Tag Archives: photos

A Panoramic Stitch-Up

Recently, I have been feeling the need to make some panoramic shots of my walks and have been waiting for the time when I can upgrade my iphone for the new one which does super-duper panoramic panning shots.  Well, who am I kidding?  That’s just not going to happen!  So I decided to see what I could do with a couple of apps I already have and started to play around with them.  The results were intriguing and I got carried away with the possibilities.  Here are a few of my initial experiments.  (click on them to enlarge the image)

It is my habit to take more than one photo of the same subject.  Stitching these single images together proved to be an interesting digital version of a Hockney style montage.

buddleia 1

buddleia 1 (stitched from several ‘still-life’ images of same subject)

buddleia 2

buddleia 2

Welsh cave montage

Welsh cave montage

Dartmoor leaves (River Avon, Dartmoor)

Dartmoor leaves (River Avon, Dartmoor)

Pembrokeshire beach pebbles

Pembrokeshire beach pebbles

Closer to Home: Interior Spaces 2 ways

interior 2

interior 1 (grainy black and white film version of ‘interior 2’)

interior 1

interior 2 (taken with camera in landscape mode)

Popping out to my small terrace I shot this 2 ways: Exterior Textures

terrace 1

terrace 1 (taken with camera in landscape mode)

terrace 2

terrace 2 (grainy tint version)

See other ideas for this weeks’ photo challenge: One Shot. Two Ways, here

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Filed under Dpchallenge, my sketchbook pages, Studio Practice, Wordpress Photo Challenge

Weekly Photo Challenge: Fore(shore)shadows

To foreshadow is to portend or indicate a future event.  I am always looking for signs in the landscape that might be messages for me, so I have chosen to focus on some foreshore images for this weeks’ photo challenge.  These shadows are based on the rhythms of time.

ripples left in the sand reflecting the state of the outgoing tide

ripples left in the sand reflecting the state of the outgoing tide – an event in the recent past

The foreshore is the part of the seashore between the high-water mark and the low-water mark.  It gets covered twice a day and is subject to the particular mood of the sea and state of the moon on any particular day.

Sometimes, the beach shows up unusual patterns and here a new moon shape suddenly appears on the beach.

A reverse shadow. This pale patch of sand creating an arc of light on the beach is a strange anomaly.  I have no idea how it was formed, and least of all what it might mean.

This pale patch of sand creating a perfect arc of light on the dry beach is a strange anomaly.  I have no idea how it was formed, and least of all what it might mean.

This shadow is a result of a recent landslip depositing its spoil on the beach.

Soil, silt, sand

Soil, silt, sand

Exposed fragments of rock are a shadow of past geological processed and a demonstration that nature is cyclical.

exposed rock fragments

exposed rock fragments

And our own shadows are fleeting as the beach becomes a recreational play space as we pass through it.

playful shadows

playful shadows

And strange shapes appear when I start to play with photos of blackthorn that grow on the dunes.

layered photographic artwork

layered photographic artwork

Micro-organisms that live in the shallows we can’t even see with the naked eye.

micro-organisms that dwell in the shallows

micro-organisms that dwell in the shallows

Is a darkening sky always the portent of a storm or just the closing of another day?

impending storm

impending storm in evening light?

See other images for the weekly photo challenge: ‘Foreshadow’ here.

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The Adventure Starts Here: Establishing Some Ground Rules

With temperatures nudging 30c and hot enough to melt tarmac, it is high time I set off on my first ‘Pilgrim’ walk.  For my research, I have decided to focus my attention on the St. Michael’s Way – a 12 mile coast to coast route in West Penwith from St Uny Church in Lelant in the north to St Michael’s Mount at Marazion in the south.  I have chosen this path, not only because it is on my doorstep but also, by becoming familiar with it and learning about how a ‘walking with awareness‘ pilgrimage might function, it will form the basis for a point of departure later on.  What might I learn from this first excursion?  What sensory delights await my attention?  Much of the route is familiar to me as I have already walked sections of it from time to time.  My intention is to approach this venture without any preconceived ideas and with an open mind to see what unfolds rather than anticipate an outcome.  However, what should have been a straightforward walk from a to b, in the event it turned out to be a journey of self discovery and was to prove I was woefully ill-equipped for what actually happened.

