(I’m hoping that title means ‘A Cornish Story’ but despite researching, I’m not sure! Please feel free to correct me)
While on holiday in the beautiful Gwithian Towans in St Ives bay, we decided not to cliff-path or dune walk, which we did last time, but to walk the length of the beach. The beginning of the walk took in some mining history, the remnants of which have always been mysterious and fascinating to us. My Map My Hike log tells me we walked 4.8km and climbed a whole 19m (probably to the pub at the end). That doesn’t reflect the length of the beach but describes the weaving we did from cliff to the refreshing waves of low tide, and back towards dunes.
We were two families with two 9 year olds and their two older siblings who were having a glorious summer holiday before they start secondary school in a few weeks. Plus a Jack Russell who does not appreciate the water and kept a buffer zone between her and the sea, and a Lurcher who loves running across the open sand and splashing in the sea.
We wanted to check out the mining caves at the Gwithian end, but were very aware of the warnings the RNLI lifeguards had been giving about unstable cliffs and rock falls in the area. We took care to look for signs of weakness and where falls had recently happened and avoided those areas.
We’d seen some history about what the area used to look like when it was industrialised – very different to the beautiful nature reserve it is now. We went in the cave known as ‘Iron Doors’ which used to house a tractor that took loads of tin across the beach in the post-horse and cart days. It has a chimney effect where you can walk through the cave and up the chimney and see the cliff and beach from a different angle.
As we walked along the beach I had an opportunity to practice my newly-learned coaching skills, in conversation with a good friend who has a lot of potential for even more success, and plans which are all buzzing around in a soup of commitments. On reflection, I feel need more practice with the coaching! Basing our conversation on the GROW model, we got as far as identifying the ‘goal’ (I didn’t pin down its SMARTness, but in my view it was definitely achievable), the ‘reality’ and a couple of ‘options’. But then I was too easily distracted by the number of beautiful specimens of the compass jellyfish that had been washing up on the beach since we’d been in the area.
These jellyfish change from male to female as they get older and have 16 dark V-shaped lines coming out of its centre. They do sting, apparently…
We came across evidence of horse riding at which point I lamented that it’s been far too long since I’ve ridden across a huge expanse of beach like this, the last time being about 13 years ago on the Puttsborough-Woolacombe beach in north Devon. I’d love to revisit that again. Although, as I recall, my now-husband and I were pretty paralysed for about three days afterwards, so maybe some sessions to reintroduce our muscles to what is required would be in order before we let ourselves loose on a galloping beach.
After a very flat and straightish walk between big dunes and rolling surf, we made it to the other end and landed at the Bluff Inn where we rewarded ourselves with delicious food and drink. Unfortunately no local beers, which was a great shame, so I had to resort to something mass produced. A pint of Korev would have gone down a treat.
I must offer my lovely friend a return visit with the coaching, just in case I can offer any value! Maybe not on a beautiful beach next time.