Sunday, 3rd May 2015 (Day 7, week 17)
Aiming to walk 1000 miles in a year
Total so far: 327.1 miles (10.8 this week)
It’s been a struggle to get out this week, a couple of days at work seems to have left me tired and lethargic. I know that a walk would make me feel better but the weather has been uninspiring and it seems easier to stay at home and sew!
Having decided against a planned walk yesterday after waking up to a steady downpour, today we ventured out anyway in thick fog and heavy drizzle, and we’re glad we did. The rain and fog faded away as we neared our starting point and the sun even managed to struggle through the clouds for part of the way.
I had a sudden yearning to return to Gillan Harbour, it’s such a pretty place. So we walked from Porthallow and returned via the coast path. We did this walk a while ago – back in March when Spring was just thinking about springing. Today all the Spring flowers were flowering and after a day and night of rain, everything looked fresh and bright. We finished up with lunch at The Fat Apples Cafe, a lucky find just up the hill out of Porthallow. (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Fat-Apples-Cafe/546104682095795)
Porthallow circular via Gillan and Nare Point (5 miles)
We begin walking inland along a valley with a gradual climb through fields and woodland. Its very damp, but the recent warm weather, followed by rain has transformed the wooded sides of this valley from brown to bright green.
The field has some interesting wild flowers nestling in the grass:
The Lousewort is described by John Gerard, the 16th century herbalist who agreed with the commonly held belief that the plant infested sheep with lice. Whilst there is no evidence that this is true, it is likely that this plant does transmit the liver fluke, a parasitic worm that rots the livers of sheep. The liver flukes are carried by snails which cling to the vegetation and are transferred to the sheep when they graze. The lousewort is also a ‘hemi-parasite’ – its roots cling to the roots of grasses extracting water and minerals from them. Nice plant!
The Bugle was also described by a herbalist – Nicholas Culpeper – who wrote The Complete Herbal in the 17th century. He advised that a syrup of this plant should be kept at all times as it heals all kinds of wounds – ‘thrusts and stabs, as well as ulcers and broken bones’. It was also highly recommended for combating the ‘delirious tremblings’ caused by excessive drinking and is noted for being one of the mildest and best narcotics in the world. Obviously a preferable plant to have around than one that transmits liver fluke!
The path through the wood is covered by a boardwalk and this winds its way through the primeval looking trees and over streams. Look at all the lichen on this tree….more about lichen later!
An uphill tramp and a couple of stiles take us out onto the road past a farm, bypassing some safely fenced cows and spotting a moth fluttering in the hedgerow on the way.
Crossing one of the stiles we looked down at the post to see that a whole family of snails had taken up residence inside it:
Shortly we start downhill through more pretty woodland, lined with banks of bluebells and stitchwort, to Gillan Harbour where, to our surprise a flock of chickens are scratching in the seaweed:
After a quick look around we tackle a series of steep steps leading to the coast path with its excellent views across Falmouth Bay.
There are more egrets and a heron on the rocks, and a parcel of linnet nervously flittering about amongst the trees and shrubs.
The path crosses a conservation area, passes Nare Point with its coastguard station and winds its way through woods and across fields back to Porthallow. On the way – more lichen.
Mr RR has bought me a new book all about lichen to add to my growing nature library, and its very interesting! They aren’t simple plants like mosses you know, but mini-ecosystems containing at least two organisms living symbiotically. No-one knows how many species there are on Earth – there isn’t a list. Its estimated that there may be over 30,000 and the British lichen is the best known in the world.
Anyway – I shall be regaling you with new facts about lichen as we travel on!
Meanwhile, we’re back in Porthallow and a very hairy friend is there to welcome us back although he’s a little disappointed to find there’s nothing to eat in the boot of the car:
Associated Artwork for Ricketyrambler by Andrew Major: