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Today's walkitcornwall quote

  "Me thinks that the moment my legs begin to move, my thoughts begin to flow."  -Henry David Thoreau

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I've published my pictures on facebook and my friends cannot believe that Cornwall is so amazingly beautiful. One of my friends is thinking of taking her mum on your walking holiday:-) I've recommended Walkitcornwall to her, as being based in Falmouth is definitely a better option and from personal experience, she will have a great and fun time with you.

- Kasia, Poland


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Walking blog: The philosophy of walking

Walking by numbers 01: The mathematics of nature.

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I talk a lot about multi sensory walks. However it struck me today on my walk into the office that one interpretation and a basic, almost childlike, enjoyment of a familiar walk that appeals to the "keen rotarian" in me is the mathematical variance one can make on a familiar walk that has resonance on other levels.

In short the number of steps one takes or indeed the number of actual concrete steps up or down to precise points of the walk have a familiarity and mathematical preciseness that may or may not have any importance other than the one you give it. But what the hell it is fun and today on my first walk from my new home to the office made me smile, encouraging a less than serious blog about walking. I foresee that on future wanderings to the office it will also be addictive as the numbers game can be manipulated, changed, varied and interpreted as I vary the walk.

Ok, a few lines that are the serious bit. The mathematics of nature have been interpreted by mathematicians from Euclid and Pythagoras to Fibonacci and Mandelbrot to assert that there are patterns in nature. This has bought us fractals and various "Rules" like the Fibonacci rule that are manifest in nature. The visual beauty of nature is often a mathematically precise or predictable pattern. Indeed mathematical rules often explain "natural phenomena" that include meandering rivers, cloud formations, water spouts, waves and sand dunes. Sometimes our awe and wonder can be explained in mathematical terms.

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The destination or the journey?

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The saying that crops up a lot "it's the journey not the destination" is the walkers equivalent of "size doesn't matter".

In this day and age I am amazed at how often this comes up, and we all have done this. It is said, "well, I've got a couple of hours I can do 4 miles inbetween the school run and lunch", as though this is another chore to get one through the day, ticked off, good for the health and feeding the mind and body in "balance" where nature and the "real world" meet as opposites. I just did this myself - right I've got two hours before it gets dark and I need to walk. For me a lack of walking is a physical withdrawal sympton that manifests itself like a smoker craves nicotine and the body rebels.

I am also amazed that people pay me to take them walking. I'm very happy to aswell. Yet, it makes me think, well, why do we walk and how do we walk and those, my friends, are two separate books and a forthcoming PhD. For me how you engage with ones surroundings is more important than the mileage you aim to do. So here's a thought. Make a plan of a route and see how far you get if you do the following.

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Desire Lines or Desire Paths

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Whilst walking around the Penryn Tremough campus of the University of Exeter where I have my office, I have become aware of long patches of what is presently mud and flattened grass. They veer around objects, connect low walls, merge and unmerge and basically connect buildings, major paths and areas of heavier traffic. These are known as Desire paths or Desire lines where people ignore what has been laid down as a route, normally a concrete or brick path and they traverse from one area to another to save time.

The scourge of designers? The laziness of typecast students - obviously eager to get to lectures(!?), multiple acts of subversive protest, asserting individualism or inadvertently automatic reaction to a choice of getting from a to b? In short they are paths that the public have voted with their feet that should be, and now are. Some, belatedly, have been partly paved with steps, somehow legitimizing common sense and the will of the people.

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A reflection on walking at the end of 2015

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Once again it has been a wonderful year of walking.

Body and Soul interacting with Landscape and shared with a variety of guests within and from different cultures.

“I walk therefore I am” to alter Descartes original thought.

Now if you Google that phrase some very interesting articles come up varying from modern day pilgrims pursuing “slowness” to the medical advantages of walking and from the philosophical to the physical.

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Why walk?

Walking is simple. We are physically set up to perform what in reality has taken millions of years to perfect and what we now take for granted. Mobility, balance, gait, speed, direction awareness, multi sensory perception, fight or flight and health and leisure, some of the many areas to be explored when talking about walking.

