Stepping the Tinners Way

Date May 2010



A bright breezy turquoise day, sun splashing on St.Ives a large group is meeting; dogs, children, groups, individuals start walking together step tinner tinner step out of the town’s clutch, up the hill, glimpsing homes, catching snatches of chat.

Away from the buildings, up the lane, flowers and sky, a field of horses. Step tinner tinner step up a little thorny snicket to under Rosewall.

Paul Bonnington our archeologist reminds us of the times, the recent and the further distant stories of our path today. Tin, copper, gold. Mining the resources of our landscape, a commodity, a raw material for craft, a cultural exchange.

On along walking, talking, glancing, breathing gorse, wood anenome, hawthorn, primrose, step tinner tinner step to Towednack church. Cup of tea, sit down, hats on, sunshine. Hear about the church and locality, smell the recent wedding’s lilies and see the curved roof rafters. Over the granite stone slab stiles, through lush green field’s corner, past the ponds and up a little road to the ancient track. Furrowed through the ancient field system dug in the rock this footpath is proclaimed closed by a sign. The rains from last year’s spring that took young lives washed heavy through the track scouring boulders free of earth, deepening the crevice. Boots on rocks, feet on boulders step tinner tinner step through hedges, past the site of treasure hourdes hidden and up onto the open moor.

Gorse and grasses, tracks and spaces, Ladydowns, Sperris, mists of remembering. We all arrive at Zennor quoit and sit close in front of the dolmen portal to eat together, now a friendly group together, time a notion, our gathering timeless. Big slabs of granite positioned together, impossibly heavy, an honouring of ancestors, a farmer’s vandalism, a memory rekindled. Paul shows us arrowheads and rock and stone tools and we pass them around murmuring.

On again following back to the path through scratchy gorse high up over moorland step tinner tinner step past a single tree and crow’s nest, five eggs within illuminated by the camera’s eye a solitary fertile symbol.

Chatting, stepping, strolling, following, losing time, moving where the others have already been, where we are, where they were, where they are, where we were, step tinner tinner step. Arrive at Mulfra quoit, overlooking the Mount and Lizard behind high, fine and beautiful. Then suddenly down and into Bodrifty and the warren of old round houses. Our circle meets for a final check in sliding comfortably into familiar places in relation to each other.

Cups of tea, plates of cake, getting tickets for the bus back at the reconstructed roundhouse on the farm, we gather on the lawn in the sunshine. The harp sings, the conversations flutter over the meeting of the two groups of walkers from East and West.

Into the minibus, shocked in to traffic and motors, the glaring reality of our days today, the moor a mirror, a memory. Step tinner tinner step.