A cliff based meditation

So the weather has changed again, last week the crazy fog and strangely warm weather followed by an incredible downpour on Saturday morning and now the wind has arrived, blowing away the cobwebs and bringing with it colder temperatures again. Phew it is hard work keeping up!

We were very aware of the weather this weekend. Saturday morning I met my friend Claire and we went for a 50 minute run along the cliffs from Fort George to Jerbourg and then back through the lanes. This was quite some challenge, the cliffs are unforgiving while running, but it was beautiful, early morning sunshine and only a few dog walkers to be seen. The daffodils are out in force, plus the primroses and the campion too. Amazing how quickly nature changes from the reds and oranges to the Spring time colours of yellows and pinks brightening the landscape and our mood too.

Saturday afternoon was spent laying peat and horse manure on the outdoor raised beds and the indoor beds in the greenhouse too. All good fun even if I did mange to bash my hand on the greenhouse door and kick my heel with the wheel barrow and then fall over, with the wheel barrow when trying to transfer a very heavy peat bag on to it all on my own. That will teach me!

Needless to say I was aching somewhat the next day but it will all be worth it, no doubt, when we get to eat the results of our hard work. The peach tree is coming into blossom and we still have strawberries, very strange. The seedlings are coming through, even some of the butternut squash which I managed to plant upside down the first time, poor things!

Yesterday we really did get to immerse ourselves in nature. You see we have signed up for the Three Peaks challenge with the Lihou Trust to raise money to help put a new roof on the house on Lihou. We love Lihou Island. We stayed there on our own a few January's ago, when the snowy owl was in residence and took great delight in walking upon it a few times during our stay. Last year we stayed again with E's Mum and some friends and this was so much fun. There is nothing more wonderful than the tide rising and finding yourself cut off from Guernsey, enjoying the peace and tranquility of your own Island for 24 hours, especially Lihou with its abundant bird life and views of the hanois Lighthouse in the distance.

The Three Peaks challenge involves climbing the high test peaks in England, Wales and Scotland within 24 hours, namely Ben Nevis in Scotland (1344m), Scafell Pike in England (978m) and Snowdon in Wales (1085m). It has been an unfulfilled ambition for some time, and as often happens with such things - or so I am reminded - they tend to happen when the time is right with some ease. It was a little bit like the trek to Base Camp of Everest in Nepal, it had been something I was interested in doing and then the opportunity simply presented itself without me having to do anything.

I guess it is a reminder that often we do get what we want, or what we dream perhaps, if we just let go of it and let it happen when the time is right, and often with some ease.

Not that there will be a lot of ease about the Three Peaks, but it is for a good cause and means we get to achieve another of my recent intentions, of spending lots of time on the cliffs! The event actually happens on the 15th July so we have few months to train and yesterday was our first official group training session.

We met at Portlet down at Pleinmont at 3pm and walked all the way along the cliffs to Petit Bot, about 2.5-3 hours I think. The sun was setting by the time we got to Petit Bot and the wind picked up again as we started the walk all the way back to Portlet, in the dark this time. It was quite a treat, rather magical really. The moon was high and bright (full moon on Thursday) and the stars were shining brightly too. It made for a wonderful sight, the sea reflecting the moon's light and the waves crashing onto the rocks below. The wind was strong, keeping us on our toes and certainly blowing away all the cobwebs and at times almost pushing us along.

I was reminded how infrequently I get out into nature after dark these days. I don't believe I have ever walked on the cliffs at night, which is perhaps not surprising given the rough terrain and the fear of what you may find, but it is an invigorating experience, all the night time bird sounds and the fact you are all alone, in nature, with your own thoughts and subject to the elements.

Of course it was also a relief to make it back to Portlet and the Imperial by 8.30pm. My knees were feeling the rough terrain and all those crazy steps - whoever laid those steps did so without any seeming consideration to those of us with shorter legs (well even longer legs from what the guys were saying) - all I can say is I am very thankful I had my walking poles with me!

This morning we are aching somewhat, it has been an active weekend and I do feel very alive for a change (Monday morning and all). There is much to be said for spending time in nature and pushing your own physical fitness boundaries. I find it as strengthening for the mind as I do for the body. Plus for me it is a meditation in action, an opportunity to zone out completely and I must admit it is more satisfying and calming for me to find this "peace" through physical activity than it is to sit on my Yoga mat attempting to meditate for 30 minutes. But then of course we all access the pathway to the soul in different ways.

If anyone is interested in joining us for the Lihou Charitable Trust Three Peaks Challenge, then there are a few spaces still available and 3 cliff based training sessions to go - I may finally get to walk the whole cliffs in one go, two times as well!! Good to make the most of what Guernsey offers so naturally and indeed beautifully.

Ross DespresComment