Action Nan, aka Pat Smith and owner of Bosinver Farm Cottages, achieved widespread recognition across Cornwall and further afield during her 300 mile walk around the Cornish section of the South West Coast Path in April 2016.
But even before she set off on her recent journey, Pat enjoyed many active adventures around Cornwall – from sailing to kayaking, to Nordic walking and speeding along zip wires.
Her mission – and she has chosen to accept it – is to explore the many wonderful opportunities around Cornwall for those who are more mature, yet still young at heart and possessed of a love of the unknown. In these posts, Action Nan shares her favourite days out, activities and expeditions in the hope that she will inspire you to enjoy some wonderful adventures of your own.
Here Pat explains a little bit about Action Nan and how she came to be…
“When I was 50 a friend took me out sailing and I discovered an exciting watery world on my doorstep that inspired me to want to learn more. I set about honing my skills in the classroom and on the water and progressed to Day Skipper and Yachtmaster in 6 years, having crewed across the Atlantic and twice across the Gulf of Mexico.
At 57, a friend and I decided to cycle from John O’Groats to Land’s End to raise money for a head scanner at Treliske hospital. The odds were stacked against me: my age, the fact I was slightly overweight and had a replacement hip! But it was then I discovered the power of positive thinking, I just believed I could do it and I did and, what’s more, I loved every strenuous minute.
This year, at 67, I decided it was time to set off again on another challenge, this time walking around the Cornwall coast path taking the South West Coast Path’ s toughest option: 300 miles in 21 days, 15 miles a day without a break. It was a wonderful experience but tough, my will power carrying me on to reach my goal whilst my body often struggled to keep up!
So I think that is the Action part – now for the Nan…
I absolutely adore being a nan to my four grandchildren and they keep me active and curious too. We spend lots of time exploring and going on adventures in all weathers and I try to pass on the tales and stories I remember my mum and my nan telling me. I see it as my role in their lives and it’s an absolute pleasure.
Why did I come up with the idea of writing as Action Nan?
First of all I am always busy. My mind rarely rests and is always at work hatching some plan or other.
Secondly, my body is pretty busy too. I plan to do some exercise every day – preferably outside, be it walking, riding my bike, Pilates or swimming. If I don’t, I feel miserable.
Thirdly, I did not consider my lifestyle to be anything other than normal until I realised that most of my good friends are 15 years younger than me and I can keep up with them, whilst my peers often comment that I wear them out just recounting my exploits! In fact, one good friend who I did a lot of sailing with said going away with me was like taking a dog. Wherever we landed, I had to be let out for exercise whilst she relaxed on deck with a G&T!
This is so true of me. I am almost childlike in my curiosity and I think it is an important attribute. I always like to look ’round the back’ of whatever is presented to me and find out more. Then the teacher (in a former life) in me wants to share that information with others as I believe knowledge is the key to greater understanding and leads to a richer life.
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed all my Action Nan adventures so far, and I’m excited about the ones yet to come. I hope you’ll join me in discovering all the wonderful adventures Cornwall has to offer.