Day 21: Pendower to Falmouth

A leisurely 9 mile walk from Pendower to Falmouth, via Portscatho, Porthbeor, and St Anthony Head. I swam at Porthbeor – a house favourite, and was joined by an inquisitive playful seal. I also re-met a couple of German women who I’d passed ten days ago going the opposite way round the coast. From just above the lighthouse at St Anthony I got my first view of home. In my family we observe the Catholic tradition of praying to St Anthony for the return of things lost – I imagine this tradition to be connected to the lighthouse. From Place I took the little ferry to St Mawes, and from there the main ferry across the Carrick Roads to Custom House Quay where Becky and Andy were waiting for me with a glass of wine. In the last three weeks I’ve walked over 300 miles of coast and border, and over 400 miles in total. Bath time.

On Falmouth
Today I returned to Falmouth and home to Penryn (an older smaller town 25 minutes walk up the estuary). Falmouth and Penryn are culturally and historically rich towns, port and dock towns, university towns, places of business and trade, with a busy cosmopolitan feel all year round.

My thoughts go to the new academic year – tomorrow I’m moving into my new office on the Falmouth campus. I’m excited to be moving to the town campus – it feels more like an art school and both the architecture and atmosphere are more conducive to creativity. Rupert showed me a blog post of some old photos of Woodlane, back when Redgrove was there – it looked a lot of fun. I’m looking forward too, to swimming in the waters of home. I’m reminded of Redgrove’s lines on Maenporth beach:

‘The black rooks coo like doves, new suns beam
From every droplet of the shattering waves,
From every crystal of the shattered rock.
Drenched in the mud, pure white rejoiced,
From this collision were new colours born,
And in their slithering passage to the sea
The shrugged-up riches of deep darkness sang.’

Herring Gull, Cormorant, Gannet, Great Black Backed Gull, Wood Pigeon, Magpie, Black Headed Gull, Pied Wagtail, Shag, Carrion Crow, Blackbird, Rook, House Sparrow, Robin, Oystercatcher, Stonechat, Collared Dove, Swallow, House Martin, Little Egret, Common Gull, Bluetit, Goldfinch, Song Thrush, Kestrel, Peregrine Falcon, Buzzard, Rock Dove, Jackdaw

Wild Animals
Atlantic Grey Seal

crossing the carrick roads

when the truro green superstructure
flushes into deep mackerel browns
and blue-grey for castle commissioners

then camouflage the peninsula
with prominent fish balls
hide the outlands in plain sight

when greenshanks pass pendennis
in a september hex
of stolen wheels to port

give blue directions to railway cod
tack through the camellias
polish the ornate legs –

when the grebe tails livid
and shags need the creek
to wreck on trafalgar falmouth

then launch the dull ships
built in the glimpse
load them with mail pipes

when the cellars float their towers
stripy stock blazoned on the flags
above the docks for shallow pumping

then release the ship predators
daub the buoys in winter wax
spawn your deep purpose – a cross