Wednesday, 18 March 2009

An Evening Walk

The last four days have been beautiful with clear blue skies and a hike in the temperature. Today dawned foggy and the day remained hazy even after it became sunny and warm. The earth seems to have warmed enough to give up it's water and it shrouds the land gently. And it was even warmer, it was lovely.

I got out of work a little early after a hectic day and I had to go walk. I walked in the door, picked up a lead and walked out again with Little Dog in tow. I knew everyone would be going for a walk this evening and I didn't want to go somewhere where they would all be. I needed to go inland, where people tend to neglect, and I wanted to walk in the sun and open air, not somewhere shaded under the trees.

I decided to go to the Red River at Menaderva, just outside a small village called Kehelland. We didn't see a soul. We walked to the music of the river and were serenaded by birds with every step. The long path beside the river had the sun traveling along it's length and hordes of insects were living their short lives in the heat rising from the baked path. As we walked back along the path, the sun cast long shadows in the orange light. The air had that glorious warm, sweet, alive quality and it was so clear and fresh that I just wanted to take huge gulps. I could almost taste it.

The Red River drains from the heavy mining areas of Camborne and Redruth and was named the Red River as the mines which it drained caused it to be full of metals which would settle out and coat the river with iron. I could give you a science lesson on this and I probably will one day but i can't remember all the details and I don't have time to look them up right now and chemistry isn't what I want to talk about right now!

The metallic particles the river carried were worth a little effort to reclaim though and in it's lower reaches the river was used for tin streaming. The tin ores from further upstream had caused the river to make the riverbed of the lower reaches of the river an easy source of tin ore. The river was manipulated through different ponds and canals as the base of the valley was scoured for ore. The water was used to seperate the heavier metallic ore and other material.

The river itself currently runs between two walls along this stretch and has a steady flow. A path was built along one of the riverbanks and this is high enough to remain dry. Both banks of the river have been left to nature and only for a little way is there fields adjoining the river. Woods and heath and willow carr sit on both sides. The old ponds and canals have been reclaimed and willows grow in and around them, draped in lichens and moss and reminiscent of some primeval swamp. The higher land is wooded or where the soil is poor, as a result of high metal content probably, gorse and heather has taken over.

The path itself is wide and bright and you could drive a land rover down it. To either side there is no sign of humans really doing anything very much at all any more. The gorse was covered in yellow flowers and yellow daffs and primroses were all over the place. Yellow celandines sat in some hedges. Everywhere was yellow and green and brown with the sun casting and orange glow. Just before I got back to the car I spotted some violets.

I couldn't see what most birds were as the sun was low in the sky so that birds flying were a whirr of feathers and light. Stationary birds glowed orange. Two Canadian Geese flew overhead telling me their names, with their loud honks. I think i saw some wood doves to and maybe a robin but it was hard to tell. The bird song rivalled the dawn chorus of many places and I wish I could identify birds from the songs.

It was a beautiful magical walk that left me happy, with a deep sense of contentment. I came home and bathed in lavender, chamomile and hops with a cup of tea and some chocolate... Bliss...

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