Towanroath at dusk

The morning of 9th September dawned bright and clear – or that’s how things should have been. The reality was that heavy cloud had swept in overnight and rain was forecast before lunch. What made me pick this day to drive all the way down to Cornwall? And I wasn’t ready. Of course I had done all the research and booked a room in a lovely farmhouse on the north coast, so I could be close to the most dramatic scenery at sunset. I gave my husband a list of telephone numbers and had written out all the treatments to be given to the animals while I was away. It was a lot shorter than last year, a sharp reminder of all those loved and lost in the preceding months. It makes going away less of a problem, but I don’t like it. All the packing had been done the day before and the bags were only waiting to be carried out to the car, but I still wasn’t ready… in my head. Maybe we have too much of a routine with work and the zoo and very little else. We haven’t even had a day out this year. Perhaps that’s why I found myself starting the morning rounds as normal not fully believing I had such a long drive ahead of me. It was only when we were putting the ferrets back in their room that I looked at the clock and realised if I didn’t get moving soon, I would miss the first sunset.

Clothes were changed in a matter of minutes and in no time I was settled in the car, waving goodbye to my husband as he went to feed the chickens. Then it started raining. It meant business too, with low cloud, fog and lots of spray and it remained like that all the way round the M25 and along the M4. It wasn’t until I was approaching Bristol that the sun finally put in an appearance. Where the sky had been an endless grey blanket, fluffy white clouds were moving south, creating ever-changing shadows on the landscape below. Things were looking up!

I finally arrived at the B&B an hour behind schedule, but with just enough time to dump my bags and head up to the old mine. I knew exactly where I wanted to be for the best view. Unfortunately that turned out to be half way down a steep slope in the middle of a solid carpet of gorse bushes. At least I had brought a picnic blanket along, but even folded into quarters, it didn’t offer much protection. The tripod was set up, camera settings checked and double checked. The sun was heading for the horizon. All I had to do was sit down and wait for the right moment. Ouch!

It wasn’t the most comfortable hour I have ever spent, but it was well worth it. A few people had gathered along the cliff top to watch, but they disappeared at the same time as the sun. If only they had lingered a while longer, they would have seen the cloud gradually spread across the sky, turning from pink to magenta. They would have watched the last rays of light on the waves far below. They would have been too far behind the mine, but from my prickly viewpoint I could see how they lit up the vast chimney of Towanroath. So there I sat, in the growing darkness, until I was sure I had captured what I had travelled so far to see.

I have now been home a few days and this is the very first image to be processed. I hope I did this wonderful scene justice – it is certainly one of my favourites at the moment. The gorse flowers don’t look bad either…

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