Monday, 5 April 2010
On another blustery March morning I encounter Ian Tellam walking in the direction of Portreath. He has a woollen hat pulled well down almost to his ginger eyebrows and rain-splattered glasses. He is carrying a wooden walking staff of the type I have not seen since I was in the Picos in northern Spain; most walkers here have been converted to carrying aluminium walking poles. We grin at each other when still a few yards apart and get into conversation as we draw level. Ian is another local person and one who walks this part of the coast a number of times each week for enjoyment. I learn from him that the starting point of my walk - Bassetts Cove - has not always been known by that name. What is now the village of Portreath was the original Bassetts Cove. The Bassett family grew wealthy from the mining industry, but, the story goes, a profligate member gambled away much of the money. What was once their mansion house in hundreds of acres of parkland and woodland, became at first a hospital, and was then converted into a number of dwellings.