Monday, 28 April 2014

Is saltwater on the boots good for the soul?


The Pennine Way starts in a small village in Derbyshire, known to outdoor enthusiasts for that reason but which is frankly, the middle of nowhere. A few hundred miles later it ends in a small Scottish village, again nowhere special. So I guess I'm struggling with the question 'Why there?'. If you take a look at a map it's probably fairly self explanatory but still! Every other long distance path I've hiked has started on a coast and ended on a coast and somehow you buy-in to the fact that you went as far as you could. The end can be glimpsed a day or so before it happens and the entire trip is framed by the geography of our island. But not this time! Middle of nowhere to middle of nowhere! Damn it! I want my seaside moment! I'm lost without it! This is going to be a challenge! No more dreaming of the coast where it will all finish. No visible target. Just Kirk Yetholm at the end of 18 days of hiking. Snuggling at the foot of a hill where a finger-sign no doubt quietly announces that the Pennine Way has yielded to the St Cuthbert's Way. And that's it! On God! There's a hell of a lot of hills, woods, fields and bugger all between here and the middle of nowhere! One foot in front of the other. One kilometre after the next. Pinching myself and muttering over and over that life is about the journey and not the destination. The journey, the journey... The journey starts tomorrow.


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