You can see a map of the route here.

Keen to get going, I gather together a few essential items into a small rucksack to sustain me along the way, patch up my shorts with the material from one of the pockets and hope my new walking shoes will not give me too much trouble, but pack the blister plasters just in case.  It was to prove providential.

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Sunday, 14th July, 2013

In these current heat-wave conditions, I am keen to get as much of the walk done as early in the day as possible, so as soon as the night begins to lose its inky darkness, I jump into the car and set off for my starting point at St Uny Church.   Driving through the early morning stillness and seeing the blood-orange red orb in the sky lifts my spirits.  However, as I approach the north coast, I am plunged into a dense white fog which hugs the coastline.

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Leaving the car by the church, I set off into the cloud of white fog with a feeling of excitement for my new adventure.   What were muddy pathways only a couple of weeks ago have been transformed into dry, dusty tracks.   However, the moisture-laden air clings to my hair and my eye lashes making my eyelids feel surprisingly heavy, and it isn’t long before my clothes are drenched and my legs bathed by the dew from the overhanging verges and running down into my shoes.  I had assumed I would not be needing my mac and waterproof leggings!  It was at this moment that it dawns on me that this journey is going to be all about the lessons I might learn along the way.

Lesson Number One: Never Assume Anything / Always Expect the Unexpected! (that’s two)

The ambient temperature is already quite warm so I know it won’t be long before the sun burns through the fog and I will be dry once more.   I am surprised how bright the colours are in this creamy light: the soft yellow flowers of the evening primrose appear even more primrosey.  It’s a pity, however, that I am denied even a glimpse of the view.  Tantalizingly, I can hear the swooshing of the sea only yards from me as I track along the shoreline.  It sounds so close, I know it is high tide and I calculate that the sea will be low by the time I reach St Michael’s Mount.  This means that it is likely I will be able to walk across the granite-cobbled causeway without getting my feet wet.  (again).

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It feels good to be out and walking at this time of day whilst most folk are enjoying a Sunday morning lie-in, being the first person to break through the dew-laden threads thrown across the path by some busy nocturnal spiders.  Every now and again I catch the scent coming off a plant I pass by and hunt around to see where it is coming from.  The elder flowers smell particularly sweet and delicious as do the heavily laden flower bunches on the palm trees.   The constant buzz of flying insects grows to a crescendo as the day wears on and as the heat intensifies it causes the Monterey pine cones to crackle loudly.

my kind dog-walking guide

my kind dog-walking guide

My first encounter is with an early morning dog walker.   She appears out of the mist from the beach at Carbis Bay where she sees me examining the map obviously looking a little lost.  Taking pity on me, she kindly offers to show me the way to the next marker post.  She says she has never known a fog like it.   It turns out that together with her husband, she has travelled the globe in search of places to take the perfect photograph, the latest being a trip to the North Pole to photograph Polar Bears!  She lets me take this picture of her.

Now back on track, and up the road towards Knill’s Monument where I take this picture of the way marker against the sun, still low in the sky forming a beautiful mandala like a stained glass window.

Sun Mandala

Rose Sun Mandala

Reaching the obelisk at the top of the hill with John Knill’s coat of arms (2 rampant lions surrounded by 8 swords?) and his ironic motto, nil desperandum, it is here that I take the wrong path.

the well-worn path leading me astray

the well-worn path leading away from Knill’s Monument and leading me astray

From what would have been a magnificent vantage point on any other day, my view is obscured by a thick layer of fog that still hangs in the valley below.  As beautiful as it is (think Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog by Caspar David Friedrich, and you get the picture), I have the sensation of being in a foreign land, reminding me of glorious mornings in the Tuscan hills.  It is impossible to make out familiar landmarks and without any visual clues my usual good sense of direction is severely tested.  I am unable even to place the sea behind me because I cannot see it and whichever way round I turn my map, I have to admit I am totally disoriented.

Lesson Number Two: Make sure you have adequate navigational aids.  (If I had been thinking straight, I could have used the position of the sun to guide me.  Hindsight is a wonderful thing!)

