I particularly love this photo because it reminds me of waking up on the last day of our Pennine Way challenge, having walked until 10pm through the Cheviots to reach this isolated hut.
The morning was so beautifully peaceful and the sunrise over the Hills was just so tranquil, I felt very much at peace and grateful for our simple but scenic lodgings…
Fast forward about 6 hours and it’s a different story entirely. For the first time on the whole 268 mile walk it is too hot. Having had days of rain, winds in excessive of 60mph and nearing frosty mornings the last thing we expected was sudden heatwave. Most other days we would have rejoiced, but today it created another challenge, a final hurdle to be overcome before the finish at Kirk Yetholm- water.
Having wild camped we had collected and filtered as much as we could from a stream lower down on the Cheviots and carried the extra 6.5kg of liquid up the hills, but cooking dinner, breakfast and normal drinking had left us running low 24 hours later with a complete absence of streams and water sources after 13 days of bogs.
A few 100mls of liquid slosh temptingly in my bottle and I try and moisten my cracked lips with a sticky tongue. My head pounds rhythmically to my footsteps and I am caught between pressing on as fast as I can and preserving precious liquid by sweating as little as possible. I dream of taking a final swig from the bottle, but we must save it for our dog Geoffrey: we have chosen to be here, he has not.
After several more hilly miles I half think I am hallucinating when I heard a beautiful trickle and dive head first to filter and guzzle icy cool delicious, wondrous liquid. For the last few hours I had wished for nothing else and am now in bliss. The pint in the pub a few more miles down the road tasted even better…
So I have told this story before in another blog, but this time I have another point. To join in with all the other New Year commentators tonight I have decided to join the masses with my own 2ps worth.
In that moment on the Cheviot Hills I was so grateful for the basic sustenance of water, everything else was irrelevant: Food, comfort, coronavirus pandemics, whether we could go to the pub or not…
Stevie and I have been massively lucky to have had amazing times this year and completed two massive challenges: Tandem riding Lands End to John O’Groats in 10 days and completing the Pennine Way in just over 13 days, both self supported. Especially in the pandemic!
But in some ways we made our own luck, we changed our plans, bent and flexed, tried to stay positive and safe and achieved great things in 2020. We are so thankful we have our health, have not been affected as many have by the pandemic and have not lost anyone close. Sure, there have been a lot of disappointments, a lot of challenges and a lot of things that didn’t go our way- but that isn’t 2020’s fault! So many people out there are expressing such negative views about the last year, but this makes me a bit sad. 😕
I genuinely feel for everyone that has had it tough for so many different reasons, but let’s not write off 2020 yet! Focus on the positives (if there are any) and be grateful for what you do have: health, friends, family, a warm house or even a water bottle half full…
If this year has taught us anything is that we cannot predict what might happen next, but if we look at last year as different instead of a disaster maybe we can be better prepared for whatever the future might be?
Happy New Year everybody 🥳
I would love to heard what great things you did/achieved/celebrated/changed in 2020 so do comment below and in the meantime… Next year we’re ONLY CYCLING AROUND THE WORLD 🤯🤩🚴♂️🚴♀️💨🌍