Solitude in a Small Country

By Summers, Jonty | The Spectator, August 23, 1997 | Go to article overview

Solitude in a Small Country


Summers, Jonty, The Spectator


SEARCHING for solitude is easy for people in big countries. Canadians know that if they head towards the middle of their country they are going to steer clear of the hordes. Similarly, their Yankee neighbours have large amounts of Big Country in which to get lost. In the other hemisphere, South Africans only have to head out of the cities to be surrounded by untainted space, and many Australians don't even need to leave home, so far from their neighbours are they.

Inhabitants of the less populated European countries have remoteness within fairly easy striking distance of home, too. The French can go to the Alps or the Atlantic coast, the Danes head for western Jutland and Madrilenos are surrounded by mountain ranges where traces of habitation are sparse. Two factors make things tricky for us Brits to get away from our countrymen without packing a passport. First, we live on a small island. Secondly, centres of population seem to ooze out of every contour of the map. Despite this, Britain is not without its remote corners. Sticking firmly to the mainland, I have picked out half a dozen of Britain's remotest spots - a trio of contemplative high places, the rest by the sea.

The toe end of Cornwall, west Penwith, takes forever to get to, as anyone who has left Exeter believing arrival to be imminent will know. It's a strange world, west Penwith, north of Land's End. Visiting it is a little like dropping into a museum of prehistory. Squirming through the granite landscape alongside the West Penwith moors, the B3306 - an enlarged footpath of a road, from St Ives to St Just - affords dramatic views of the Atlantic thrashing the cliffs of Cape Cornwall. The landscape is harsh - granite and moorland - and, an hour's hike off the road onto the Penwith Moor, you will find evidence of the area's pagan past Lanyon Quoit and the Men-an-Tol standing stones. It is an other-worldly spot. Further down the coast, a climb around the sea paths of Bottallack brings you to Cornwall's most westerly tin mines, now long abandoned, and makes you realise how pleasant is the journey to work on a clammy Northern Line Tube.

The clarity of light that for centuries has attracted painters to St Ives and St Just is well-documented. D.H. Lawrence lived in Zennor, near St Ives, during the second world war, and worked on Women in Love there. Zennor is also the resting place of one John Davey (d. 1891) who, according to his tombstone, was `the last to possess any considerable knowledge of the Cornish language'. Even when the weather is not sunny, a trip to this part of the world will leave you invigorated and refreshed.

Few beaches on Britain's mainland can be more off the beaten track than Sandwood Bay, on the windswept approach to the lonely moorland south of Cape Wrath. A visit to any part of west Sutherland is accompanied by incomparable scenery: immense mountain, loch and moorland panoramas. Names with which to conjure, too: Suilven, Canisp, Quinag, Ben More Assynt, Foivaven. Whatever the season, the beach will be utterly deserted - the only footprints you will chance upon here, apart from your own, will be those of seabirds. Sandwood Bay is a two-hour walk down a track through peat bog. The beach is idyllically framed, with high cliffs at either end providing protection from northerly and southerly winds and, at its back, dunes and a lagoon. Cape Wrath is only a degree south of Anchorage. In summer, the light is strong and night falls, briefly, in the small hours of the morning. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Solitude in a Small Country
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.