Lamorna – Marazion (9.4 miles)
Distance from Minehead – 276.9 miles / Distance to Poole– 355.4 miles
Today has been a different kind of day. After the quiet stretches along the coast path, seeing only a handful of other people scattered here and there, it was a bit of a shock to the system to walk a stage that encountered lots of people and civilisation. As the path comes into Mousehole it changes from an isolated and ruralised track to follow the tarmac road and paved footpaths. Although neither Mousehole, Newlyn or Penzance could by no means be described as an urban metropolis but in comparison to the places I’ve been recently, they feel huge and bustling with people.
Part of today’s path, a stretch just past Mousehole is not only the South West Coast Path but is also shared with the National Cycle Network route. The next stop was Newlyn, which is famous for its fishing and, true to form the harbour and nearby waters was filled with boats of all shapes and sizes. Then we walked on into Penzance, carefully trying to avoid the cars, buses and caravans all squeezed onto the small and twisty roads, often which have no pavements for us walkers. Out of Penzance the path continues alongside the railway track, which is the main line in and out of Cornwall. On arriving at Marazion we watched as Mount’s Bay filled up with windsurfers – obviously there weren’t bothered by the drizzle and poor visibility, which had meant that for most of the day the famous landmark of St Michael’s Mount was hidden under thick cloud.
Watching the windsurfers zoom this way and that, I thought about all the different forms of transport that we had encountered today. Walking, cycling, driving (a number of different vehicles), sailing (a number of different types of watercraft) and going by train. I probably should also mention air travel too, because although it wasn’t seen, the helicopter shuttle to the Scillies was definitely heard!
It is often said that life is a journey that we are all on, and I have certainly been reminded of this as I physically journey around the south west. But perhaps I hadn’t considered that we are all travelling on different forms of transport at different times in life. Perhaps there are times when it feels like life is trudging along, not getting anywhere fast. Perhaps there are times when we are commuters on a train, stuck going back and forth but without really going anywhere. Perhaps there are times when we are travelling to new and exciting places, when life is an adventure and the travelling, be it by helicopter or car or boat, is part of the thrill. Perhaps there are times when we are just having fun, zipping and zooming about just for fun. Perhaps it feels like we are not moving at all.
Whichever form of transport we are on at whichever point in our lives, I am reminded that they are all suited to that specific journey. I could not drive a car on the South West Coast Path just the same as I couldn’t cycle on the water in Mount’s Bay. I couldn’t use a train where there is no track and a boat is no good without water. No form of transport is superior to the others, no method of travel is more important than the others. Each is perfectly suited to the journey it must travel and each has benefits and pleasures which the others would miss out on. So instead of envying the speed of the train or the fun of the helicopter I will enjoy the pleasures and benefits of this walk.