#23 The final countdown

[This post was written yesterday – Monday 21 March] One week to go, I can’t believe it! This time next week I will be at Heathrow Airport wondering if I’ve packed everything I need, and probably feeling at a bit of a loss about what to do with myself now that all the planning is over and I’m finally on my way. Last night I did my ‘practice pack’ and was not impressed that my rucksack weighed about 14kg. I’m going to have to review the clothing allowance I think …

On Sunday I did my last big walk, I saw in Book Club Gill’s book a 5 hour affair that was about 25mins drive away. Every month or so I meet up with my flute trio, Carl and Joanne, and we have a nice afternoon blowing through various pieces. Once in a blue moon Carl invites me to play quartets, which involves a drive down to Andrew’s house for a fun 3 or 4 hours playing with a nice lunch in the middle. The last time I was down there Andrew’s wife, Sheila, had lent me a cake tin as I was baking a cake for my pool friends (x3) who all have their birthdays in April (it’s become a tradition and each year I try do out-do my last effort – I’ll explain about my pool friends and our infamous trip to Ibiza another time) and I had still not given it back! Andrew and Sheila live in the same town as the walk so I thought I’d kill two birds with one stone.

I duly arrived at their house and out of the blue Andrew asked if I wanted some company as Sheila had driven off to London to play at the Albert Hall, and he had missed his usually Sunday walking group walk on account of having no car. This was a nice surprise, as the walk was fairly long (12 miles) and by its own admission; “desolate”. Also, I’ve not been very successful at navigating using this particular guide book so while I was very happy to be having a walking partner I was also secretly relieved that I wouldn’t have to find my way as he knew the route! This was the longest walk I’ve done and it was really enjoyable walking with Andrew, who was a treasure trove of information about the local area – we even went on a bit of a detour on the way back to visit the old gunpowder works.

The day was a bit grey with a really strong wind and much of the route was on and around the marshes by the estuary. While the actual countryside and terrain was nothing like the Himalaya, the constant wind is something I will need to contend with (the buff was brilliant, and that coupled with my hat should keep me relatively warm) so it was good to experience that. I’ve probably not done enough hill training, but I’ve done as much as I could and I’ll just take it slow and steady. It will be different there because we’ll be going from A to B, so I’ll have no choice but to put one foot in front of the other until I get there (and enjoy the amazing scenery and company of my fellow trekkers on the way)!

We had picked up some sandwiches and had a little picnic in the garden of a pub in a picturesque village and set off inland to complete the circuit. Of course, with all of my adventures there is some sort of mishap. We were crossing a field and came across a wet muddy section between us and the gate. Rather than just walking through we decided to do a detour around, which was a really bad idea. The ground became seriously boggy however once we started we had to keep going, in the end I was in so deep that the water went over the tops of my boots! When we got to the other side, Andrew had to take his shoes off and pour out the water that had collected. Luckily we didn’t have that far to go so we only had a couple of miles to squelch home.

So that’s it. My training is done and next time I go on a long walk it will be in Nepal! Wish me luck!!

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