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this little way marker could have acted as a sun-dial if only I had thought about it.

With Knill’s motto ringing in my thoughts, I forge ahead blinkered by my ignorance.  Leaving the monument behind me, I decide to take the left-hand fork in the path ahead, the most well-worn path.  Wrong choice!  Thinking about it later, I figured that the most well trodden path would more likely lead me back to a conurbation.  Thus I find myself on the outskirts of Carbis Bay once more, and spend another hour trying to find a way out of it.  I spot an elderly couple in a car and inquire in my most charming manner if they know where I might find St. Michael’s Way.  They look at me as if I am from an alien species, say they are in a hurry, can’t stop and speed away.  Deciding not to take the short cut across the field that warns ‘Beware of Bull’, I finally stumble upon my way marker, half obscured by vegetation, and with some relief, once more rejoin the track.

its hot enough to melt the tarmac as this imprint of a tractor tyre proves

its hot enough now to melt the tarmac as this imprint of a tractor tyre proves.  Perhaps they are arrows pointing me in the right direction!  Another sign I have missed?

Lesson Number Three:  Trust what your dowsing rods are telling you!  Once I knew I had gone wrong, I did not believe the direction the rods were telling me to go in, to my cost, as it turned out.  I won’t be so dismissive next time!

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By the time I reach the half-way point at TrenCrom, I am well on my way with only a minor unplanned detour putting another mile or two onto the journey.  I find a granite trough under a shady tree and decide to take a rest and an early elevensis.  I take off my shoes and administer the plasters whilst sending David – who is looking after my dogs for the day – a text to find out how they are doing.  He suggests I use the gps signal on my phone.  Now why hadn’t I thought of that?  I had forgotten too I also have a compass app.  Boy, do I feel stupid.

Lesson Number Four: Learn from your mistakes!   Getting lost was completely unexpected, and something I had not prepared for.  My inadequate attempts at navigation have been highlighted because there is a valuable lesson to be learned from this experience.

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Now, with a clearly visible means of knowing exactly where I am positioned in the landscape,  and with sightings of the Mount with every brow of a hill reached, my destination is getting increasingly closer and I am well and truly on the homeward stretch.  I drop into The White Hart at Ludgvan to refill my water bottles, (though I could have downed a pint of lager with ease), the final leg is literally downhill all the way.  I notice the glint of sunlight reflecting off what appears to be many cars at Marazion.

fording the stream at Boskennal

fording the stream at Boskennal, I am very tempted to take off my shoes and paddle across

Strangely, I am not prepared for what happens next.  This has never been designed to be a route march or a test of endurance but having moved through the landscape at a leisurely 2 mile an hour pace, allowing plenty of time for stops and starts, and largely in my own company for the past few hours, I suddenly come up against a fast-moving, solid wall of metal and noise going in opposite directions which is the A30.  Instantly, I feel very small and vulnerable.   This sudden assault on the senses seems  particularly violent.  Yet, behind the wheel of my car, I am part of it!  For a split second, I know how it must feel to be a wild animal meeting this for the first time.  The combined heat coming off the tarmac and reflecting off the cars is intense, adding to the onslaught of extreme sensations.  Somehow, I have to find a gap in this liquid metal flow in which to negotiate a crossing.  My judgement of the speed of trajectory seems momentarily to be impaired but I manage to weave myself across and continue on my way with a renewed respect for our hidden creatures, eager to put some distance between myself and the noise and heat of traffic.

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On through the bog at Marazion Marsh along the boarded walkway (just as our ancestors would have done), across the railway track for the last time, and into the nature reserve that runs along the Red River, the Mount looming ever larger.  As I emerge onto the road leading into Marazion I am thrown into a throng of humankind making its way into the town.  ‘Obby ‘os drumming is coming from that direction and any plans to go to the Mount today are immediately shelved.

Lesson Number Four: Things don’t always go to plan, but that’s OK.  (Improvisation is the mother of invention).

Going against the flow of people, I head the other way to the old railway cafe next to the beach, find a seat in the shade and wait for David (and the dogs) to rescue me.  My visit to the Mount will have to wait for another day.

