Glimpse of shy bather

The walk along the coastal path from St Ives to River Cove is three and half miles long and the area is described as ‘a very remote part of the west Cornwall coast’ suggesting an area of natural beauty. The path is assigned a level three difficulty. The craggy cliffs mean ensuring correct placement of boot on rock and keeping the eyes engaged on feet whilst walking up and down the steep paths. Fortunately there is some let up from the highs and lows as the path widens out and plateaus now and again. The decreasing need for eye-foot attachment means we can gaze around us.

In one of those moments when the eye could wander we caught a glimpse of a shy bather on one of the rocks below. The being was unmoving; its face and back turned away from the path. Deceased perhaps? We scrambled down the rocks to get a better view. Alas, we had disturbed the shy bather. The head lifted and a doleful face stared at us for an instant (just in time for the photo) unhappy at being revealed as something other than a rock. Camouflage having failed the shy bather flipped up its tail and disappeared into the sea. The highlight of our walk – a rare and close up glimpse of a seal sunbathing.

Seal bather on St Ives coastal walk © Sanandi-jacq