Turquoise seas and sunny days in Cornwall are not the first things that spring to mind when talking about the UK, known the world over for its rainy days and grey clouds. However, this is exactly what I got when I went to England's most southern tip of Cornwall.
I spent four days hiking in different places across the county, and each had its own character and beauty.
Ancient Woodlands of Cornwall
On my first day I found myself in the depths of ancient woodland. The weather was more of the grey variety this day but it somehow served only to enhance the vibrancy of the colors rather than to take away from it. The trees oozed greenness, each one covered in layer upon layer of moss and ivy and the forest floor was peppered in dazzling blue from hundreds of small bluebell flowers sprinkled and scattered across it.
The following day I could have been in another world. Gone were the trees and instead there were quaint farmer's fields divided up like a bad patchwork quilt; typical scenes of British paintings from years gone by. The colors felt muted somehow, compared to the boldness of the green woodland yesterday.
But it was in my final two days that I fell in love.
Final days in Cornwall
Surrounded on three sides by a beautiful coastline, Cornwall is the perfect location for anyone who, like me, loves the ocean. The landscape was dominated in parts by enormous sea cliffs; rugged ridge lines exploding out of the white water below them and steep towers of rock like stubby fingers reaching for the sky. As I walked along the edge of the cliffs with the sound of the waves crashing below and the rush of the wind in my ears I felt at once like I was precariously balanced on top of the world.
As I followed the path it wove up and down mirroring the lie of the land.
It led me to some of the small coves and secret beaches that litter the edge of the land thanks to the steep cliffs around and create safe havens from the world in which to walk beside and swim in.
Swimming the Seas of Cornwall
The first time I got in I was nervous; the waves were hitting the rocks and ricocheting back into the blue beyond as the waters swirled and the tide turned. It was the Atlantic Ocean after all. But after a few stern words with myself, I stripped off to my underwear and eased my body into the cold water and took a few firm strokes out into the sea.
It took no more than a few more meters of swimming before I turned my gaze away from the open sea ahead and back to the cove I was in. I was over awed and reminded of my futility; a single small being in the shadow of this vast and beautiful world.
After that first dip I jumped in at every opportunity, enjoying the intermittent relief from the burning hot sun that beat down on the path above.
I left Cornwall with salt in my hair, a smile and sun burn!
Written by: Laura Ricketts
Laura loves the wild places of the world and is always looking for journeys that will take her to the remote corners of the globe. She enjoys traveling slowly, taking the time to explore a place before moving on to the next. When she is not writing, she likes to cycle, rock climb and camp on beautiful beaches. Follow her at: www.wanderlustforwildplaces.com
All Photo Credits: Laura Ricketts