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To Recap and Conclude:

In the coarse of writing this post, I concluded that the lessons I have learnt on this, my inaugural pilgrimage walk, could easily be applied to life.  In the same way that the life line on your palm symbolizes a personal route map of your life, each journey will be a unique experience for that individual.  This has been a seminal experience for me and despite the many setbacks, I don’t think it could have gone any better or I could have wished for a better learning opportunity.

In establishing some ground rules for life:

  • Make sure you have adequate tools to navigate a meaningful path through it
  • Assume nothing and always expect the unexpected
  • Follow the light
  • You may take the ‘wrong’ path from time to time – maybe because it is the easiest path to follow – but sooner or later, you will find your way back to where you want/need to be
  • Listen to what your guides, teachers and helpers have to tell you and notice the signs and signals that are gifted to you
  • Learn from your mistakes – every now and again, it is good to feel humbled
  • By slowing down your pace, you will be more aware of the beauty of things around you – often the things we most take for granted.  It says STOP, LOOK, LISTEN on the railway crossing sign
  • Be prepared (flexible enough) to make decisions to change the course of your life.  Often these changes happen for a very good reason, though you don’t always know it at the time
  • It’s alright to read the map upside down if it gets you there.
  • Remember, Nil Desperandum!

Of course, I anticipate this list will be added to in future walks.  If you can think of any glaring omissions, dear follower, I would love to hear from you.

The making of a book:

Just as a book has a beginning, middle and an end, so too a ‘pilgrimage’ walk takes a route from A to B.  It is not necessarily a linear path but one that may take diversions, planned or otherwise.  Sometimes the path might go around in a circle like a maze.

all the participants had to make up a name tag!

all the participants made up a name tag!

To celebrate this walk, I plan to make an informal ‘collage’ book like the one I made on the Writing for Creative Practice course recently.  One of the facilitators wrote about it in her blog: Tactile Academia (and a picture of my book!)

IMG_0209Thank you for joining me in walking my path.

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Filed under Pilgrimage Walks, St. Michael's Way, The Artist as Pilgrim, Walks

Travel Theme: Flow

‘People step into the same rivers and different waters flow onto them’

Heraclitus (c.500 BC)

Do you find that sometimes you go out for a walk and arrive home again surprised that you are back where you started so quickly?  This kind of walking ‘in the flow’ is a state of being where you become totally lost in your thoughts, deeply focused on the moment, whilst your feet seem to propel you along almost mechanically.  In the same way that a journey home seems to take much less time than the outward journey.  It’s like the ‘automatic pilot’ takes over and time becomes suspended as you eat up the miles.

self reflected in puddle

self reflected in strim-strewn puddle

However, to get caught on the moor in a sudden shower soon shakes you out of your reverie.  This has happened rather a lot recently.  Tammi races up and down the track in her ‘mad-moment’ whippet way trying to escape the stinging drops on her back whilst Sadie cowers behind me trying to shelter in my slip-stream.  The trickle of water now collecting in the track already scoured out by water into deep ruts soon fills to a stream.  IMG_9928Of course, going uphill, you are walking against the flow; downhill, with the flow.

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“Wisdom tells me I am nothing. Love tells me I am everything. Between the two my life flows.” – Nisargadatta Maharaj

I’ve taken the ‘flow’ theme for this post from Ailsa’s weekly theme challenge.

http://wheresmybackpack.com/2013/06/14/travel-theme-flow

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Filed under my sketchbook pages, Paths of Enlightenment, The Artist as Pilgrim

Side-Tracked

Have you ever stopped to think how many of our most used ‘sayings’ come from the activity of walking?  Phrases such as: off the beaten track; wrong-footed; beat a path; leave a footprint; on the right track, etc,.  How many more can you think of?

Track 4 (playfulness in the dunes)

Track 4 (playfulness in the dunes)

I wonder if this is the same in all languages?  After all, walking is a fundamental part of being human, as is eating and sleeping etc,.  We even celebrate being able to do it for the first time as a right of passage from crawling baby to upright toddler.  (So that’s what our ‘pins’ are for.)

