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Reflections at the half-way mark

#MarksGoingForAWalk - Update 17 December 2022

The completion of the Southwest Coast Path is becoming like an approach to life. The Path yet to come undulates and stretches ahead in the imagination, while at the same time one can look back at the physical path, maps of the path, and photos and memories of the path already completed. Knowledge of the path behind can only inform, not change, the path ahead - except in my approach to it.

The theme of emergence is strong during a long walk of this kind. A whole life can be explored in microcosm; the journey of the walk a physical metaphor for life’s successes and failures, small and large. At the same time massive global events unfold around one, marking the journey with conjunctions of influences that compost into memories. A war in Europe, the death of a Queen, several governments in quick succession. All played out moment to moment, or mile by mile; each mile building something in me that is both new and old.

I left the last stage in late September at The Lizard in Cornwall, almost exactly half- way in distance covered (303 miles), and exactly half-way in number of days completed (26 of 52).

As we move into winter, the whole of the southern exposure of the Coast Path lies ahead, now approaching known and lived areas such as Torbay, Exmouth (where I grew up), and Dorset. Gone the baking, airless days of summer - now comes the real test as rain, wind, and even snow pile against the effort of stretching out one’s legs. New and even more precarious moments approach."



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