A Cornish Pilgrimage – Falmouth
The road veers right and begins the steady climb to the heady heights of Pendennis Point. My modest car huffs and puffs as traffic files patiently behind me. A barrier to my left clouds the seascape and the temptation to peep is too immense. I stop the car and stride eagerly to the wall and peer over. The scene is impressive, revealing a small section of old Falmouth harbour. A vast warship, presumably undergoing maintenance prior to setting out to defend the shores dominates the visible harbour view.
As the road continues to twist and climb en route for the summit, hungry seagulls swoop overhead, groups ever-increasing as we approach the peak and assembled tourists. Surprisingly, parking is free, hence I immediately set off to take in the diverse panorama at the top.
The journey to the summit merits every second. To the north lie the Falmouth docks and an abundance of vessels anticipating their next voyage on the open sea. Facing eastwards, the eye is drawn to the glut of yachts spread throughout Falmouth Bay, sailing freely in the steady sea breeze. In the distance sits the appealing little town of St Mawes, a mile or so across the water.
“Magnificent view over there,” remarks an elderly fellow standing beside me, gesticulating towards the yachting event and its zealous sailors. I smile in acknowledgement as he shuffles back to his car and his waiting wife. I frequently wonder if folks living here fully appreciate such magnificent surroundings or if the beauty becomes taken for granted. Coming from central England, the sea has always held fascination with me, vacations to the coast forever keenly anticipated.
Look due south and on a clear day your eye is drawn along the magnificent, rugged coastline leading to Lizard Point, the most southerly part of Britain. As the wind howls and pounds the shoreline, a flock of seagulls unleash a cacophony of sound, daily rituals unperturbed by the resident tourist.
While the road twists and turns back towards sea level, my thoughts drift to the competing yachts, racing in the bay. What a wonderfully liberating sensation it must be sailing open sea. Envy races through my mind, but my thoughts return to the road. I’m heading west along the A394 to where my dad claims to have had the finest pint of ale in Britain Helston.