But let’s not get side-tracked!  That’s the point.  As we all know, sometimes when on a mission, it is very easy to get side-tracked often ending up down a blind alley and wasting a lot of time in the process.  When I am out walking, I become increasingly aware of the little paths that suddenly shoot off the main track.  These unsolicited paths immediately pique my interest.  Why are they there?  If time permits, my inclination is to follow the side-track to discover the reason for it.  A bit like trying to discover what lies at the end of the rainbow.  The thinking is that there must be a jolly good reason for it to exist because so many people have ventured ‘off-piste’ that a new path has been forged in the process.

some have been worn to the bone

some have been worn to the bone

Maybe a search for the perfect viewpoint; a track into a secret coven; a lover’s dell, a detour to avoid a boggy patch or a ‘comfort break’ bush!   Maybe it is an animal track or simply a short cut to crop the corner off an approved path.  I love this sort of anarchy.  Although in extreme circumstances such as a war zone, I wouldn’t recommend taking this line of action for fear of stepping on a land mine or coming into someone’s line of fire.  War besides, it just proves that many of us are always willing to make our own diversions (because to us, it is the most obvious route) even when there is a clear sign saying ‘keep off the grass’.  There I go again…..another ‘path’ metaphor!

many undesignated and precarious tracks lead off this one to secret coves and beaches below.

many undesignated and precarious tracks lead off this one to secret coves and beaches along this stretch of the north Cornish coast.

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Mindfulness in Sky Space

It is indeed strange and a source of wonder how life can often take sudden twists and turns.  When I began this particular venture I didn’t realise it would reveal to me the rainbow of Chakra colours in all their magnificence (only the orange being noticeable by its absence!).   The full extent of this would only become apparent during the process of writing up this post.  Such is the nature of blogging.

Mindfull Meditation in James Turrell's 'sky scape'.

Poster advertising Mindfull Meditation in James Turrell’s ‘sky space’.

It all began when I saw this ‘poster’ on one of my trawls through fb.  Now, I am not particularly feeling the need to join a meditation group at the moment but Richard Ballinger’s image just grabbed my attention.  I have always thought that James Turrell’s rotunda – open to the sky – would be a unique place to meditate.  (Some have even called it a ‘camera obscura’)  I was also aware that the ‘still small voice’ within (that I like to think are my collective guardian angels) was urging me to go.  I was sufficiently intrigued enough to make a mental note that come Sunday, if it wasn’t raining, I would go along to the Sculpture Garden for a bit of quiet contemplation.

an early morning walk through the gardens

my early morning walk through the gardens, a symphony of luscious greens, greys and blues

I have meditated on and off all my adult life.  I remember when Maharishi Mahesh Yogi first came to the attention of the world back in the 60’s.   My real induction began in my early 20’s when my first husband, Graeme, was diagnosed with a virulent form of cancer.  This devastating news began a period of deep enquiry for him into the ‘how come’, the ‘why me’ and the struggle to understand the meaning of life / death and his place in the scheme of things.  It helped a little but in the end the only real solace for him was listening to classical music, such as this Chopin Nocturne, and the only time I ever saw him at peace with himself throughout this difficult time.  Sadly, he lost his fight and died at the age of 24.

The light catching an iris showing off its magnificent bee attracting patterns.

near the entrance to the sky space I found this beautiful purple iris.  I have included it as a tribute to Graeme because the colour represents psychic development and the release of grief – the yellow for learning – as I’m sure his journey continues in another spiritual dimension. Then I decided to delve a little deeper.  In Greek mythology, Iris is the personification of the rainbow and messenger of the gods. She is also known as one of the goddesses of the sea and the sky. Iris links the gods to humanity.  As a goddess, Iris is associated with communication, messages, the rainbow and new endeavors.  Was this a message for me also?  Of course I was not conscious of any of this at the time, just remember vaguely thinking why had I been drawn to these irises?

