I slept on top of a hill last week. And it was good!
It wasn't a long night; I bedded down late and was back up to watch the sunrise, but by other measures it was easily the best night sleep I had that week. To rouse from comfortable slumber to see a million stars over head and breath fresh, cool air; roll one way and see the sparse twinkle of lights hundreds of metres below in Edale with the dark mass of Kinder Scout looming behind; roll the other and see the cement works at Hope... not quite so romantic perhaps!
I've been saying I'll sleep out in the Peaks since I first started working there 2 and a half years ago. With opportunities running out, I seized the moment and made good on my plan.
I've told you about the new job, what I know about it anyway. And my 'wild' experiences through that role will continue to feature in any ongoing narrative you get from me.
But this blog has never just been about my job. To get the most out of your interaction with the natural world, you need to make opportunities. "You reap what you sow" after all. Back at the beginning of the year I wrote about how I wanted to make 2018 the year I 'did' rather than 'talked about' (that one's here). I've done OK so far - I've climbed Snowdon, something I've been saying I will do for years, and I visited the Outer Hebrides (Part 1 here, part 2 yet to come...), which has been a dream of mine since I was a teenager.
A few of the plans I originally set have changed - that's life, we'll pick up the delayed ones next year or some other time. Later this week though I'll be departing on the next part of the plan which is another that has been waiting for years.
I've been visiting the Ystwyth river in mid-wales for as long as I can remember. Since I was old enough to start plotting hypothetical journeys and adventures, following a river from it's source right down to the sea has been a recurring day dream and goal. The Ystwyth has been at the top of that list since well before I stopped growing. Appropriate then that when I set out for that journey in the early hours of Thursday morning one of my brothers will be going with me.
Of all the trips I've done so far this year, I will be furthest out of my comfort zone on this one - I'm not the strongest swimmer in the world. I'm confident I'm as prepared as I can reasonably be, and I'm not one to take unnecessary risks... only calculated ones. I guess I can report in a few days just how far out of my comfort zone I get.
The plan is simply. Drive to the mouth of the river, park the car, take a bus back inland, hike to the source, then travel the 27 miles back down river by any means which pass the miles - walking, wading, swimming, floating. Sounds good doesn't right! I'll check in when I'm done.