Ben Pococks photo of a Fulmar over the sun setting sea

Ben Pocock

Decompression in the Wild (south) West

In April 2020, during the early days of the pandemic, like most people, I struggled with what the world was throwing at me. Battling everyday alongside my team to provide the highest quality veterinary care was at first a challenge for which we had energy but soon that faded and each day became a monotonous groundhog day that took it’s toll on the mental health of all our team in it’s own unique and cruel way. 

National restrictions meant that I was forced to explore my local area and that evening I decided to get my battered old bike out and go for a ride. Dusting it down and checking the brakes I wondered if staying in was a better option but I persevered. It was approaching sunset so I headed out on the quiet coast road, with no planned route and no time restrictions. 

I was drawn by the warmth of the sun on my face, so I soon found my way winding down the National Trust road beside a nature reserve towards the Godrevy headland. I cycled off road to a cliff edge that I knew offered stunning aerial views of a sheltered seal colony rested up on the beach. They looked so beautiful and peaceful. I then decided to go down a novel route further around the headland where I found an isolated and protected bench overlooking the famous lighthouse and the setting sun. I stayed for about an hour lost in my thoughts, my heart rate slowly returning to normal from my inexperienced ride. I was entertained by the flights of the loveable fulmars and smiled when this one managed to photo bomb this shot. 

The stressors from that day seemed to flow out with the ebbing tide and I felt rejuvenated and blissful simply by being lost in the sounds, smells and sights of what I could see. This ride and walk has become a firm favourite of mine allowing me to tune in nature and decompress proving that time spent immersed in nature is never time wasted. A regular dose of nature is now part of my daily regimen, and my mental health soars like a fulmar on the updraughts that life throws at me.