Every time I have heard an explanation of the possibility of time travel it includes the need to achieve incredible speed. I am Cornish and that sort of rush is just not necessary even for time travel. All I need to time travel is to walk.
A year ago I was at my biggest 17.5 stones. Today I am just over 16 stones and on the cusp of going below 16 stone for the first time in about 3 years. On 4th August I will do a sponsored walk from Charlestown to Fowey on the coastpath. I haven’t walked that sort of distance for 4 years. T do this I need to take my body back in time to a fitter and lighter era.
I have excellent walking boots and today I will find out if I can wear them again. When my weight grew it never occurred to me that my feet would get fatter and the boots I had trekked the Inca trail in would become unwearable. These boots are made for walking not to sit as an ornament in my porch.
I put the boots on and get ready. They seem comfortable but I will carry my trainers in my rucksack just in case. I used to do a lot of walking and my crowning achievement was in May 2011. Today I will only travel to Lerryn a riverside village but I will be well equipped with my rucksack and coat as well as my boots from my Machu Picchu. These relics of my past will help my present build my future.
I have chosen a straightforward woodland walk much under tree cover which will shelter me from the sun. Unlike some of my other destinations it has no childhood memories but my first footsteps here were alongside Kirsten. My first serious relationship, that bequeathed several routes through the glory of the Cornish Countryside.
On arrival booted and ready to go, I looked across the river and the line of stepping stones that surmount the low tide. I can see my oldest daughter Rhi, striding purposely across as she herself remembers the past. There are many family memories here. It is the place my second daughter Shan lost her Mother and Fathers wedding ring. An inexpensive trinket that to her was a priceless expression of her identity. Thankfully someone handed it in, at the local pub.
I can hear the birds in the trees as I walk body in the present as my mind slips between natures surrounding beauty and thoughts of the past. The golden daffodils and carpets of bluebell have passed and now is the time of the striking foxglove This is the first place I walked with Liz, Rhi and Shan after we met. Two adults each with a child that we had hoisted on our shoulders. A care free time full of hope that went unnoticed but absorbed in every breath.
I walk alongside the calm of the river taking pictures as I go. I walk at an unhurried but steady pace, my boots thankfully at peace with my feet. I am getting close to the halfway point now and will soon be in St Winnow and then I come to my first stile. Stiles are structure using steps that allow the crossing of a fence or hedge. Such benign helpful objects that I did not anticipate any problem. I stepped onto the stile stepped up and lifted my leg to step over at the top. I couldn’t lift my foot high enough to get it over. I tried again changed the angle but no joy. Third time lucky by using my hand to support on the top post of the stile I got my foot over. One down and one to go. I sat there for a minute pondering how to get the other one over. It was like I was on a horse without knowing how to dismount. All I could thing was I didn’t want to have to ask strangers for help getting my leg over. Again using my hands to support my weight I somehow got my other foot over. There would be nil points for style but I was over.
I walked on with my thoughts back to my childhood. When I was little my Mum had a record by Lonnie Donegan and the song filled my head but with new lyrics. Putting on the agony
Getting leg over stile
Dignity of young folk
Been missing for a while
As I get my leg over
Watchers can’t but smile
Christ it is agony
And nil points for style
There were ten stiles on this walk and although ungainly I got across without as much struggle as I had a method. This was fine until I came to a stile of a different type. This stile was a bit like a fence with horizontal planks of wood. The top hinged so you could lift it and step over the lower ones. Problem I needed to hold it up while stepping over but my stile method involved me using my arms to take the weight. I somehow struggled over keeping the hinged plank from my decapitation.
I should explain I get some tightness in the muscles in my inner groin started several months ago after playing badminton and is much better but muscular injuries seem to take an age to heal. It affects my flexibility and fortunately I have no plans for any gymnastics.
I walked into St Winnow hoping for a cup of tea at the farm museum. I walked this route with Ilona about 4 or 5 years ago but walking is not her passion. The highlight for her was the friendly cat we met as we drank our tea outside the museum. Well this time no cat and no cup of tea as the museum was closed. I walked out of St Winnow and into the fields up the hill before looking back and taking pictures. I continued through the fields finding stiles to cross the hedges. I leave the fields for the woods and my final ascent before crossing a field and walking downhill back into Lerryn
The stepping stones covered so I use the bridge to cross back to the car. I buy myself a honeycomb flavour icecream. Double scoop of creamy cold luxury in a waffle cone enjoyed as I amble slowly along the river. Memories of the past, combine with todays walk helping me to a new chapter in the future. I head back to the car smiling as I think of a Dr Who once said “My body is a Tardis.”