Trails and trials of the writer who walks
Day One (minus one)
TOMORROW I’m going to the Isle of Man to walk the coastal path. I had planned to leave today but when I checked up on the ferries, the £26 footloose fare is a limited offer and this afternoon was fully booked. Bit of an anti-climax, now that I’m all packed. The ferries from Liverpool don’t start until 1st April so I’m going to sail from Heysham Port. One train a day from Lancaster connects directly to 2 pm Heysham Port ferry. As usual, I have a long distance trail packing list which includes reminders to renew batteries in my torch, watch and voice recorder as well as re-charge the camera and the phone. This year I have a ‘round the house’ checklist as well. My husband passed away in January. I used to do my ‘walkabout’, as he called it, once a year. I started this passion late in life, when our sons were already at uni. When hubby was still in good health, I used to set off without a care in the world. He was quite capable of cooking, shopping and looking after the house. As he deteriorated, my pre-walkabout preparations involved cooking meals for the freezer and making sure one of our student sons would be at home all that week. This is the first time I’ve left an empty house. That makes me feel more nervous than the thought of wild-camping the coastline of Man. A good friend bought me a stretchy travel washing line for the trip. I tried to look grateful, but … honestly! … there’s nowhere to hang it in the tent, socks wouldn’t dry overnight anyway. I was going to leave it behind but then I discovered how neatly it lashed twice round my rucksack where previously I’d used a belt (in constant fear that the vertical zip would give under the strain, although it never has). It also added security to items attached to the sides in those zig-zag lengths of elastic that rucksacks provide. I had already experienced loss of pink flip-flops when the knot at the top of the elastic undid itself. (Pendle Hill area — anyone found them?) It would be a disaster if my waterproof coat went the same way. Not with a double wrapping of washing line it won’t.