This 22 year old walked 300-miles around the Cornwall coast | pebble magazine
What happens when a social media savvy science whizz sets off to walk the length of the Cornish coastline? Sophie Pavelle is a 22 year old Zoology graduate from Bristol University. While working on her MSc in Science Communication she spent last summer hiking solo around the entire Cornish coastline on the UK’s longest national trail – the South West Coast Path. She fills us about her journey and what she learnt
First of all, why did I commit to walking 300 miles on my own?
I wanted to test whether changing my conventional use of social media, could inspire an interest in science, the local environment, wildlife and conservation – to the infinite ready-made audience that lingers almost obsessively online.
I was curious to see whether people might be more receptive to learning about science if it was presented in an informal, punchy way that aligned with people’s social media feed. Oh, and I also managed to persuade my masters professors that hiking 300 miles would most definitely fit the criteria for an MSc dissertation.
300-miles, 22 days, 22 vlogs – it was quite a journey and my biggest adventure yet, teaching me some poignant lessons about our environment, its wildlife and myself, here’s 10 things I took away from the experience.
The coast path helped me to ‘rebalance’
When it comes to viewing time-spent in nature as ‘good’ for you, I feel modern society has been somewhat late to the table in recognising the powerful health benefits that stem from this simple act. ‘Life’ gets in the way; screens are distracting, relationships confusing.
Having suffered from mild anxiety myself, I was curious to see how my mental outlook would adapt to the monotony of 22 days alone on the coast path with the wildlife and the environment as my only company but it was a total tonic. I was astounded by the intense calm and clarity of thought I felt each day.
Despite its challenges and formidable climbs, the coast path was the best cure for a fierce worrier like me. Immersing myself into observing the consistencies and patterns of nature, placed the focus off ‘people’ and onto the environment – which was intensely calming and wonderful for re-balancing my perspective.