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Walking is easy, so why do we make it complicated? Why do many of us in the developed world neglect our awareness about weight, diet and health, let alone the pure joy one gets from walking? The interconnection between walking and health is well documented. In fact it has gone too far where, and I speak from experience, European money is sought to investigate and research the "Blue gym" and the "Green gym". The what? To you and me, walking next to the sea or in the woods is good for you! Yup thousands of pounds of our tax money has gone into researching the Natural gyms, whereas go back two generations and the urban banter or, as they called it, old wives tales, from our grand parents went along the lines of "go outside, climb some treees, go out and clear your head, come back at dinner time, go out and PLAY"!

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Autumn revisited and welcome

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Autumn is making its pronouncements that we are in the final throws of growth and vibrancy and entering the time of decay, death and reinvention.

Intensity: Wind: Light: Waves: The perfection of an insects’ final dance: Natures last throw of the dice: Birds knowledgeable, warbling their mournful autumnal tunes. Blink and you miss the subtlety of change.

If you are tuned in to natures warning then sit back and enjoy the intensity. Crashing waves, mists hugging hills,  ripples in the warm wind fast forwarding concentric circles in their restricted rock pools.

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Walking with the Durrells in Corfu

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If like me you have been entranced by the scenery and story of the Durrells in Corfu these past few weeks on UK television then your concentration on the stories behind the story might have been compromised away from the plot by the magnificent backdrop of the genuine Corfu.

Those who are much more au fait with the landscape of Corfu can pinpoint where each scene is set and the location manager is someone who I intend to follow literally in their footsteps to hunt down the majority of shots and sequences just like I have done for the recent and hopefully, ongoing Poldark series that was shot here in Cornwall.

While Gerald Durrell might have called Paleokastritsa the "Greek Margate" I can only concur that it is the commodification and commercialisation he was referring to rather than any actual physical resemblance in colour, architecture or effect on the human psyche. If not then I should visit Margate again with new eyes and look at it with a completely blank canvas before I paint any verbal picture of it.  However I would genuinly be surprised if there is any similarity, all the same.

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Natural Relationships?

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I haven't written a blog for a couple of years! That's about to change.

Having watched Cornwall close down in the main for business over the winter and open up now with Spring firmly established it occurred to me that it is blindingly obvious that nature doesn't close down for anything. It obligingly carries on undiminished, undisturbed, uninfluenced by anything but its own forces and innate raison d'etre for where we can only be voyeurs, commentators and observers of its own free will.

The seas unceasingly crash onto where it meets solid rock, winds whip up and birds eddy and cry. They are not turned off disneyesque-like until those odd paying humans come along between the hours of daylight and dusk. Nature does what it does without effort, without having a grandiose scheme to buy into whether we are there to observe or not. I often sit at New Years Eve watching others watching the celebrations (as a musician or watching the world firework displays) thinking that these human productions that we are so effusive about are nothing compared to the wonders we are missing "out there" away from the madding crowd. I always wish I was sitting quietly, as ever in awe, on a cliff top or in a wood listening, touching, smelling and watching.. nothing but the immensity of nature.

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Walking in Corfu part 1

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Why do some places have a hold, a tenacious grip on ones being? You feel drawn, a connection and even that unfathomable innate sense of having been there in a previous time and body. Your soul overrides the logic.

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Corfu and Cornwall: The Links

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Is it just sheer coincidence that I am equally in love with both Cornwall and Corfu? I also happen to be in love with walking in Corfu and Cornwall. Would it be churlish to say that the only reason is because they both start with the letters C,O and R? Yes it would. However, having looked at it objectively and subjectively there are indeed some similarities to be drawn with both places which do satisfy the more orderly, compartmental and love of research sides of my make up. The words "clutching", "at" and "straws" could be levelled at this but bear with me as if it makes you nod in approval and recognition then I'm on to something (as opposed to on something:-) and this little blog post would be worth the effort. Read on.

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Cornwall is open for business

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Whenever the general press report on disaster areas, wars and the like I always feel that there should be a website, programme or paper of the follow up so you get the full and finished story. Do people read a book and miss the last chapter? Do they watch three quarters of a whodunit? So why is there a need for a collection of businesses getting together to tell the world that despite the awful problems we had in the south west where businesses and livelihoods were badly affected, that we need to get together to tell the world that we are ok, we are resilient, we are proactive and that the majority of businesses are open and ready for trade.

The South West Coast Path has been affected with no more path diversions that a year ago. there are 300 miles of Coast path to walk with the majority of it as beautiful as it was and has been for millennia. Walking in Cornwall has always been a delight and 2014 is no different. 

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