Well, here we are at the turn of yet another year and the first thing I would like to do is to wish you and yours, whoever and wherever you may be, a peaceful and very happy 2014.
Now it seems fashionable to look back on the year just gone and record those things that have left impressions on one`s memory and doubtless television, radio and all our old chums in the media are at it. Trouble is, they tend to concentrate on the big events - political, dramatic, highs and lows across an eclectic range of issues that have grabbed the attention. I don`t propose to do that. Instead, I have chosen to look back on 2013 and pick out highlights which may mean nothing to you, dear reader, but which will live long in the memory stick of my mind.
And the best of 2013 for me was encapsulated in our visits to bite sized chunks of the wonderful south west coast path. It began in late Spring with a stay at Mulfra, deep in the moorland of West Penwith, from where we enjoyed the walks around the Gurnard`s Head, Zennor, Sennen, Lamorna, Prussia Cove, Godrevy, Portheras Cove and especially the challenge of the stretch of coast path from Land`s End across Nanjizal (pictured right) up to the heights of Gwennap and back again.
In May we returned once more to be seduced by the Roseland on Cornwall`s south coast and where we renewed our affection for St. Anthony`s Head, Molunan, Froe Creek, Towan beach, Pendower, Nare Head and Portscatho. June saw us staying in St. Merryn on the north coast and enjoying the grandeur of the Camel Estuary, The Greenaway, Stepper Point, Porthcothan to Treyarnon and another visit to Porth Joke and Kelsey Head.
In early September it was Hope Cove in south Devon and walks from there to Soar Mill Cove (pictured left), Salcombe (for a cream tea!), Ayrmer Cove, Mothecombe, Wonwell and the Revelstoke Drive around Noss Mayo and The Warren, where we discovered another of the Secret Beaches. We also managed to find Prawle Point and Start Point, along with Hallsands and Torcross - it surprised even us just how much can be packed in to one week.
Our final getaway was to stay in Trebetherick for a week in October - the home of the late Sir John Betjeman - and we were fortunate to stay in a bungalow overlooking Daymer Bay, the Camel Estuary and Padstow. Unsurprisingly we revisited some of the places we had been to in June but also some we had missed, such as the lovely Lundy Bay, along with walks to St. Enodoc`s church and along the shoreline to Rock as well as the spectacular ramble from Lellizick to Padstow for a well earned pasty.
So, all in all, a year to remember for us and Mrs. Snopper has already made bookings for us to take in yet more of the south west coast path in 2014. And so for me - and especially as my dotage beckons - my retrospect is not about world events, politics, triumphs and disasters (sporting or otherwise), but more about the simple pleasures of being where we like to be, doing what we like to do and doing it whilst we still can.
I hope you will forgive the shameless self-indulgence of this look back on the year but the south west coast path constantly reminds me just what a beautiful world we have - it`s just some of the people in it that are the problem. So, as the last of the photos I took shows the sun going down on Hope Cove and as 2013 gives way to another New Year, I hope your own New Year is as happy and as memorable as our last one has been.