A mystic moment on the Cornish coast when I was down giving a talk at the Penzance Literary Festival.
I was staying at a retreat near St Just on Cape Cornwall, four minutes walk from the coastal path.
The first evening of my stay, I decided to take a two hour round hike up to the nearby Kenidjack Iron Age Cliff Castle. Here, there are 800 BC ramparts, the bases of round cairns and the ruins of a chapel which you can see on the top right of my pic. To get to the castle I had to dip down into the valley where there are the extensive remains of tin mining granite buildings and a tower. Up on that promontory you can see for miles along the coast and out to the Scilly Isles.
Whilst there, the threatening inky black sky you can see in the background of the pic rumbled with thunder and lightning flickered in circles round me across the moorland. If ever there was a time to reflect on life it was that moment, looking out over a sullen grey sea, gulls wheeling below, the sky alive and crackling above me, evidence of three thousand years of man’s involvement with Nature from the hewn granite stones of the Iron Age ramparts on which I was perched down to the 19th century tin mining ruins in the valley to my left. Surreal. Mind blowing.
As I reach the final chapter of my life, it was a reminder of just how small a part we all play in the grand design and ever-evolving history that is Planet Earth.