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Today's walkitcornwall quote

  "Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend" - Albert Camus.

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We really have had a wonderful walking tour. Good times together and enjoying each others company.

– William and Hedy, Singapore

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Walking blog: The philosophy of walking

Sensory overload at Holywell Bay cave

sun in the sea hollowmussels strident coloursholywell-bay-textures-3

Are we so used to the artificiality that technology can create in its attempt (sometimes almost successfully) to outdo the wonder and awe of nature that when faced with the reality of natural creation we think that surely whatever we are experiencing with all our heightened senses is not real? I often struggle with superlatives, feeling inadequate to describe the sensory overload I feel in encountering something natural and untouched by anything other than nature itself. This is true of my engagement with the enclosed space of the Holywell Bay cave.

The tides today determined the walk choice as Martin (from Adventureline) and I timed it so that we could explore the caves on Holywell Bay and Porth Joke and savour the spiritual qualities of the grotto that has produced the holy well, which gives the bay its name. The tide was out so we walked, having virtually the beach to ourselves and left the massive dunes for our return amble. With time as our spur we headed straight for the cave where for centuries its waters have been the source of pilgrimage by many infirm and sick people from near and afar. The pilgrims would try to climb the stepped calcareous formations into the womb like chamber at the apex of the ascent. Some would leave their crutches close to the entrance and enter. This geological wonder is a natural shrine formed over millions of years by the constant dripping of water through the weak local slate rock forming stalactite drips. It is rumoured that the water is used for baptisms to this day. It must be one of the only wells that is cleansed daily by tidal currents only to expose its beauty on very low tides.

For the record we carried on to Porth Joke over to Crantock Beach to the carvings and poem in the cave “Mar not my face, but let me be, secure in this lone cavern by the sea, let the wild waves around me roar, kissing my lips forever more”. We followed the Gannel along the rivers edge as the tide was starting to come in, up to the road to Penpol, through Crantock to Treago farm campsite and over Cubert Common to the dunes behind Holywell Beach.

Looking at all the photos taken on the walk, it seems I was in “texture” mode. The three photos include sunlight on the sea trapped in a hollow, wet sand ringed like marble and the strident colours of the mussels.

martin in the holywell bay cave
cave formations of holywell bay