Sunday, 11 October 2009
The Jewel in the Crown
We're now back from holiday and there's nothing like going away on holiday to really appreciate Home.
Don't get me wrong - we had a great time. The cottage was lovely, and had a very good range cooker that Himself fell in love with, and made great use of (so we were all happy) and a back yard for Mollie so she was happy. My mum came for half the week, various friends dropped in, we had cousins for supper, and a very good pub within a few minutes walk. Perfick, as Pa Larkin would say.
The weather could have been better, but there was one day that really stood out for me. Our cousins had told me about a Bronze Age settlement called Carn Euny – from there you can walk over to Chapel Carn Brea, one of the highest spots in Cornwall. I did this walk on the one really good day we had where the sky was dark blue and I could see for miles.
Himself looked at the map and said “you just go up to Carn Euny and go left,” as if I was in the middle of a town.
I grunted, he said he'd meet me at Chapel car park, and we both departed in opposite directions, Mollie scampering behind me. Well, suffice it to say that as I'd figured, it wasn't as simple as Just Turning Left. I found Carn Euny and that was an incredible sight – but from then on it got tricky. I looked at the map but the green lines indicating Public Footpath didn't bear any resemblance to the paths in front of me. So I retraced my steps and started again.
Then I found another map which seemed to indicate I was going in roughly the right direction, so I continued. After I'd been walking for about 40 minutes (Himself had reckoned the entire walk would be 30 mins), my phone rang. “Where are you?” he said in his I'm-not-worried-just-enquiring-voice.
“I've no idea,” I said. “I figure if I don't find you I'll retrace my steps.”
Silence. “Where's the sun?”
“On my left.”
Another pause. “You should be walking into it, Pop.”
We left it that I'd continue for another ten minutes and if I was still lost then, I'd go back.
But then I came to the top of the hill and the path curved into the sun. I took a deep breath and there was Cornwall laid out before me in all her glory. Scilly glimmered in the distance, Long Ships lighthouse stood proudly in the sea before me, a small airplane took off from Lands End runway, and I took a deep breath, breathing in that exhilarating air, and realised how lucky I was to be there, at that time, with the wind whipping my hair, the sun beating down on me – and Mollie wondering if I was whooping because I'd really flipped.
Looking round, there was such a dizzying sense of height and depth and space. And here, in an area that hasn't been overly farmed, and apart from the monstrosity that is Lands End, hasn't been mucked around by tourism, it's possible to see a glimpse of the real, rough Cornwall. The land as it was in the Bronze Age. An earthy, raw feeling that is simply very, very ancient and basic and simple.
And that glimpse – that for me was the real jewel in my holiday crown.