Happy New Year!
I just got home from a week away in Cornwall. After the busyness of Christmas, I wanted to take some time away for myself to reflect on the year that’s passed and pray over the year ahead.
I stayed in a shepherd’s hut (don’t ask what happened to the shepherd!) near to Bodmin. It was very private with a little plot of land overlooking a large field. It was very cosy inside with a little table, kitchen, fire and the comfiest bed to sink into. The toilet and shower were both outside in a little wooden shed, and the power came exclusively from solar power. There were no plug sockets, so I had to embrace my naturally curly hair, and with no heating I had to become quite efficient at starting fires!
The first evening that I arrived was a cosy night with the fire crackling. My mum bought me a beautiful prayer journal as a Christmas present, with daily verses and prompts to reflect and meditate on, so I spent the evening reading and writing. When I stepped outside, I was met with a beautiful starlit sky. I always forget just how clear and magical the night sky is without any light pollution, and I sat on the steps with a snuggly blanket and watched for shooting stars.
On my first day, I headed to Golitha falls. It was a lovely woodland walk with a beautiful flowing river with many waterfalls. Me being me, I went off the footpath and ended up in some sticky situations on a rather steep bank! But I enjoyed navigating the gnarly tree roots and many, many fallen trunks, and I found some lovely viewpoints to really appreciate the river. I was struck by how clear the water was, Cornwall always feels like a different country entirely. In the afternoon it was set to rain, and I made it back to my car just in time and headed to Plymouth to the National Marine Aquarium. I’ve always found aquariums enchanting, I have a real fascination and deep love for the ocean.
The next day I went to Par beach, to walk the coastal path to Peel Cove and back. It was a very windy and wet day, but the views were still breath-taking, and I made friends with a rather inquisitive robin along the way. I tried to befriend a flock of sheep, but sadly they weren’t interested in my friendship, apparently eating grass is more entertaining than me. The rain came down very hard at one point, but I just had to laugh and keep going, even if I did slip in the mud a few times! On the way home I stopped for some essentials (marshmallows and firelighters) and spent the evening toasting them on the fire and listening to music.
Thursday I headed to Tintagel to visit the castle. I almost didn’t go out because I was feeling a bit achy from the walking, but it ended up being my favourite day of the week. The castle in simply spectacular, and I encourage you to visit if you’re ever in the area. It’s completely my cup of tea, with winding paths, stairs built into the cliffs, lots of history to learn about, captivating views of rugged cliffs and crashing waves, and a large bridge to get onto the island. I was truly in my element, and I spent a great deal of time just staring in awe at the sights around me.
There were steep steps leading down to the beach, which I imagine is simply beautiful in warmer weather, but in December it was being battered by waves much taller than me. But that didn’t stop me and a few others from venturing down to the sand. At one point I had the beach to myself, and I played “catch me if you can” with the giant waves. My inner child was definitely out in that moment, as I ran back and forth and laughed to myself when the waves finally caught me and soaked through my ‘waterproof’ walking boots! But it was so joyous, and I stayed for as long as I could before finally climbing back up to see the rest of the castle.
Once I had explored all that the castle had to offer, I climbed the cliffs to walk the coastal path until sunset. I was filled with so much joy at this point, especially when I found an amazing viewpoint to watch the sunset. I stood, sat, danced and jumped amongst the rocky clifftop, drinking in the gorgeous golden sky and the sound of giant waves. It was so windy that in some areas the wind was blowing water up the cliffs and creating mini rainfalls, which obviously I had to run through. I really had to pull myself away because it was starting to get dark, but I really could have kept walking for hours.
I found a nice pub in Tintagel for dinner, and I got chatting to three awesome strangers who were also visiting. We shared stories of travels ad life, and laughed a great deal. We raised a glass to each other and I took a photo to remember their smiling faces and the joy we shared for those few hours. It was the perfect end to one of the best days.
The next day I visited The Eden Project, where I immersed myself in the rainforest. I was glad that I’d dressed light because the humidity was at 99% and it got very warm! I loved seeing all the different plants and creatures from other countries. I forgot where I was for a while because it really felt like the rainforest. I went to the viewing platform near the top of the dome, which had amazing views but wobbled a lot! It’s not for anyone who has a fear of heights! It’s truly amazing what they have achieved there and the work they’re doing, I came away feeling inspired and full of gratitude for the wonders of our planet.
Next I went to the south coast again to walk more of the coastal path. I went a bit further west this time. Because it had rained a bit in the morning, it was very quiet. I didn’t see a single person for a few miles! I usually listen to music while I’m walking, but that day I just enjoyed the sounds of the waves and the birds. It felt so relaxing and serene. One thing Iove about the coastal paths in Cornwall, is the joy of the unexpected. There always seems to be little bridges and hidden rivers. You don’t know what you’re going to see around the next corner, and I love that. I came across a small beach and sat watching the waves for a while. A couple of seals were swimming and I managed to get a video of them before heading back.
It was such a lovely week of exploring and adventuring. I think it’s safe to say that after this visit and my previous visit in April 2022, I’ve fallen in love with Cornwall. I’ll be back again very soon, no doubt!