Tuesday, July 25

Let's start at the very beginning

To quote from the film 'The Sound of Music' (stick with it- that's not the high point!) .........

I'm out walking every week, courtesy of a brace of Border Collies who just don't know the word Stop. And when whimsy takes me, I load up the rucksack, and go walkabout. Solo.

Most times this seems to be around the Lake District Fells, an area of the UK about 300 miles travel from my home on the south coast, so perhaps that gives you some idea of my love of the place.

Over the years I've spent time on and around Dartmoor, probably my second love, with forays off to the Brecon Beacons and Snowdonia in Wales.

I started backpacking as an escape away from home/parents. My first holiday and not yet 16. An escape from the recession hit Midlands in 70s. The punishing schedule (to my older & hopefully wiser eyes) was a two-week crossing from mid Wales northwards to the north coast, carrying the proverbial kitchen sink on my back, including a 2lb bag of sugar (thanks Mum - ggrrr) The ex Army boots (£4) packed with newspaper to handle the lack of fit, and help dry them out. Didn't work by the way.

Those were the days - fitness a plenty, but no sense.

At the time the freedom and sense of movement through the landscape blew through my city raised perspective.

Occasional day trips to the Peak District tourist spots didn't seem to have the same effect, so over the years I returned to Wales, courtesy of a cheap Youth Hostel Association membership.

Slowly I started to spread more afield.
Time rolled on ...

Work, family, house and regional moves disrupted the walking, but another long term passion of mine over many years, motorcycling, allowed me to continue to indulge my learning about camping, on the cheap. Rough and ready. Sometimes very rough!

Still moving, faster now (sometimes very fast) but more fettered by roads & rough tracks.

Roll on the 80s. Pressure from life/work/family meant a few buddy trips to the wilds. Mostly pub/short walks, but an occasional fellside camp fanned the flame.

With great age comes greater experience. I hope.

The old gear was dug out of the loft. Boots examined, worn, blisters treated, boots replace. New gear purchases slowly started up and as the 90s moved onto the present day I now manage to solo trip a couple of times a year if possible.

Still enjoying the movement, but now meeting old friends, the hills, a reassurance in the solidity of the hills, and the tarns. Especially the tarns. But more of these later.

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