Sunday, 18 February 2007


I am on the settee again (t.s.i.m.f.)
We went out for a walk today in Suffolk. Probably the last walk until I set off for Cornwall. So we did it well. The Star at Lidgate is a wonderful little pub, run by a wonderful lady whose cooking is honest, simple and wonderful, using the best local ingredients (okay the asparagus might not have been that local.)
Phil & I went for the 'value meal'; three courses for £15 or so, washed down with a lovingly poured IPA and some vibrant Rioja. The girls, ever conscious of their figures, went for a modest two courses.
Two hours later, we tumbled out of the pub, donned the boots and strode out into the afternoon's dull weather. We tried a few footpaths, but they were sticky Suffolk mud and so we resorted to the narrow little lanes, heading southish for an hour and a half. When we had gone south for enough, I dropped the pack and put up the tent, so Phil could see it for himself. He was right: In the dull Suffolk air it did look a little 'thin'. Hey Ho.
Stowed it all away and then started heading northish till we made it back to the pub in the last shreds of daylight.
I can't see myself getting any more time now for more walks until the 'off' in ten days time, as I have to get loads of stuff for work finished so I can leave it for four months.
And then, there's the Palm computer/mobile phone blogging chaos to sort out. Lynnie might have come up with a solution - she has some techy wizards at her work who may be able to help. I hate giving in to technology, but this time I am seeking help! I need a geek.
Two teeth to fix tomorrow morning (bottom right molars; should be fun...) and a haircut to organise (it's been eight weeks & I am now officially a hippy.)
The coats: Perhaps four is overkill? Now I have the TNF gilet I am thinking of dumping the XCR Goretex, as I should be warm enough on the tops in the shitty weather. Besides, that way I can keep my beautiful Paramo Velez. I must remember to take the hood for it.
I have sorted out the camera carrying problem.
All this is incredibly mundane crap, but there you go - it all has to be sorted before I go. In ten days time, none of this will matter, as all I have to do at the first end is put one foot in front of the other until I get to the far end. That's what its about, after all said and done.
On the way home, I had a call from 'Morpeth.' It's always tricky having a phone conversation with Morpeth, as he's a broad Geordie lad and it takes me ten minutes to retune my ears. I first met Pete in '95 between Tarfside and Edzell and spent a day nodding, mainly in blank amazement, at the total unintelligibility of the dialect. He is a wonderful man, who has terrible escapades with seagulls' teeth, German camera stealing hikers, and badgers. If I get time I will write a blog all about the world according to Morpeth.
Anyway- he will be walking with me with his friend Mike, from Bellingham to Morebattle, so that gives me something to look forward to. On this hike, I will be walking with loads of fascinating walkers, most of whom I know, some I don't.
It is all becoming quite real now. No more abstract planning. This is going to be a BIG walk. With long lonely bits, perhaps, but also with some stunningly good company. For the first time, tonight, sitting here on the settee (t.s.i.m.f.) I am beginning to feel the reality of it all.


  1. Hi Alan,
    about the coats : how many did you take on your Challenges ? Not that much I suppose ?

  2. ON last year's Challenge I just took the Velez - performed wonderfully.

  3. Hi you two! (T & A)

    On my last Challenge, I took three coats - the XCR, the Velez and the down jacket.

    Andy is right, - I have taken a Velez over now for five years or so, but was always chilly under it, so I have made A Decision!

    This year, I shall mostly be wearing..... the Velez. And if it gets cold I can wear the Gilet underneath, and still have the down jacket for later on in the tent or bothy. I shall be leaving the Goretex behind! That should shave 650g off the weight.


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