Thursday 25 September 2014

A little bit of Nature

Hello chums, back again. No new drawings this time, although i am working on something at the moment, you'd better follow me on Instagram for sneak peaks! No today i thought i'd tell you all a little bit about one of my favourite places on this here planet that we all live on. Fortunately this place happens to be about a fifteen minute walk from my house, which is handy seeing as i love it so much!

Those of you that have followed me for a long time will know that i'm always rambling on about how pretty everything is here on the Isle of Man. It's no secret that those of us lucky enough to live here are constantly surrounded with lovely scenery and sea views from pretty much every direction (if you walk up a hill high enough this is definitely true!)

I'm sure i've mentioned before that I myself live right next to Ballaglass Glen (just one of the island's beautiful Glen's). Well it's been a while since I had a walk through the Glen by myself so I packed some fruit (for snacks!) and went off on a wander along the Public Footpath last thursday and again today this afternoon.

It was a tiny bit chiller today than the sunny, balmy day i walked last week but both days gave similar views of the lovely Glen. Despite being a Winter lover I know there might not be too many warm sun filled days left so it seemed as good a time as any for a walk, seeing as i have very little else to do all day other than to sit in my room reading, painting or watching netflix!

To get to the Glen from my house you have to trudge up a hill to turn a corner then sort of follow the path back on yourself, over two wooden gates, past some fields of Horses until you reach a lovely tree tunnel at the end of which you'll find the entrance to the Glen, just across the electric railway tracks. Walking the path is like being in a fairytale story, at any moment it feels like you might spot a fairy whizzing past your head.

The path to the Glen is often overgrown and uneven but it's a nice walk, especially when the blackberry bushes are full of fruit waiting to be picked, the path is lined with blackberry bushes taller than me. My fingers were stained purple-black by the time I actually reached the Glen! The berries were delicious.

When you walk down the steps into the Glen the sounds of the outside world are cut off, the trees keep out the nearby noises of traffic and cattle, as well as most of the sunlight, except for a few dappled patches collecting on the leaves and mossy rocks or whatever funghi have managed to stake a claim.

Colour blooms there, in the leaves above and below, even the sky seems bluer glimpsed sporadically through the branches. The ground is alight, a riotous carpet of fallen leaves glinting in a myriad of colours underfoot. It's even better once Autumn has fully taken hold, sinking its fingers into the earth, when the sunlight catches the leaves everywhere looks wreathed in flame.

I've grown up visiting the Glen, living so close to it I would often find my way there on weekends, in school holidays or after school if I needed somewhere quiet to think. I often feel like it's a sanctuary for me away from anything I might think or feel at home. It's a place to escape. And i think we all need a little place to escape to every once in a while.

No matter what troubles I carry with me on the way there, they begin to evaporate and dissipate as I walk deeper into the trees, climbing down to hop across the rocks toward the riverbed beneath the bridge where the water is quiet. It's as though the river carries my worries away with it as it burbles past, so that by the time I reach one of the louder roaring cascades of water further downstream my worries have been washed away.

I think one of the reasons i like it in there so much is because everything feels so old, so ancient. I know next to nothing about trees and woodland but i know that the Cornaa river has carved it's way through the Glen for a very long time, according to the Glen's history "The rock is grey flagstone formed from sand and mud deposited over 400 million years ago."

From the path I choose to take, you follow the Glen downwards with the river, up and down, under branches, over rocks, descending gradually until you pass through a shaded trail of horse chestnut trees, so naturally I took a moment to collect a few conkers on my way past!

The path continues to slope ever downwards through a rocky trail strewn with fallen leaves (and conkers!), if you look carefully you'll spot a Christmas tree growing amongst the Holly, although right now it's only decorated with browning fallen leaves and veiled cobwebs. There are benches at which to stop and catch your breath but you mustn't quit until you reach the clearing and the Wizard.

I said a quick hello, asked him about his books, and left him a conker.

Now usually i turn around at this point and take the other path back through the Glen but today I felt like maybe I could go a little further. All that was waiting for me at home was photoshop and a stack of books which somehow seemed less inviting than a walk in the patchy sunshine. If you carry on past the Glen you can follow the Coastal Footpath to Port Cornaa, which is precisely what I set out to do.

The coastal path is just as pretty as the Glen path, albeit slightly more uneventful. You're surrounded on both sides by towering trees, old stone walls and rolling fields. The wind stirred the leaves around my feet as I walked, following the winding river toward where it meets the Irish Sea.

It's a bit of a hike (for the eternally un-fit such as myself it is anyway!) but it's worth it for the views, and the peace. There are hardly any distractions on the walk, save for the sound of the odd tractor or a dog barking, carried on the wind from a nearby farm. It takes me about an hour to walk from the middle of the Glen to the beach at Port Cornaa, but it's a lovely walk and it definitely clears your head. Which is something I tend to need to do, a lot.

The beach itself consists entirely of pebbles (okay, and the rare patch of dark sand), so it's not the prettiest or most comfortable of seaside spots in which to spend the day, it is however incredibly calming and peaceful. In a tiny enclosed bay you can just sit and listen to the waves wash in and out, tracing their path across the rocks. All you have is the stones at your feet, the sea and the sky, stretching on for eternity. It's sights like these that make me thankful i live in such a place, it might be a bit grey sometimes and it's not exactly tropically warm, but it's my island home, and i'm very proud of it.

Anyway, i perched on the stones for a while, chomped down the tangerine i packed in my bag and let my feet rest a little before gearing myself up for the walk home. It's a lovely downhill walk to the Sea but almost entirely uphill on the way back, not that i'm complaining, the colours called out to me as i walked, my head cleared thanks to the fresh sea air and i was a placidly smiling fool by the time i made it back through the Glen. Nothing calms me down as much as nature.

Through the Glen i climbed and scrambled up, tripping over the gnarled tree roots, slipping on the fallen leaves, ambling onwards and upwards until i reached the path home. It's strange but somehow the blackberry bushes seemed even more inviting on the walk back.

Fortunately they were everywhere, so it seemed rude not to help myself to a little bundle, they were surrounding me, what was i supposed to do, just ignore them?! I think not.

In the end I made it home and had a nice cup of green tea + the blackberries mashed onto a slice of brown toast (trust me, it tasted AMAZING!) and now here I am a few hours later writing this all up for you to read. I know I tend to ramble on a bit but I hope you enjoyed my recount of the walk, it's the only way I could think of to let you all experience the Glen with me.

Next time i visit i'm sure the weather will have turned dreary, Autumn will tighten its grip and winters claws will be beginning to scratch their way through the trees. Living so close to such a place allows me to witness the ever changing colours, sights and sounds. So expect another glimpse into the Glen over the coming months.

And for now i can't think of anything else to say, i'm tired but happy and for now, that seems enough.

thanks for reading, until next time, cheerio!

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