Challenging Habitat Blog

Strictly socially distanced by length of paddles and exercise on the water can be a very enjoyable event.

It’s almost a mini-adventure!

Blue sky, sunshine and a fresh wind in my face: happy moments and feeling alive.

One of the few benefits of working part-time from home during lockdown is the ability to arrange my working hours around the weather and tide.

Within reason, of course.

So today, just before 9 am, I carried my paddle board down to the board walk of my neighbours for an hour or so on the water.

Tranquil and beautiful, some sunshine and a shower, lapwings and snipes, good exercise and fresh air…

…a perfect ‘getting away from it all’ for the mind during a global pandemic when for most of us, our favourite distractions are unattainable.

My home being my office now, a true break from work necessarily also means to break the association with the space I work in.

So, I feel it increasingly beneficial to make time during the day to leave the building behind for a while, let thoughts about work fall away, to return to it refreshed and energised and grateful for the opportunity.

Some more rain today, mizzle changing into light rain with the occasional heavy shower…

… what’s happening to me?

So very British, going on about the weather!

Walking the dog remains an essential and welcome part of my day, whatever the weather.

And if it gets a little too wet in my face, I’ll look to the ground and focus on the signs of spring – looking forward to the daffodils blossoming soon all around me!

Sometimes, even I have to admit that it is a little bit unpleasant outdoors.

Like today.

I walked out with heavy rain and wind on my back and returned walking into it.

A couple of miles and even my dog had enough.

And yet…a breeze of fresh air filling my lungs, a stretch and brisk walk is invigorating, energising and ultimately, uplifting.

Even in the rain :)

Caradon Hill is just about 7 miles from my parish, and what’s good enough for Boris is good enough for me (well, I’ll restrict that to distance permitted to venture from home during lockdown, nothing else).

So off I went and enjoyed rambling over to the Cheesewring, avoiding paths and and taking a long route back via the Hurlers, a neolithic monument of three circles of standing stones.

Good air, spectacular views and space!

Plenty of industrial heritage, too: abandoned granite quarries with the sleepers of their tramlines more or less intact and engine houses that serviced the metal mining industry of the late 19th and early 20th centuries partially ruined.

The only industry that remains today is hill farming, and who knows how long that will survive now, without EU grants and subsidies?

A clear view over the English Channel from Rame Head.

On Thursday, we could see as far as the Lizard Peninsula, some 40 miles away.

Whether it was legal to drive there under the current lockdown has become murky, with two friends being fined for separately driving to meet for a walk, and while that’s being clarified, I’ll return to walking my local lanes.

Living by the banks of the Tamar estuary is a privilege I am immensely grateful for.

During lockdown, while working part-time from home, it allows me to nip out and spend an hour or two on the water around high tide.

It’s beautiful and calming.

It eases the eye fatigue that relentless online work inflicts on me.

Quietly paddling along, an egret gracefully crossed the river in front of me, brilliant white in the bright sun.

Snow on Dartmoor in the sunshine is a rare treat, and particularly appreciated on the first day of the new year.

Simply beautiful!

On this sunny and showery December morning, Dartmoor presents itself in dramatic light.

Tucked up in my waterproof clothing, I enjoy the expansive vistas from the top of tors as much as the differences in small details: lichen and mosses here, funghi on a rotting stump, the rocks, spongy bog, puddles or tussock grass underfoot.

It’s so good to be able to come here for a long walk with my dog and enjoy nature!

The sea!


Always different.

Always awesome.

Drawn to it.

Even on a grey November morning being on the water is wonderfully good for my soul.

The last mist is lifting over the still water and faint song of birds is all around.

Leaves have changed colour and fallen since I’ve last been here, only beech and oak are holding on.

The reeds lost their gold.

A flash of electric blue and green across the water and into the reeds. It lights up my face with a big smile – to see a kingfisher is pure happiness!

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