Thursday, 17 May 2012

The Sky Tip and Brown Willy

Cassius, the guy at Clay Control, gave us the ok and we wandered our hard-hatted, florescent-jacketed and very thoroughly risk-assessed way onto the abandoned quarry.

Our work led us to the foot of the Sky Tip, a vast old spoil heap that's a local landmark and towers over St Austell. Although vegetated now, it's still basically a big pile of granite gravel. Ferns grew in the rainwater runnels that had been eroded away over the years. It wasn't strictly part of the job - but it had to be done...

The aerial view came in very handy for the surveying work we had to do - an added bonus.

On the way home, on an impulse, I drove up a dead-end road on the edge of Bodmin and headed off for a jog up Brown Willy via Catshole Tor and Brown Willy Downs. It was one of those great simple runs that was made all the better for the lack of planning. There was plenty of tussock hobbling, a fair bit of boggy wet foot action and a good bit of pertex flappery. The route from the downs to the top was surprisingly indistinct and I enjoyed a bit of solitude in the gusts as I took in the views that stretched out over the width of the county.

I'm mindful of something Jim Perrin once wrote in a climbing mag along lines that climbing success isn't measured on "Olympic podia" - "it's in the immediate experience that we mine the pure ore," he said (or words to that effect). Now, Jim loses me sometimes and often uses words that get me reaching for the dictionary, but I like the point he makes which is, I think, in terms of my own running, that you get too tied up trying to become faster and lose touch with the simplicity of running in the hills at your peril.


  1. My thoughts exactly, Matt. There's a New Year's Day Brown Willy run which starts from the Jamaica Inn and follows your route. Not done it for a bit but it's a no numbers/timing job with a St. John's Ambulance collection tin. Good hangover cure.