One of my new year’s resolutions was to try and get out-and-about more often to find more geocaches. For the uninitiated, geocaching is a hobby where a person goes off to find a hidden box; this can be in rural areas, such as the countryside and moors, or in urban areas. There isn’t anything particularly interesting or of value in these boxes, other than a logbook for the finder to sign. It is mostly a daft idea, but yet since 2014 I’ve been hooked with the finding of plastic boxes, especially when the map shows a sea of smiling faces for every box found. However, during 2018 my find number dramatically dropped, from an average of 300-400 to just over 100. So, the aim was to simply get out more often, do a bit of “hands-on” history on the way, and to rack up more numbers.
Luckily, I was well placed in January 2019: I didn’t return to college until the 7th, and I was placed in Cornwall with a juicy big trail to complete: this is the Saints Way. I managed to find 40 geocaches, all the way enjoying a big walk with the dog. Along the way I became stuck in a boggy mire, walked alongside a farm, and trudged in a field of cows. And even better, there was much “hands-on” history to be had.
The Saints Way itself is located in the middle of Cornwall, running around the Luxulyan valley and down to the south coast at Fowey. I walked in a circular route for about 3 hours to complete a sizeable chunk of it. It is a trail rooted in history, with it being theorised as being a probable route of early Christian travellers in the land. It appears that they used Cornwall as a stop-off when travelling between Ireland and mainland Europe. It was interesting to walk in the footsteps of these ancient “saints”, and I tried picturing the countless others who have walked on these paths – centuries ago as well as more recently. Especially on uncovering old styles and abandoned relics of the recent past.
Ultimately, I survived the walk and returned to a warm home and food. I hope to continue on with the trail in the spring of this year, to find more little plastic boxes and to walk on the same steps as the saints of Cornwall’s history.