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"Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events and small minds discuss people". - Eleanor Roosevelt

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I did it again this year. Booked another walking week with Paul after the nice walking week I had last year. Might do it again next year.

- Lenie B, Switzerland

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Passeggiate sul sentiero costiero della Cornovaglia

A Penryn sense of place - Part 1 - Boundaries and Location

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Having spent the best part of the day in my office pouring over the miriad of concepts that help explore a sense of place which in my case involves researching traversing Cornwall over the past 200 years, I ventured out on this cold crisp calm evening to stretch my aching legs (aching to get out I’ll have you know). My 1000 word proposal for my PhD on walking could not improve any further tonight.


The experience is the walk, and ones sense of place comes from an all sensory intake of ones surroundings. But it takes time to really “feel” and “know” a place, to make it yours, to be a part of it rather than apart from it.


What comes first is the sense of boundaries where the limits of a locality are formed in your mind map. Where does my walk take me in half an hour or where does Penryn end and Falmouth begin, or what will I remember about this street where maybe a defining architectural feature or tree will create a distinctive personal feature that I will remember as a mental “boundary stone”.


Then swiftly following if not augmenting the concept of Boundaries is the perspective of Location. Am I in a coastal or urban area or neither or both? Is it hilly, flat, high or low altitude, south westerly facing or protected?


Boundaries change over time especially observed personal boundaries and ultimately they differ on each walk, improving and building up ones sense of place with each walk. Location is fixed, a mould underpinning everything that is to come. Whatever the walk within the many self created boundaries the Location is predominantly the same for each walk.


With other concepts like time, space, mobility and movement work their magic a place becomes whole, personalised, rejected or embraced as “mine” or “theirs”. The hope in walking here often is that Penryn becomes “mine” and eventually “home”. Time will tell. Ahh another concept, that of time, to blog about, to be explored and defined on another walk.