Monday, 16 April 2012

Three Weeks To Go...

Yesterday, pre-departure nerves set in - was this really a wise idea? To swap my flat, my job and essentially what adds up to a contented existence for a rucksack and 1500 miles of slog and pain.

I recce'd my route from St Paul's Cathedral to Dartford (the first night stop) and, despite assurances to the contrary, I remain convinced that it is a lot further than the 17 miles reported to me. "Oh, yes", when I returned with my findings, "it did seem rather a long day when I walked it", my resident expert replied with some glee. I retired to bed less than happy.

But today, my fears were allayed when I met with my dear friend and walker par excellence, Andrew Bruce outside Cotswold Camping in Knightsbridge; Andrew walks everywhere - Santiago, Rome, Turkey, Balham, Covent Garden, even in his sleep I am quite sure. Soon, I was in the capable of hands of Tansin Norbu and Sonny Bull - the former a trekking expert from Ladakh, the latter a survival expert to make Bear Grills smart with envy at what he can do within the M25 given a bag of nettles and a piece of string. Two hours later and a considerable part of my bank balance depleted, I walk out into the sun with an enormous bergen on my back filled with every walking aid known to man, including a handsome pair of Asola GTX boots, which were fitted, tested, pinched and pulled at by the professorial Norbu in a series of complex measurings and algorhythms to ensure that they were precisely what the pilgrim ordered and needed for the next 3 months, 3 years or 3 decades. I left with a spring in my step, even if I did look ever so slightly out of place among the beautiful monde of London's premier shopping district...

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