Tuesday 3 September 2013
Aylesbury

Well, I tried. I really did try. The flow of the post seemed to be forming well in my mind as I descended Lingmell into Wasdale Head on Saturday. But sat in front of my laptop, in my flat in Aylesbury, the room lit by only the blank, white screen, I just wasn’t in the mood. I couldn’t find it within myself to write about a glorious weekend on the north western Carneddau, my first wild camping trip of 2012.

To those who had been waiting for me to publish it, after my self-proclaiming tweets a few days earlier, I’m sorry to disappoint.

I then thought for a while about writing this, a small piece of autobiographical text, and whether or not I should share it with the wider world. Perhaps this is not the right place to share such personal thoughts, such personal happenings.

Yet, each time I go walking, I share some of that. The mood I’m in and how my body feels are intrinsic parts of whether or not a walk is enjoyed. I’ve tweeted about those feelings, just as much as the views I may or may not be enjoying, the joys of seeing wonderful sunrises or sunsets and that sense of freedom and isolation when pitching my tent somewhere distant from even the faintest vestiges of the rest of civilisation.

It’s fair to say that the last six or seven months has been some of the toughest I’ve experienced in my, still relatively short, life. Whilst I’d rather not share the detail, a close relative being diagnosed with cancer, followed by the death of another relative whilst experiencing an increasing amount of stress at work and having to deal with some material mishaps all within quick succession could have only one outcome.

Make no mistake, there have been some great times too. The TGO Challenge was a highlight, and I’ve enjoyed some great walks with some good people, and the banter that went alongside. Walking and wild camping was my release from the stressful work environment and the pain that accompanied family life for a period.

Then, at a point when I needed another release, a chance to relax my mind, I ended up losing friends, the very same people I had relied on for that banter, the banter I had come to cherish.

I suppose trying to carry on, to persevere as if things weren’t that bad throughout the last six months was, for me, the wrong thing to. Losing friends was the final straw. I ended up in pieces, not literally, but the pressure relief valve opened, suddenly and quickly.

I shall skip over some of the detail here, as I don’t feel it appropriate to share. What I will say is thatĀ August hasn’t been a wholly bad month, just that the walks haven’t been the same. Each one felt more enjoyable than the one before, but they still felt slightly empty and, as for the trips to the Lake District, I had an over-riding feeling of not being welcome.

So, 2013 hasn’t quite gone to plan. By now, I’d have been expecting to be looking forward to winter trips. But, beyond the end of September, the diary is empty. No winter routes have been planned, no thoughts shared, ideas exchanged or details agreed.

As for the blog, and more importantly the trip reports that some folk have been looking forward to, I’m not sure when they will appear. I’ll still put my routes on Social Hiking and, from time to time, upload some photos to flickr.

What I do know is that it will take me much longer than I had ever thought for me to return to top form, to return to that seemingly happy-go-lucky chap who enjoyed the hills and mountains so much, almost on a whim, from one week to another. I think that the trip report may have to wait until then.

Please bear with me.

Rich