Tuesday 28 July 2015 – Walthamstow.
It is hard to believe that in a week’s time I am heading off on a bit of an adventure. Staying in England, and heading back to the South West Coast Path, though this time with a pack and a tent. I have been mildly obsessed with the path ever since I was a support driver for Malcolm Law and Tom Bland when they ran the path for charity back in 2012. I cannot get enough of it, mind you it is pretty long, so there is plenty to go around.
Unlike those two, I am not mad enough to consider trying to run the entire 630 miles, so I am planning on walking it instead, doing so over a couple of years rather than one long session. This summer I am lucky to have a month off work, and will do three weeks of walking – if I can.
When I first decided to do this a few weeks back I had in mind a three week power walk, carrying all my gear, free camping as much as possible, cooking and being self sufficient. The reality of the distance and the terrain has now fully set in, and mixed with the reality of my fitness and experience (or lack thereof) of multi day hikes I have settled for doing the best I can and just enjoying myself. If I do three days walking and three weeks of lying in the sun reading a book, then so be it. At least I left home. I suspect I will achieve something in between.
One of the many things I enjoy about doing different things is all the research that goes into these activities. I realise I am not going to Antarctica or the Amazon jungle, so research is sort of overkill, but it is part of my routine and I get great pleasure out of it – mixed with a bunch of self doubt and fear thrown in for good measure, once the reality of hiking sunk in.
For this trip I needed to pretty much buy everything, I have a good travelling pack, but it would be hopeless for hiking, I have a sleeping bag, and that is pretty much it. I needed a tent, a stove, sleeping mat, walking poles and a raft of other bits and pieces thrown in. I spent a lot of times in shops, reading, internet searching and generally enjoying myself researching things I knew very little about. Last weekend I went out and bought it all. I spent a lot of money as I prefer to buy quality over cheap. But I am happy with my purchases.
At the weekend I had a test day of putting up the tent, checking the stove, and a first load of the pack with most of the crap I have accumulated for the trip, some which will be dumped before I go I am sure…
The tent went up pretty easily and is as small as I expected a light weight two person tent to be, I reckon it will fit me and my pack comfortably, but I would not be wanting to share it with anyone else.
The surprising thing was when I took it down and put it all back in its bag, it actually fitted with room to spare. This was actually a shock, a pleasant one mind.
After a bit more research this week and a second packing session – I have tossed out some stuff already, I have found that the modern thing to do is put the tent at the top of the pack not the base.
The pack is very shiny !! I remember when the Macpac pack I took on my travels was this shiny. It isn’t any more 🙂
I have decided that for this trip I am not going to take a laptop, I was planning on taking my little travelling laptop and doing some writing and photo editing on the way, but even the small laptop weighs too much, and I am going to have to be very weight conscious (pack weight, not me weight. I plan on eating like a pig). I will take a pen and notebook and more flash memory for the camera instead. So there will unlikely be any posts along the way.
Not taking a laptop worries me somewhat as I will have to decide now what music I want to listen to for three weeks. What if I change my mind ?
It is a hard walk, the more I read the tougher it sounds, while there are no mountains to traverse the path is a constant stream of small ascents and descents, and a lot of them steep. I admit to being a little pensive about the whole thing. I guess it all adds to the excitement, in a way.
This Friday is my last day at work for 4 weeks, Yay !! As a great start to my holiday, El and I are off to the lovely lovely city of Bruges for the weekend. We are very excited about this. El has not been there and I have not been since 1987. It was the first European town I stopped at on my incomplete Europe tour and I shot a whole role of film there, which was utterly extravagant at the time. I was stunned at how beautiful the old town was, I suspect not much has changed since then. I also suspect I will take more photos this time!
Wahoo !! Looking forward to an awesome August !!