Rides bikes, paddles sea kayaks, takes pictures. Life on the road & my home in Cornwall.
Mental Health Loop
The town I live in has been, and still is, the butt of many jokes within Cornwall. With the collapse of the tin mining industry its fortunes declined dramatically and it became ripe fodder for jokes around the perceived lack of ‘sophistication’ of the heart of west Cornwall. It is a poor area, walk inland a couple of km from the wealth on the coast and you’ll find one of the most deprived areas of the UK, and the only part of England to qualify for support from the EU’s regional development fund. In the context of a Cornwall that has been largely gutted by the second home phenomenon, and turned into something of a luxury theme park, it turns out that from a personal perspective it is not an entirely bad thing that it is this way.
Unlike many coastal ex-communities the place I live, despite a rich cultural heritage, is not considered “desirable”, which means it is still a friendly, functioning community, entirely independent of tourism, with a usefully stocked high street, and is just far enough inland (about 3km I think as the crow flies), to mean that housing is still just about affordable. It also means that I have access to a super ‘escape route’ for those moments when I cannot stand to look at another line of code and just have to get away from my desk, or for when life is simply getting me down. I’ve come to think of it as my ‘mental health loop’. A ride that packs in lots of that which does me good into a very short distance. 30km of mixed road and trail that has dense forest, open farmland, booming coastal views, birds, and dependent on season.. lots of mud, or dust. It doesn’t need much more than an hour away from my desk, but usually soaks up much longer because there wouldn’t be any point in having swapped a career for self-employment if it didn’t. Cornwall doesn’t have wilderness and an extensive trail network to lose yourself on but there are some terrific little pockets of goodness that can be made the most of, and for which I am grateful.