14th July Leaving Morvah

After 5 nights with two of the best friends you could ever hope to have, we said our farewells and resumed our journey north. Another short ride, starting off we thought that by night fall we would be wild camping near Ashclyst forest about 10 miles North of Exeter, but first on the way to Penzance train station I stopped to show Aaron the Burial chamber Anne-Marie and I had walked to just the day before. It was such a surprise having walked and cycled all over Cornwall to find such a fantastic place for the first time….

Burial chamber near Green barrow engine house

Burial chamber near Green barrow engine house

And it gave me the chance to begin some drawings and take the odd image. When we arrived at Penzance train station with the intention of taking a train up to Exeter we found out that there was no room for our bikes. Oooooops !  Thing is though, Aaron and I had already cycled out of Cornwall during Aaron’s sponsored bike ride to raise funds for his trip to Cambodia the other year and so we had decided to simply pickup the journey from that point, it also gave us a head start for this tour and the chance to explore new places as soon as we could…….

Well one of the best things about cycle touring is being able to adapt to changing situations, not a problem at all…… we simply had to book our train journey for the following day. As it happens Aaron and I a few weeks back had cycled through Marazion and I just happened to spot a likely place for a wild camp, I had intended to have a trial run to check out all the gear to this place, but work and preparations for the tour left me know time, and also oddly I felt like I was not quite ready to get straight onto a train…..it almost felt too sudden. So the chance to wild camp at Marazion jumped instantly into my mind and it just felt like the right thing to do. So just a short ride along the cycle path brought us within site of St. Michaels Mount and a really nice spot to wild camp well out of everyone’s way and with a spectacular view.

relaxing at Marazion

 

Look…..a thistle

Marazion panorama

 

One of the first drawings of the artist in residence

Having set up our tents, the sound of the slight breeze and the sea was like therapy this was exactly what we both needed……all the hectic weeks of planning and preparations and work just seemed to disappear. We just sat starring into the sea….. and eventually made some food…..and on the menu tonight was pasta and pesto……

Falling asleep to the sound of the sea

Our first wild camp, the first of many was terrific. Total cost….well a bag of pasta from Lidl 30p and a jar of pesto £1.89. This is the essence of the plan….to wild camp as much as possible. Staying in campsites only when we had to make a base to shelter from the weather and be able to wash our clothes, make any repairs, or simply that we could not find a suitable wild camping pace. Campsites have become ridiculously expensive….almost as much as renting a property, B&B or so called credit card touring is completely out of the question. Also the philosophy behind wild camping is so agreeable, so simple, it can be summed up in this way – to walk the Earth lightly. Whatever we brought with us we took with us when we packed and left the next day. Any jars or plastic packaging was recycled along the way. No mess, no rubbish was left behind. When we packed and left it was as if we had never been there and no trace at all was left…..unlike at the end of the summer when you walk along any beach in Cornwall, you will come across discarded throw away supermarket barbecue sets half buried in the sand along with beer cans, bottles and discarded packaging which I find utterly abhorrent.

Today’s route….. 9.8 miles and 574ft (174.995 meters)

Map

cycle tour 14th July 2017

 

Since Monday 10th July we have been camped with two terrific friends –  in Anne-Marie and Tony’s garden for a few days while I re stretch and build a box for a large panting and then organise a courier to collect and deliver the artwork. It was great fun and all part of the adventure. We had to collect some packing materials and in all it took three days to sort out, so no problems really.

It’s been a great couple of days chilling out in the evening with good food and good conversation covering all the usual philosophical topics that arise after a few beers, and last night we simply watched the first 5 episodes of Game of Thrones.

Today we plan to cycle in to Penzance via this ancient burriel chamber near Green Barrow engine house. Then we plan to take the train up to Exeter and cycle North to find our first rough camp. It will probably take us 4 days to cycle up to Bristol, and we will most likely be out of contact for that time.

Start of an artist in residence

Cycle tour.

An artist in residence…..where the journey is the residency

Cycling has always been the beginning of my creative process, It is how I go to work, carrying sketchbooks watercolours even small oil paintings into the landscape to begin or continue an artwork.

In January 2010, I gave up car ownership completely, and since then I have cycled over 38000 miles exploring the coastline, cove’s and landscapes of Cornwall. The simple act of taking a sketchbook and cycling, clears my mind, it is a form of meditation allowing the tones, colours, the texture of the land, sea and sky, it’s ever changing weather to become a part of my consciousness,  stopping to draw whenever it occurs. These cycling journeys are a fundamental part of the artwork….. in fact they are artworks in there own right, my creative response to nature, a choice to be as close to nature as possible.

On my eleventh birthday I was given my first road touring bicycle on that day I planned to cycle around the world. A dream that has been with me ever since. Rather than an artist in residence….I like to call this project an artist in transience, or more properly the journey itself is the residency, producing artworks along the way. This is an ongoing and self sustained journey with no destination. Fully loaded cycle touring.

The start of the tour St Just town center 9th July 2017

Starting in the Summer of 2017 the first part of this world cycle tour will be a 4 month cycle tour of Wales, Ireland, Scotland including the Outer Hebrides, Orkney and Shetland after which we pause to produce a new series of paintings on canvas. Following on from this in 2018 we will be heading South into Europe and finally concluding this part of our world cycle tour journey through Scandinavia, Iceland and Greenland. During the tour I will as always have sketchbooks, drawing and watercolour materials to record the journey and at various stages pause to create new paintings on route. We will be documenting the journey through my website and through my social media websites,  facebook, twitter, youtube and vimeo.

 

The reason…..

I decided a long time ago that I would not be raising funds for any particular cause. I did not want this journey to use the raising of funds to justify this journey, I wanted no distractions from the idea of…. ‘The Journey’…. call it a journey with no destination….except the journey itself. It is quite simply something I am not only drawn to do but need to do as part of my creative practice. The ride itself, the philosophy of this activity, every ride….. every day is it’s own artwork.

It is also fundamentally to promote a sustainable lifestyle, to live simply and in such a way as to minimise the impact I have as an individual on nature, to be as close to nature as possible. Traveling by bicycle is very agreeable, it’s a great way to travel slow and to be surrounded by nature, to meet people and to draw and paint this experience. 

First test ride with fully loaded panniers

 

This is the first test ride with fully loaded panniers in preparation for the 4 month cycle tour starting at the end of June.I will go ito what and how I pack over the next few weeks. The only things missing from this set up is the top rear rack pannier which will contain the art materials I will be taking with me.

I cannot express properly the excitement I feel with the planning and the preparations for this tour. The Bike felt absolutely wonderful and I could not stop smiling at how stable, smooth and easy to ride The Bike is to ride with  all the gear. I will be going into why I chose this bike in a later post.

Chris Hankey watercolours

Sunset N0.4

 

One of a few small watercolours…..and they are small. I tend to take watercolours out with me when cycling simply using masking tape to attach 4 to the backs of sketchbooks. They are all 8.5×13 cm that’s image size and 18.5×23.5 cm with the window mount.