By: Blonde Two

It’s National Get Outside Day on Sunday and an old map has given me an idea for a great way to get outside. I recently found this map at my Dad’s house (in Cornwall) and, despite it not being an Ordnance Survey map, immediately fell in love with it. Created to outline a slightly odd mix of beaches, ferries, roads, lighthouses and lifeboat stations around Cornwall, the map is beautiful in its simplicity and entertaining in its instructions. Growing up in the Midlands, I can remember the days when the M5 ended at Taunton and this map, designed I would imagine for the visitor, is keen to point out that Cornwall is somewhere special (which of course it is). The map gives no mention of Devon, has peculiar hash marks across the whole of Plymouth and states clearly, even before you open it, that,

‘CORNWALL is almost an island, being nearly completely cut off from England by the River Tamar.’

This is a quirky map in the extreme and there are so many things I love about it:

  • Its simple design suggests that the visiting reader is receiving information on a, ‘Need to know’ basis. No contour lines, footpaths or pubs. We are allowed to visit beaches, view lighthouses and take ferries, but nothing else
  • Its safety instructions (still applicable today) are written in gloriously insistent language with a multitude of unexpected capital letters to underline key points. For example, ‘Don’t Throw Your Own, or Your Friend’s Life away!
  • It makes it very clear (for the obviously uneducated visitor) that although you might find surf on Cornwall’s north coast, it will never appear at certain points on the south

  • When you read the beach names out loud, they have a poetic ring all of their own

At Porthcurno, Polperro, Porthhallow

Waves are big, but seas are shallow.

At Portluney, Porthkidney, Downderry

Seas are deeper but waves are merry.

If you’re after some summery haze,

Try visiting Lusty Glaze…

I could go on but time is short and I am not sure my Cornish beach advice is anywhere even approaching a state of accuracy. The thing about maps is that they can give you both a sense of adventure and a sense of creativity. When presented with a map of Cornish beaches, I immediately want to go and visit all of them, take photos and then write about my experiences. If you are struggling to decide what to do for National Get Outside Day this Sunday, why don’t you dig around for an old map (plenty at second hand book shops) and see if something on it catches your eye.

Hopefully your map will inspired you to get outdoors and enjoy yourself on Sunday. Join us and the nation outside on Sunday 29th September for National Get Outside Day.

Sign up, join your team and let us know how you are going to Get Outside!