The spiritual quest that Graeme had begun lived on in me and over the years I have taken several paths down the esoteric route in my search for the ‘meaning of life’, embracing alternative healing, psychic enquiries, aspects of Eastern Mysticism and philosophies, and dowsing (earth energy lines and sacred sites, see elemental energies).  I have come to the conclusion that they all spring from the same source and that dowsing is the key to unlocking the spaces between the material and the spiritual.  The space that quantum physics is trying to explain.  For me this is the liminal space, the pause just before a new discovery is about to take place, or a ‘sub’-conscious thought hovers before becoming conscious.  A place which holds the space of ‘nothingness’ yet possesses the potential for everything.  It is also the metaphysical area in which I have chosen to focus on in my creative practice, so relevant to me at the moment.

the yellow 'flag' iris, another one I found on my way to the sky scape.

the yellow ‘flag’ iris, another find on my way to the sky space.  (I was surprised it didn’t have its feet in water).  Chakra meanings: yellow is the colour that represents the Solar Plexus, assimilates experience and has the power to manifest goals. (Also, in the art spectrum, yellow and purple are complimentary colours).

So Sunday dawned with a limpid sun but no rain.  Living just a 5 minute drive from Tremenheere, I was the first to arrive and walked up through the garden to the top, startling a pair of buzzards (although they looked bigger than buzzards?) that flew off into the woods.  (The eagle represents wisdom in ancient cultures).  The view from the top of the garden takes in the sweep of Mounts Bay with St Michael’s Mount standing sentinel in the sea but which only a couple of days ago, because of some strange optical illusion, had appeared to be hovering in space.  I entered the sky scape space and took these photographs.

the view of the sky through the oval

the view of the sky through the oval opening : blue represents communication

Soon, the others arrived and Chris Priest guided us through a beautiful ‘mindful’ meditation.  At one point, he talked about being in the ‘now’ and ‘the space between’.  (I thought that’s a bit of a coincidence as ‘the space between’ is what my research is all about.  Perhaps I will have to make this my new title).  I am getting vibrant, pulsating circles of colour in my third eye area above the bridge of my nose: indigo and ultramarine blues and vivid magenta tinged with a brilliant pink glow around the edge.  And then  a sort of vintage yellow – like the tint on Richard’s poster – which brought to mind ‘old’ learning / knowledge, or previous grief now in the past.

the 'eye' of the sky

the ‘eye’ of the sky

This is how Chris described it afterwards in an email.  ‘What came to me primarily was this ‘space between’: space between sound, sensation, thought and breath, which was something we touched upon after our sitting practice.  It seems that this is almost the only space that gives rise to a pure awareness.  I believe when we connect with space we are in fact connecting with the vast and profound emptiness / nothingness that only love can exist within.  I believe this ‘space’ is a wordless state of awareness / being.’

This is major Tom to Ground Control....

This is major Tom to Ground Control….

Over coffee, cake and chat in the cafe afterwards, it dawns on me that all the participants are artists (let’s face it, who in Cornwall isn’t?) and like-minded people.  From that moment, all the unanswered pieces in the puzzle just seemed to tumble into place.  Why I had come: the conducive gathering; The Space Between; the Chakra colours; the irises; the reminder to be mindful; the sea, the sky.  So many little synchronisaties making me believe they have a meaning beyond a series of mere coincidences.

the space between the sky and the beam of light on the wall

The Space Between the sky and the beam of light illuminating  the wall

So you see, this little episode has revealed a host of things that I might have completely overlooked if I had not become ‘mindful’ of everything that was going on.  It’s like a game of hide and seek.  If you stop your ‘babbling’ thoughts for long enough these things will be revealed to you, because they are meant, especially for you.  In true Greek mythological fashion, messages from the Gods.  And I give thanks, wholeheartedly, for these simple, brilliant gifts.

the space between 3

the space between 3 (dark matter)

The next meeting is planned for 9th June.  If anyone is interested in joining the group the contact numbers are on the poster above (enlarge the image).

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space between 4

As a finale to the synchronicity, have a listen to Martin Cook talking about his mindfulness garden at the Chelsea Flower Show on a ‘learn to be silent’ blog post.

