Walking Mayne Island
My first memory of Mayne Island was in the early 2000’s I would have been no more than 10 years old. My grandfather, Peter had travelled over from Canada to our little town, Biggin Hill (UK). One evening, he took out a packet of newly developed photos, they were of the home he and my grandmother, Patricia were building on Mayne Island.
Fast forward a decade, and I was on my first flight to Canada, I landed in Toronto, then travelled onto Kenora to work at a summer camp and finally, BC to spend time with my grandparents. We started by exploring the sprawling mainland… I didn’t know it yet, but the best was yet to come. My grandmother and I stood on the car deck of the ferry, Queen of Nanaimo, the little blue house that I’d seen in photos all those years ago, with every single light turned on, grew ever closer as we approached Village Bay, Mayne Island.
Every year since the summer of 2013, I’ve come back to visit, my favourite place in the world… a magical place, so full of love, laughter, and stunning scenery, a place that feels like home. 2020 was the exception, 2020 was the year the world changed.
Like many when the pandemic hit, I found myself at a loss of how to spend my time when not working, getting out of the house and keeping my body moving. With offices closed my partner and I were both working from our rather small one-bed London flat with no real outdoor space. I started walking, I walked during work meetings, to meet friends, family, and at the weekends to explore the city.
Walking has become a huge part of my everyday life, when I returned to Mayne at the end of last year (2021) I set myself a challenge, to walk all of the roads and paths on Mayne during my time here. On the 5th January 2022, I achieved this goal! Some paths and routes I’ve walked many times, others only once, on some day’s I’ve walked under a mile and others, more than 20 (32km)!
There have been amazing moments, discovering new corners of Mayne, the views of nearby islands perfectly framed by the bare branches and light dappling through the evergreen trees. However it was not all easy, on some walks, there were high winds, very large branches dropping from 200ft tall trees only a few meters in front of me was a little unsettling. Ascending and descending Mt Parke (highest peak, 837 ft) in the snow and ice was very challenging, sometimes dangerous, and I did wonder why I decided to venture out on those days, but I’m so glad I did!
Thank you to my grandmother who dropped me in various corners of Mayne so I did not have to double back on myself too many times! And to my grandfather, without the stubbornness I inherited from him I would not have walked nearly as many miles.
Mayne Island, all roads and paths walked by me, 196 miles (315 km), over 31 days, completed on 5th January 2022 at 16:20. In memory of Peter.
Originally published in the Mayne Liner, February 2022.