‘No coast, no calm’

It’s been a busy time at TC Towers, with two new exhibitions starting imminently and the various marketing activities that entails, which has meant that the last few weeks have been extremely busy, if not a wee bit stressful. I had many resolutions for 2012; don’t get stressed, write more, travel more, craft more, start a book swap group… none of which I’ve really acted upon as the January malaise has hit with a vengeance.

It’s two weeks in, so I gathered it was time to do something about it.

One of my main goals was to shed the extra pounds I’ve gained sincing moving to Margit (if only I was talking about money and not weight). Call it contentment, my body making it clear I’ll be exiting my 20s this year.. whatever, it’s time to stop stuffing my face and suck up the fact I need to exercise.

In 2010 I achieved a 26.2 mile (the extra .2 is oh so important ) powerwalking marathon in aid of breast cancer, which I achieved in just over 6 hours. I’d always wanted to exercise but needed a goal and I was so not a running girl – wiggly bottom and flappy arms is much more my style. I vowed to myself that I would continue the exercise after the marathon. Pah. I moved to Margit and subsequently have spent the last 14 months stuffing my face and not bothering much about the ever expanding waistline.

So in a bid to get fit (and to fit into my nice clothes again), I’ve embarked once again on power walking.

And what an interesting time to start. Our first spring exhibition is Hamish Fulton: Walk. Hamish is based in Canterbury and for the past three decades has made walking the basis of his art. He’s not a ‘walking artist’ per se but he creates photography, text, sketches and film from the experience of solo and groups walks in the landscape. (I’ve had a sneek peek and it’s amazing). He’s summed up his thinking with the simple statement ‘no walk, no work’. I like this, a lot.

And it got me thinking… for me ‘no coast, no calm’. I forced myself to ‘endure’ two power walks this weekend – a quick 3 miler to Botany Bay and back and then today a rather unexpected extended adventure to Joss Bay!

Near Botany Bay

Being with a friend helped and once we got started it was hard to stop, especially as we discovered a number of gems along the way.

I’d played at Joss Bay as a kid but that’s a bit different to walking quickly along the coast, in a bid to relieve your stress and create inner calm.

On a glorious sunny winter’s day we went from Cliftonville through to Botany Bay (a usual route so nothing new there), along to Kingsgate – who knew a pub was on the cliff’s edge? With a little stumpy turreted flint half building at the outer edge of a golf course, intriguing to say the least. We oggled a bit at that, then all of a sudden, we spied a castle!  Kingsgate, ‘ooooo’ ‘ahhhhh’ – some beautiful little cottages facing the sea with shutters (one day, one day) then up a little hill, keeping careful watch on the traffic as we manoeuvered along the road to Joss Bay. And was that a lighthouse I could see? Yup – North Foreland Lighthouse. I’ve loved lighthouses since I was 7 (my 7th birthday cake was a lighthouse and Rod Stewart’s We Are Sailing became my anthem) so this was a real treat.

We happened upon Kingsgate Castle… not a great pic on iPhone

Only very lucky or very wealthy people live here…

Joss Bay

Surfers at Joss Bay (there’s a surf school there and some high waves)

The shadow is the lighthouse – poor photographing on my part!

What can I say? Britains’ beautiful coast

I even saw horsey walking on the beach – check out the great hoof prints they left

I could physically feel the pent up stress of the last few weeks which had built layer upon layer washing away with the tide, deep breaths and the cool sea air. Heaven.

Little bit of a pity that once I’d soaked up this wonderfulness, I still had 4 whole miles back home to walk. Eek. But as I said ‘no coast, no calm’ so wiggly home I went, stopping off only take some snaps of my beautiful surroundings.

It was worth every step and the very achy muscles now. I may even go again next week…

I urge everyone to get their walking shoes on and get out there. Margate has a regular Healthwalkthat meets in the High Street. Find out more here or join me and some others on 21 Jan when the walk starts from Turner Contemporary to celebrate the opening of Hamish’s inspiring exhibition. I’ll be there, blisters and all.

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