“Last week’s HalfWeekHabit blog by Rosie Leo prompted me to share my own new routine.
As someone who has relied on exercise as a tried-and-tested mood-improver, the past few weeks have stretched my resources. Previously, the gym was my first port of call when I felt under pressure, often on the way to or from work. Now this was out-of-bounds. With small children and an over-enthusiastic dog making ‘home work-outs’ unrealistic I needed to find a new solution in lockdown. The allotted hour a day for exercise was a precious commodity over the first few weeks for both physical and mental wellbeing, and it wasn’t long before running became the obvious outlet.
Initially I made the most of running strangely deserted roads, easily measuring mileage and enjoying the Springtime hedgerows that would normally flash by a car window.
After a couple of weeks, I became tired of tarmac and wanted to explore the footpaths I knew were nearby. But how to find them easily? A neighbour shared a link to the Cornwall Council Interactive Map, an interactive record which allows you to enter a postcode or area to see what footpaths are nearby. This provided me with enough mileage to run a marathon (should I ever get to that point!)
“The map opened up the past for me around my own home”
There was more to the interactive map however. ‘Layers’ of the map can be selected, to reveal historic sites ranging from the Bronze Age through to Roman and Medieval, up to modern day. Sites listed often have links through to the online ‘Heritage Gateway’, a website offering local and national information relating to England’s heritage from a variety of sources.
My work with museums has allowed me privileged access to Cornish collections, which can unlock the past and ask questions of the present. However, my knowledge of heritage beyond the museum walls has always been limited. I’m not an archaeologist or even a historian, so the map opened up the past for me around my own home.
Tantalizing glimpses of Cornwall past and present can be viewed via this map. I learned new things and new words; ‘fogou’ anyone?! Apparently it can also be spelled fougou, is pronounced “foo-goo” and is an underground, dry-stone structure typically found on Iron Age or Romano-British-defended settlement sites in Cornwall (and there are 58 recorded here!). The original purpose has been lost but they’re believed to have similarities with souterrains or earth-houses of northern Europe and particularly Scotland, including Orkney.
“A habit that’ll last far beyond lockdown.”
Learning new things about the place I live in, which connected me to the past and places far away, made the isolation somehow harder to bear. I can’t promise that the running will continue once lockdown lifts – I miss the camaraderie of working out with other people too much. But, thanks to the interactive map, we’ve made a start on exploring the world on our doorstep in a way we hadn’t before. Since we have been able to exercise more, out expeditions as a family have included visits in our own neighbourhood to historic sites we’ve found on the map and discussions about life in Cornwall through the ages have helped us begin to make sense of the situation we’ve all recently faced. It’s become the ultimate zero-miles time-travel for us and without a doubt it’s a habit that’ll last far beyond lockdown.”
Cornwall Museums’ Partnership are running a series of events exploring how immersive technology can benefit your business. Click here for more details and to book your place.