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Today's walkitcornwall quote

  "I have the world's largest collection of seashells. I keep it on all the beaches of the world... perhaps you've seen it." — Steven Wright

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I want to say again thank you so much for making my first visit to Cornwall in more years than I care to remember so memorable.

– Helen M, UK

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My personal philosophy of walking

Walking by numbers 01: The mathematics of nature.

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I talk a lot about multi sensory walks. However it struck me today on my walk into the office that one interpretation and a basic, almost childlike, enjoyment of a familiar walk that appeals to the "keen rotarian" in me is the mathematical variance one can make on a familiar walk that has resonance on other levels.

In short the number of steps one takes or indeed the number of actual concrete steps up or down to precise points of the walk have a familiarity and mathematical preciseness that may or may not have any importance other than the one you give it. But what the hell it is fun and today on my first walk from my new home to the office made me smile, encouraging a less than serious blog about walking. I foresee that on future wanderings to the office it will also be addictive as the numbers game can be manipulated, changed, varied and interpreted as I vary the walk.

Ok, a few lines that are the serious bit. The mathematics of nature have been interpreted by mathematicians from Euclid and Pythagoras to Fibonacci and Mandelbrot to assert that there are patterns in nature. This has bought us fractals and various "Rules" like the Fibonacci rule that are manifest in nature. The visual beauty of nature is often a mathematically precise or predictable pattern. Indeed mathematical rules often explain "natural phenomena" that include meandering rivers, cloud formations, water spouts, waves and sand dunes. Sometimes our awe and wonder can be explained in mathematical terms.

Now back to the fun and todays morning walk. 19 minutes walk all uphill, 183 concrete steps which I could vary up or down in number but this was the logical walk from a to b. At step 72 of constant steps up there is a flat straight part before more steps. 72. Hmmm, that rings a bell. Ah, yes. When I taught piano, I taught the "magic 72". These are the 12 notes in a scale, major and minor and the three inversions of each major/minor chord. Total 72. Cue inward smile, lost to everybody else. Yes folks I am easily pleased and entertained. Smug as a bug in a .......rugged landscape. Hold on 183. That was the number bus that went past my door so many years ago which I never caught as I was more often than not walking the route instead. Yes, the words, straws and clutching do come to mind.

However, the joy of walking allows ones mind to wander as much as ones feet and what is possibly a fleeting idea becomes a ritual, a game, a sense of order and science. For anyone walking without any thought to what they are doing, a walk might just seem to be something to be overcome, to be finished to get from a to b. Yes, it is an overload of images, disconnected from a precise order and a small part of a whole. But it is also mathematically a number of Euclidian propositions due to the lines and angles you make on the journey. Have fun with numbers on your walk.