Fundraiser and professional walk-leader from Cornwall, Stephanie Boon, knows that Trails can’t live on love alone. Here she tells us why she is so keen to give something back to the SWCPA and how you can join her on her 10 mile hikes (photos her own).
“Are you ready for one of the most incredible hikes you’ll ever do? I hope so, because when you swing your rucksack on your back and step onto the Cornish Coast Path for the first time, you’re about to fall in love! And it’ll pull at your heartstrings for ever…
Lockdown was lifting and the weather forecast was good for the coming weekend, so what else was I going to do? It’s a no-brainer when you’re a hiker and your home’s in Cornwall: you pack a rucksack and jump on a train for a short journey to St Ives and then you walk to Penzance. 40 miles, 2 nights and endless breath-taking moments guaranteed.
And it turned out the weather wasn’t just good that weekend, it was superb for two full days. I hiked in glorious sunshine that turns the sea to a tropical turquoise so clear you can see pebbles and rocks in perfect detail from the cliffs above. I watched seals breaking the waves and gulls swerving with perfect precision to land on sheer cliff faces. Lizards scuttled across my path, kestrels kept watch from their lookouts and stonechats kept me company all the way. But the best wildlife encounter that weekend was undoubtedly seeing a pair of Cornish choughs. I came up some steep steps and there they were digging about on the cliff tops right in of me. Just me and Cornwall’s most iconic bird.
St Ives to Penzance is a tough section to hike: rocky paths, boulders to clamber over and seemingly endless uneven steps up and down steep coves. It’s more remote than other sections too and once you’re past larger villages or tourist spots like Land’s End or Botallack Mine you might see no-one for miles on end. And that’s what I love: a chance to escape the world and be completely immersed in the natural environment. And you need do nothing more than step off a train and walk west.
After long months of comparative inactivity I felt rejuvenated by the time I got home, like I’d pressed the reset button! My mood had lifted, my sleep pattern was better and I felt more focused and alive. But that’s what the South West Coast Path does. Every time. And that’s why I’m fundraising to help with it’s upkeep, because it’s gives me so much. It’s medicine when I’m ill (I have chronic depression) and it’s my lifeblood when I’m not, which is how so many people feel about this amazing trail.
I’ve walked all 630 miles, but Cornwall is my home and I’d love to share a bit of it with you, so why not join me for a walk and help me raise some money? I’m a qualified (and fully insured) walking group leader and I’ve got some amazing 8-10 mile (4-6 hour) circular routes planned over the next few months on the north Cornwall coast. All you have to do is make a small donation to the SWCP Association, put on your walking shoes and be prepared to fall in love with the most incredible landscape! Contact me via my Virgin Money Giving page, or email me at stephie@10milehike for details. I can’t wait to share some of my favourite places with you.”
You can register your own fundraiser like Stephanie’s at the SWCPA website to receive personal fundraising support and a fundraising pack.