The Cornish Ballad – Cape Cornwall to Zennor

Walking brings one back to the self, the bodies natural rhythm. It takes us out of our familiar surroundings and puts us in the world, calms the mind and re-connects us to the constant unchanging force which runs deep within. With a calm mind comes insight in its various forms – impression, intuition, inspiration, dream, revelation.

Repeatedly walking a route reinforces our identity and connection to place. We literally carve out our history in the earth and stone and project meaning, significance and value on the paths environs.

Armed with a sound recorder and camera, myself and musician Ed Handley set out from Cape Cornwall to Zennor to gather ideas, inspiration and sounds for the next Compass Series production, The Cornish Ballad.



I’d tried to plan out questions for the walk, but this felt too controlled and restricting at such an early stage in the process. I didn’t want to force an outcome or colour the narrative with my preconceived ideas, which didn’t at the time have a solid foundation or direction. When I was creating Nord Rute I only had an idea of the direction after I had returned to the UK from the reindeer migration in Norway. During the migration I left the recorder running whilst living with the herders and once i’d listened through the recordings, distanced myself from the experience then returned to the recordings, was I able to work out what I needed to ask the herders and poets on my second and third trips back to Norway.

So I decided to invite Ed down to Cornwall without any guidance apart from a written outline of the project, and for us to walk the coast absorbing the surroundings from a micro to panoramic view point, listen, see and discuss.  I am for the most a man of solitude and wasn’t sure how the walk would go. I constantly battle with being of the world and apart from it. It is partly for this reason that I am creating this series of projects with close communities who work and live together for survival and to maintain identity within an ever changing world. The natural world is devoid of man made cacophony and filters, allowing for an authenticity between people and their connection to the surrounding land.

Like the rain storms we watched pass us by out at sea, any anxieties I may have had soon floated away.


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