Looking back to Probus

Looking back to Probus

As I start to revisit my five week walk on the Camino de Santiago de Compestella I realise that I have spent the last week without getting out for a good walk. The bad weather and the arrival of a nine week old puppy have conspired to confine me to the house except for brief forays to the village shop. Today, as the December sun breaks through, I cannot resist doing a walk that I can start from my front door. It will take me through my village of Probus to Tressilian and then I will follow the river to St Clements, Malpas  aand on into the lovely city of Truro. From there a bus will bring me back to Probus. At about 9 miles it will get the walking juices going again.

Probus church spire in the distance

Probus church spire in the distance

P1020636I set out and could start with a pint in the local pub ‘The Hawkins Arms’ but head off down hill through the Green and over the Ladock Road to take the footpath that takes me up over recently cropped fields. The sun is low in a clearing sky and is sending rich shadows across a wide landscape. I look back to see the spire of Probus church ( the tallest in Cornwall ) as it nestles in the village on the top of the hill across the valley.

through woods

through woods

The track takes me down into a hidden valley and through some woodland. The ground is wet and a stream runs through it to join the little river that is crossed by a small bridge. The recent heavy rains have made this a torrent today and it is easy to see why an ancient millhouse is found nestling in the woods.

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The track passes under the railway viaduct and passes grazing sheep until I approach the village of Tressilian after a little less than an hour walking.

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I stop for a coffee at the welcoming garden centre cafe rather than stopping at the thatched pub ‘The Wheel’ before setting off along the river estuary from Tressilian to St Clements.

 

looking back to Tressilian

looking back to Tressilia

 

The tide is out and the mud has a curious beauty as it reflects the dying sunlight and has long shadows highlighting the course of the river and its small tributaries. The path is fringed by ancient oaks and ash trees through which the myriads of wading birds can be seen as they make the most of the dying light, feeding and calling out to each other. This section of walk is a bird watcher’s paradise. I look out for the kingfisher on the little lake about halfway along the track but this shy bird is not to be seen today.

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I am soon at St. Clements and cannot resist a piece of homemade ginger cake and coffee at the newly opened coffee shop. The church at St. Clements is a hidden delight but I won’t have time to visit today as I make my way along the muddy track that follows the river around to Malpas. This is a magical stretch as I walk into a setting sun that lights up the gnarled oak tress and the still waters of a low tide.

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boats at St Clements

boats at St Clements

Two hours out of Probus and I am at the Heron Inn in Malpas enjoying the view down the river which splits here, one branch flowing into Truro and the other back to Tressilian. There is time for a swift pint of Tribute Ale before setting off to follow the river bank for the final couple of miles into Truro.

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As I walk the sun sets over the opposite bank and the mud and water it bathed in pink for a few moments before the light starts to fade and I can see the lights of Truro in the distance. My last mile is spent in conversation with a young guy who is living in his camper van on one of the car parks on the banks of the river. He has chosen this lifestyle and has been all over Europe in his mobile home. He tells me there is nowhere he has found that is a picturesque and welcoming as Cornwall.

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After a little under four hours I am at the bus station in Truro. As I ride back to Probus on the bus – a journey that takes a mere twenty minutes – I cannot help agreeing with this traveller’s sentiments. Have I really seen anything on my travels to rival the tranquil beauty of this walk today?

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