Hartland Quay – Bude (15.4 miles)
Distance from Minehead – 124.4 miles / Distance toPoole– 508.6 miles
I did it! Yay! Woo hoo! I survived!
Today was the day I have been dreading for months. It is the longest and the most severe day of climbing 4272 ft over 15.4 miles! Ouch! But I did it and I finished it ½ hour before I was expected to – yay!
In order to help me overcome this massive walking and psychological challenge one friend told me to keep looking at the beautiful flowers on the ascents. One of the great things about walking at this time of year is the glorious cover of flowers and foliage. I am no expert but there are pink ones, yellow ones, little blue ones, white ones and even some purple ones. But the most prolific of all the flowering plants is the gorse. It covers the hillsides and cliffs, clinging to the roughest rock face and brightening the landscape with its bright yellow blooms.
Growing up on Bodmin Moor I am very familiar with gorse and every time my mum sees flowering gorse she says, “whenever there is gorse in bloom then there is love in the world!” If she is right then there is definitely love to be found along the North Devon and Cornwall coastline.
But as pretty as the gorse and other flowers are the things of real beauty in this area are the stunning and dramatic cliffs. They may be a challenge to walk up, but they are at least a joy to look at whilst stopping to regain breath! But the fact is that what makes them so beautiful is the constant shaping of them by the wind and the raging sea. Over the millennia they have been bashed and battered and they have felt the full force of the elements.
Sometimes it can feel like we are being bashed and battered and that we experience the full force of everything being thrown at us. Sometimes when we watch the news and hear stories of pain and suffering it can be hard for us to see the presence of God. Where is he? Where is his love? Why does he allow so much suffering to take place? These are big questions and I am just a small and lowly walker on a long journey, but I do know that on all of these bashed and rugged cliffs there is the gorse. It is not found in the peaceful and tranquil gardens or in delicate bouquets of flowers, but instead it is in the places which experience the wildest conditions. The lonely places. The exposed rock faces and the steep cliffs. It is on the highest moorlands and the places which are difficult to traverse. This is where the gorse is. This is where God is. This is where the love is.
Gorse blooms all year round, even in the harshes conditions, even on the toughest days. God is love and he is with us all year round, even in the harshest conditions, even on the toughest days. Yay!