A walk is always worth it

A long read, written one blustery day two weeks ago…

I didn’t think I would go out today. Despite being shut inside all day, despite this being my one daily permitted chance to get outside during the lockdown, I didn’t fancy it. It was pelting it down out there. Blowing a hooley. I didn’t fancy getting wet.

Just before dinner the rain stopped. The wind blew the dark blanket of clouds on to the next unsuspecting town and left a large patch of heavenly blue. The sun shone down. I ate my dinner.

As I cleared away the dinner plates and rinsed then stacked them in the dishwasher I surveyed the situation outside once more. Iffy would be the word.

Sod it. I grabbed my coat, its pockets stuffed with hand sanitiser and tissues, had an obligatory pre-walk pee, then made for the door and the big wide world beyond.

It was cold. I definitely should have worn a scarf. I zipped my coat right up under my chin and set off up the hill at a pace that meant business.

But as I ducked under a branch and stomped into the first patch of woodland I felt something inside relax. I smiled up at the trees standing there in their usual spots. Hello old friends. The wind whipped their new leaves up into a frenzy. I glanced down at the twigs scattered about my feet and issued a silent prayer to the trees to wait until I’d passed from underneath before they released the next batch to the wind.

Further along, the path of earth and gravel became soft and squelchy underfoot. I tramped onwards, glad for a decent pair of boots. The robin and blackbird sang high above as I passed. The songthrush played its impressive vocal repertoire then paused when it noticed me standing there in breath-held awe. Listening to this bird’s vocal acrobatics never fails to fill me with delight.

I passed through patches of bluebells amongst the field maples, stopping to say hello to a man and his terrier from a safe 2-metre distance. I remembered my new naturalist app on my phone and opened it up, photographing different leaves here and there to see if I could add any new species to my ‘observations’ collection.

When I reached the Point the restless sea stretched out before me. I turned to face the castle up on the hill and my breath caught at the beauty of the sky on fire, its flames silhouetting the familiar keep.

Crossing to the lookout point to get a better shot, the full force of the wind rushed at me and nearly knocked me off my feet. I managed a few minutes of staring out at the waves in exhilaration before I bowed out, breathless and bedraggled, and turned for home.

I took the moat walk back, hoping the ditch would offer some shelter from the wind and approaching rain. Leaves of different shapes and sizes whirled around in the air, some landing at my feet, others being carried off up over the castle grounds. The moaning of the wind through Half Moon Battery made me quicken my pace a little.

Up on the road leading to the castle I said goodnight to the trees dancing either side of me as I walked down the hill. One last look at the sea, its rows of white-tipped waves rolling in, then I turned away and carried on down the street towards the flat.

There had been a brief spell of rain, a whole lot of wind, and, as with every walk I take around Pendennis Headland, a good dose of magic. A walk is always worth it.

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