This blog post contains my diary of the last few days.
Sunday 1st February 2015
I’m off again!
Tomorrow I hope to embark on a walk. I’m aiming to walk right out from my house on the East Yorkshire coast, and strike west across Yorkshire, into Cumbria and the Lake District, and I’ll stop when I reach the sea on the other coast. It’ll be about 220 miles.
I’m setting off in the morning. How do I feel tonight? Excited and apprehensive. Excited because I’m itching to do a long walk again. Excited because I really like the idea of my route – of a trail that is unique to me, rather than the heavily trod St Bees to Robin Hoods Bay coast to coast walk. Apprehensive because this walk is the first stage regaining my fitness after an operation I had 2 months ago. Before the op I was fitter than I have ever been in my life. But now I feel far removed from the person who did things like bomb up and down Ben Nevis in less than 4 hours last September.
I’m so hesitant about my ability to complete the walk that I am not going to publish this blog until I’ve been walking for a couple of days. I had the idea this journey about 6 hours after my operation. I remember lying in bed, a feeling discombobulated from the general anaesthetic and painkillers, messaging my friend Suzanne, telling her I’d had this great idea for a walk. I think we both thought I was slightly giddy with the stuff going round my body. But it’s turned into a real idea. So ever since then it’s been something that’s been nice to think about and plan.
I want to enjoy the walk, and I don’t want to be pressured by setting myself a target to do it in a certain time. So I will take it day by day, starting with gentle daily mileages, and see how I go. Don’t ask me when I’ll finish. I’ll finish when I finish. If I finish. At first I am going to come home every night – my lovely Ian will find me and fetch me back. So that’ll give me plenty of flexibility to see what kind of mileage is comfortable for me. Then after that, I’ll be B&B-ing it, as I can’t yet carry the extra weight that tents etc require.
I really really hope that I can complete the walk.
Monday 2nd February
I have started my walk, and completed my first day.
What a great day for beginning the journey. The ground was frozen, the sun shone, and the North Sea roared. I walked out of my door, over the field to the sea, and then along the cliff top for 4 miles before reaching Aldbrough and turning inland, heading west. I enjoyed seeing the very familiar landscape from some different angles. All was quiet as I crunched along for just under 9 miles. That seems like such a paltry amount. But I’m pleased. It’s progress. And, touch wood, my body feels alright.
It suddenly snowed this evening. I really hope it’s still white in the morning. It would be awesome to walk in the snow.
Tuesday 3rd February
A white morning! What a thrill. When planning this walk I had thought that the initial stages would be the least exciting, due to the fact that it is home turf. But so far it’s not been dull at all, and the rare snowfall – our first of this winter – transformed the landscape. Nine miles again, which I’m pleased about, and my body felt fine and my spirits were sky high.
I saw a hare, deer, loads of animal tracks, and only 2 people. I discovered some paths I’d never walked on before, linking Swine with Wawne. Proper Viking place names, those. It’s been good these first two days, walking in the morning and being home by lunchtime. It feels like a sensible way to ease into the trip.
Wednesday 4th February
A very short walk today – mainly so as to fit in with being picked up and dropped off. I walked from Wawne to Beverley, a route that mainly involved winding along the snowy banks of the River Hull. It was brilliant arriving in Beverley, our local market town, on foot. The sun obligingly came out and shone on glorious Beverley Minster as I trudged up to it. That’s my first leg done. I’ve got going. Tomorrow I am not walking – I’ve got a business meeting to go to in West Yorkshire. Then on Friday I’ll crack on.
From now on I will be able to follow known footpaths – the Wilberforce Way will take me to York, and then the Ebbor Way will take me to Otley, where I’ll have a choice of following the Dales High Way or the Dales Way, all the way to Bowness on Windermere. So far I’ve had to make up my own route – it was something of an unknown as I’d not been on these footpaths before, and one never knows if a right of way as shown on an OS map will actually translate to be a usable path on the ground. Luckily this time all the paths I had chosen turned out to be real tracks. So I’ll call it the Flora Way, from my home to Beverley.
Lovely friends – if any of you would like to join me for a day or two’s walking, then please drop me an email or message me. I know my route but won’t actually plan each daily stage until a few days in advance, but I will be able to tell you roughly where I’ll be. So it should be possible to organise something.