Insects and thistles – the detail of walking

Moving away from boats for a moment and on to walking and photography . . .

I think of walking in the same way as I think of being at sea, there is a physical connection with the planet that is lost in wheeled and air transport.

I am currently reading Nigel Tangye’s ‘A Voyage into Cornwall’s Past’ in which he describes a voyage in his 30 foot ‘Falmouth Pilot’ from Hartland Point (just in Devon) down the coast of Cornwall – incidentally, passing Steeple Point. He talks about the local history and describes the sea thus:

“Being a Cornishman I am generally forgiven for my confusion of dreams with reality, but so far as my conception of the sea is concerned there is no need for forgiveness. When you are in a boat, the reality is there, around you. I embrace the conception that the sea is unchanging, timeless, visually the same as it was a million years ago. No agency in the form of erosion or vegetation has been introduced to obscure the past from the present.”

Walking is not the same, of course – erosion occurs, vegetation is introduced. man’s need to modify the landscape for his/her own convenience continues apace. But there are some places where the landscape has not altered substantially in hundreds, if not thousands of years. Mountain landscapes immediately spring to mind where the changes are natural – avalanche, earthquake, tempest.

We have recently been walking in Crete, a part of the world civilised long before northern Europe. Natural disasters, climate change, history have all had there effect here. There are areas where the terrain is harsh giving that same feel where the changes have only been made by people’s feet on loosely described paths.

(Click on image to enlarge)


It is wrong to paint this as a picture of the whole of Crete. The fertile areas are green and well-farmed, with olive groves in abundance, and, especially this May and June, wild flowers everywhere. There are many well-defined paths and tracks. But it is the wilder areas, the gorges and mountains, we enjoy.

The difficulty has been in choosing images that show it. My choice below may initially seem obscure but they represent what I like most about these walks – the detail. Yes, I do like wide vistas and panoramic views, but it’s the detail that’s the draw.

First the essence of walking itself – the heat, the sweat, the feel of the backpack, the rough path underfoot – the need to stop for a drink, the realisation there is still miles to go before the next taverna!

Then the looking – seeing what’s before our eyes – terrain that remains the same but with flora and fauna growing, blossoming and dying back as the year goes on, a cycle repeating year after year. Tangye’s conception that “the sea is unchanging, timeless, visually the same as it was a million years ago” applies in a different way here. The insects and the flowers come and go and have been doing so for hundreds if not thousands of years. Perhaps botanists and entomologists may disagree, I don’t know enough about these plants and insects to judge, but the principle remains the same. What we are looking at here has been repeated for generation after generation.



I wonder what those previous generations thought of them.


I have a problem over the photography. I tend to snap on Ai when I could take a little more time. The focus of the top image could be improved I think. If you are viewing this in your reader, try clicking on the title above and going to my site. I have added a featured image on the same theme at the top of the page.

(Images by Bill Whateley, May, 2015, Camera: Lumix DMC-TZ60)