Thursday, August 17, 2017

Walking the South West Coastal Path - Day 2 - St. Ives to Zennor

Day 2 of our adventure started off overcast but given we had a ten-mile walk in front of us, we didn't mind too much. Just as long as it didn't rain, the mild temperature and lack of sun made for perfect walking conditions.

We retraced our route of the previous evening back into the center of St. Ives, past Porthminster Beach, and through the narrow streets of the old town. 

Too early for the beach-goers!

The residential streets were particularly narrow, barely enough room for one car never mind two.
Great for walkers though.

Cafes, galleries, and gift shops lined the winding streets in the commercial part of town. And bakeries. Lots and lots of bakeries. Most claiming to make the best Cornish Pasties. One even had an official claim to fame. Who knew there was even such a championship?

We'd been warned that there would be few places to get refreshments on our route so it seemed to make sense to stock up on a pasty or two. When I was a kid, a pasty was beef and potato. Nowadays it seems you can put anything in a pasty. There were pasties with shellfish, gourmet cheeses, vegetables or pulses and even a Full English Breakfast Pasty - sausage, bacon, beans and scrambled egg!

Just in case you thought I was joking!
As we headed out of town we passed the Tate St. Ives, one of only four Tate Galleries in the world. St. Ives' location and mild climate have made it a favorite with artists since the 1800's and in 1993 the gallery was opened to exhibit work by artists with links to the local area.

At this point the walk was easy, a pleasant stroll along the seafront past another of St. Ives' beaches -Porthmeor Beach.  

Porthmeor Beach 
Once we got around the headland the scenery suddenly became rugged, but the path was still relatively flat. In less than half an hour St. Ives looked a long way away.   

the meandering path was flat at this point

but it didn't stay that way for long

but the uphill climbs were worth it for the views

An hour in and we felt like we were in the middle of nowhere. It was rather reassuring at times to look back and see other hikers behind us on the trail. We obviously weren't lost!

We've come a long way but there's still a long way to go.

Though mostly the path was so clearly visible up ahead that you had plenty of warning of the next incline.

At times the dirt path would give way to a stone bridge or steps or in this case both:

It's not a walk I'd recommend for those who don't like heights. In places, the path hugs the cliff edge with only a narrow stretch of vegetation between it and a steep drop down to the rocks. 

Wherever you look the views are fabulous.  

Even if at times you could see just how far you still had to walk:

I don't see any town!  Maybe around that next huge headland?

Yay! That is Zennor Head (in the foreground)

Four hours and several miles after we left St. Ives we finally spotted Zennor Head, the point where we needed to leave the South West Coastal Path and head toward the village of Zennor. But appearances can be deceptive and it took almost another two hours before we actually arrived at the fork in the path and another half a mile walk to the village itself.

Imagine our delight when we found a pub at the end of the path!  We definitely deserved a drink but having made the decision to return to the Tinners' Arms for dinner after we'd checked in to our overnight accommodation, I settled for a pot of tea. It tasted so good!

Zennor is a small but pretty village with a population of about 200 people. In the past, mining, quarrying, fishing, and farming were the main sources of employment, but nowadays there are only a few farms remaining and the village is dependent on tourism.  

Fun-fact:  From 1915-1917 D.H. Lawrence lived in the village while he was writing Women in Love, staying first at the Tinners' Arms and then renting a house in the village. Eventually, he was asked to leave by the police because the villagers thought he was a German spy! This experience was said to play a huge influence in his future work. 

Both the pub and the village church, St. Senara, date back to the 12th century. 

There is not a lot of accommodation in Zennor itself, so our walking for the day was not quite over but, fortified by refreshments, the one-mile walk to Boswednack Manor was a pleasant stroll under the watchful eye of the local cows.  

Of course, it meant we also had to walk back into the village for dinner, but at least we didn't have to carry our backpacks!

All in all, it was a satisfying day - lots of exercise, wonderful views and a pleasant sense of achievement.

When Mel is not out exploring she writes contemporary fiction with a twist of mystery and suspense. Her latest novel Trust No One is now available from Amazon. 

