSET09 12/19/2012 7:57AM

  Good for you in not using your injury not to exercise. It's as if you walked it again while blogging! Awesome pics and thought provoking! Thanx so much for taking the time out and sharing! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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CASEYSAUER 12/19/2012 7:38AM

    Thanks for sharing your walk and pictures. They were lovely! I was just in England this past Novemember. I loved it!

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CFMOSS 12/19/2012 7:38AM

    A good part of health includes smiles - well, your photographs on your walks, your holidays, your outings bring smiles to me. Thank you.

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DMEYER4 12/19/2012 7:30AM

  beautiful pictures Thank you

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GARDENCHRIS 12/19/2012 7:24AM

    tell me you are going to the castle! I can't wait!

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BLACK741 12/19/2012 6:33AM

    thanks so much for sharing your countryside!

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SENIMMO 12/19/2012 6:23AM

    Amazing. You really are something!

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ANGELCOWBOY1 12/19/2012 6:11AM

    What an amazing journey ~ thank you for inviting us along!

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TRYINGHARD54 12/19/2012 5:43AM

    emoticon emoticon

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STEVIEBEE569 12/19/2012 5:35AM

    Love the pictures! Thanks for sharing!

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NCSUE0514 12/19/2012 5:10AM

    what a lovely walk - thanks for taking us with you!

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XTINA46 12/19/2012 4:45AM

    It's 4:38 am and I am reading your blog in bed (my cat woke me up when he decided to show how much he loves me by trying to sleep on my face) and laughing out loud and admiring and just loving every word of The World According to Chantal!

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TDWANDD2MYK9 12/19/2012 4:35AM

    Thank God you only sprained your ankle and you're not bloging on your phone from the bottom of a mine shaft! That was hilarious. I look forward to your next blog. Enjoy your day. emoticon emoticon

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OLIVIANIGHT 12/19/2012 4:26AM

    Best signpost ever! I love all the photos, it's almost like I'm there myself.

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ROSE284 12/19/2012 4:13AM

    This post and your photos remind me how badly I want to get to Cornwall this year.

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KAREN91 12/19/2012 12:07AM

    Great blog and pictures! Thanks for taking us along on your vacation! Take good care of your ankle. emoticon emoticon

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EZRIN101 12/18/2012 11:37PM

    Wow that view was amazing and the moor is just beautiful! thanks for the pics :)

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COCK-ROBIN 12/18/2012 10:14PM

    What can I say,

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COCK-ROBIN 12/18/2012 10:14PM

    What can I say,

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MICKEYH 12/18/2012 9:46PM

    I am so amazed that after you've got a sprain an ankle and still can walk on the hilly path for 4 hr?? Your new boots must be magical boots, it's takes you where ever you want to go. (^ ^)
Thanks for the beautiful blog and pictures. As usual I enjoyed your blog. Please,Take good care of your ankle.

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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KIPPER15 12/18/2012 9:08PM

    emoticon emoticon It was a lovely walk once again. I hope the ankle does ok.

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LINDAK25 12/18/2012 7:35PM

    What an incredible place! The views are spectacular! Okay, I would not have been thrilled by the horses or the mucky field. Hope your ankle is feeling all right after all of that, especially the descent from Trencrom Hill.

I love the pictures. The picture of the signpost says it all! Thanks for taking me with you.

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DALID414 12/18/2012 7:29PM

    I love the photo of your wooly! I wouldn't have believed you without the photo emoticon

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KARENLEIGH32 12/18/2012 7:27PM

    I so enjoyed today's walk, felt like I was right there with you. You describe everything to a fault, can't wait til tomorrow!

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JESSICABOOTY 12/18/2012 7:06PM

    What a treat it is to follow you around. Do you plan on walking every square meter in Great Britain? If so, make sure you ask for gobs of walking socks for your adventures.
emoticon emoticon

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SJKENT1 12/18/2012 6:57PM

    I love the history lessons and pictures. Now I want to visit Cornwall.

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LTMURPHY7 12/18/2012 6:38PM


what a fantastic walk

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DOVESEYES 12/18/2012 6:03PM


I've decided to walk in my office on the spot while I read so I get my exercise too.

makes it hard to read though... emoticon emoticon

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KAYELENE 12/18/2012 5:39PM

    Great blog, I love your pictures.

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SLIMLEAF 12/18/2012 5:35PM

    Well done Chantal - that's quite a walk on a dodgy ankle!

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RAINBOWMF 12/18/2012 5:28PM

    Luved the walk
thank you


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