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Filed under my sketchbook pages, Nature / Nurture Project, Paths of Enlightenment

Weekly Photo Challenge: Escape: A Circular Walk from Kestle Barton via Frenchman’s Creek

This week, I decided to take up WordPress’ weekly ‘photo challenge’ with the special subject, ‘escape‘ – and see if anyone notices!  My escape is walking: it costs nothing (except travel costs, perhaps), the exercise is great for clearing the cobwebs, its ideal space for ‘dreaming’, and the dogs are especially grateful.  An ocular feast for mind, body and soul, in the company of special canine friends who are soon lost in their search for squirrels / rabbits, and don’t need to be engaged in conversation!  What better escape from the normal demands of everyday life can there be?

A Circular Walk from Kestle Barton

Of course it’s not just one photo but a sequence of photos that follow the linear route of my walk.  I decided not to doctor them to make them look pretty but to keep them in tact as a ‘working’ document.  The most challenging thing about this particular ‘challenge’ was picking just 20 or so photos from the 136 that I took!

The Helford River taken from OS Explorer 8

The Helford River taken from OS Explorer 8

In the 13 years since I have lived in Cornwall I have never visited the village of Helford on the Lizard Peninsula.  I wanted to see Jessica Cooper‘s paintings that are currently showing at Kestle Barton and in the process discovered there was a 2 mile circular walk from Kestle that takes in a couple of coves along the Helford River.

IMG_9439Taking my very battered Lizard OS and the map that Ryya kindly gave me from the gallery at Kestle Barton, going clockwise, I began my descent into Frenchman’s Creek. Pretty soon we are into the woods that run down the valley.

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The smell of wild garlic is pervasive after a sudden hail storm.

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One of the National Trust signs. Not too sure what the ‘permissive’ means?

on the footpath now

on the footpath ‘proper’ now

a first exit into the creek itself.  It all feels very secretive and obviously a perfect setting for smugglers to ply their trade.

a first exit into the creek itself. It all feels very secretive and obviously a perfect setting for smugglers to ply their trade.

catching tantalising glimpses of the creek along the path.

catching tantalizing glimpses of the creek along the path.

Now this is getting interesting for me.  The path is so worn the roots of the trees are showing.

now this is getting interesting for me. The path is so worn the roots of the trees are showing.

The sun has just come out and the creek is sparkling.

the sun has just come out and the creek is sparkling.

but my focus has gone back to the roots

but my focus has gone back to the roots

and the steps they have created

and the steps they have created

in contrast to the man-made version - less hazardous, granted - but not as interesting

in contrast to the man-made version – less hazardous, granted – but not as interesting

coming out of the woods and away from the creek

coming out of the woods now and leaving the creek behind us

looking back the river looks small and the sky suddenly seems looming

looking back, the river estuary appears small and far away but the sky suddenly seems looming – must press on

reassuring to know we are on the right path

reassuring to know we are on the right track

coming into Penarvon Cove

coming into Penarvon Cove

well, this place is a well kept secret!

well, this place is a well-kept secret!  A place that time forgot

rejoin the path at the top of the beach where the upturned boats are stored

rejoining the path at the top of the beach where the upturned boats are stored

this would have been a little 'pop over' if i was on a horse.  Tempted to hula but manage to crouch underneath

this fallen branch would have been a little ‘pop over’ if I was on a horse. Tempted to hula but manage to crouch underneath

a sneaky peek through the window of the Shipright's Arms in Helston village reveals the creek beyond

taking a sneaky peek through the window of the Shipwright’s Arms in Helford village reveals the creek beyond

this place is so chocolate box I am spoilt for choice so home in on the thatch that abounds

this place is so ‘chocolate box’ I am spoilt for choice so home in on the thatch that abounds

I need to cross this bridge turn right and I'm back in the woods

I need to cross this bridge, turn right and I’m back in the woods

another right turn in the path and I will have completed the circuit

another right turn in the path and I will have completed the circuit

but not before I have stopped to enjoy the reflections in the stream

but not before pausing to enjoy the reflections in the stream

and the bluebells!

and the bluebells!

Writing this up, I suddenly realise I didn’t pass a single person on my walk.  Not even a smuggler going about his business.  I decide to add this walk to my list of favourites.

To see more responses to this week’s photo challenge:

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/05/17/photo-challenge-escape/

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