Monday, August 14, 2017

Walking the South West Coastal Path - Day 1 - St. Ives, Cornwall, UK

Day one of the trip was not supposed to include much walking. It was a day for getting to St Ives, the starting point of our walk, and saving our energy for the days ahead.  But St. Ives is a popular tourist destination and I'd had problems finding accommodation so we'd booked into the Green Apple Bed & Breakfast in Carbis Bay, two miles from the center of St Ives.

We arrived early evening on a mild summer's evening. Given sunset was not until after nine-thirty and we knew we wouldn't have too much time the following morning to look around we decided to make the most of the light and stroll into town. It turned out to be a good decision, as along the way we got a good view of the layout of the town and the picturesque harbor.

The harbor has a small beach which is sheltered by the town on one side and Smeatons Pier on the other. There has been a lighthouse on the pier since 1831 but the current lighthouse was built in 1890 after the pier was lengthened. There is also a tiny medieval chapel, St. Leonards, where fishermen used to pray before going out to sea.

On a hill behind the harbor is the St. Ives Coastwatch Station. It was operated by the Coastguard until the early 1990's when their services were withdrawn from stations around the country. Following the drowning of two fishermen within sight of a then unattended local station, a charity organization, the National Coastwatch Institution was formed in 1994 to restore the coastal watch.  

Running alongside the harbor is a street of shops, galleries, cafes and pubs, including The Lifeboat Inn where we dined on delicious scampi and chips. 

After dinner, we took a walk along the harbor beach where we had a great view back to the other side of town. And a reminder of how far back we had to walk to our B&B which was well off to the left of the green hill in the picture below!

My first impressions of St. Ives was that it was a charming seaside resort and I was a little sorry that we wouldn't be able to explore all it had to offer. Definitely worth a visit.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Sixty at Sixty - Walking the South West Coastal Path

Two years ago some friends from Cornwall came to stay. It had been many years since we'd last seen them and, eventually, the conversation turned to our latest hobbies and interests. When they learned how much I liked to walk, they suggested I should visit Cornwall and walk the Cornish Coastal Path. It sounded wonderful, the chance to partake in my favorite exercise amidst magnificent scenery and within sight of the ocean. And so the trip became another addition to my ever-expanding bucket list.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Sixty at Sixty - A Challenge

I recently celebrated my sixtieth birthday, an event which has me both wondering where the years have gone, given I still feel much like I did in my late twenties, and excited about what this next decade will bring.

I've always been a restless kind of person, eager to explore, who much prefers to be on the go than sitting still (except when I'm reading or writing!), and loves to learn. Maybe it's why I write fiction, it both fuels my desire to delve into subjects I may never otherwise have considered (forensics, criminal law) and allows me to examine alternative lives through my characters. It's also reflected in my love for travel and walking and a constant sense of wanting to challenge myself to try new activities.

So, to celebrate this big birthday I decided to create an appropriate challenge. I'm calling it Sixty at Sixty, the goal being to complete sixty different activities, big and small, before my next birthday. Hopefully, most will be activities I've never done before, but some could be revisiting those that have fallen by the wayside over the years. Some will deserve a blog post of their own, others probably just a mention but I intend to keep track of my progress on this blog.

I've already got several ideas for places I want to visit and activities I'd like to try, but I'm always open to new ideas, so if you've got any suggestions, please let me know.

Mel Parish writes contemporary fiction with a twist of mystery and suspense. Her latest novel Trust No One is now available from Amazon. 

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Walking in Westchester County - Lasdon Park, Arboretum and Veterans Memorial

A trip to Lasdon Park over Memorial Day weekend turned out to be a timely visit. The park, once a family country retreat, has woodland, meadow and formal gardens which are open to the public all year round, but it also contains four memorials and a museum dedicated to the Westchester County servicemen and servicewomen.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Walking in the City - The New York Botanical Gardens in May

After my trip to the New York Botanical Gardens in November I was determined to return at frequent intervals to enjoy the changing vistas provided by the seasonal plantings. A Christmas gift of an annual membership reinforced this determination, but somehow it's taken me until this week to make a return visit. I wish I hadn't put it off so long. I'd missed the daffodils and the cherry blossom, and the lilac was fading fast.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

NEW RELEASE - Trust No One

I'm delighted to announce the official release of my latest novel Trust No One.

Described as "a taut, suspense thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat." Trust No One is now available in both print and ebook format from Amazon. It is also available to subscribers of Kindle Unlimited.  

Click here to purchase