Sunday, 6 November 2016

Can you hack a hike?

I should have been thrilled at the thought of a bracing Autumn weekend in the Peak District with the Thompsons.  However, my foot has been hurting – a symptom of advanced Middle-Age.
It’s meant we haven’t done any proper walking for a long time.  Such a long time that I had forgotten the importance of sturdy boots and not wearing denim jeans.   
When we set off on Saturday, the air was as full of moisture as it could be without actually committing to raining.  Our route was through fields of deep, saturated grass studded with sheep poo and garnished with country pancakes. 
My old boots not only leaked, but didn’t have much grip left. 
In my mind’s eye was a vivid picture of me skidding and landing on my bum in animal dung. 
I whinged quite a lot.  Nigel and David and Carolyn lured me onwards with a flask of tea and encouraging words.  They pretended that it could be any of us who slipped over in the poo.  I knew for a certainty that it would be me. 
But we were soon mounting a ridge.  We didn’t know which ridge, but some hikers coming the other way told us confidently where we were.  They had louder, posher voices than ours so we believed them.  Until we met them 15 minutes later shamefacedly retracing their steps.
By now, my jeans had wicked wetness up to my knees. 
Then there was a choice to make – I could continue with my low-level whining as we made our way round the base of splendid, craggy Comb hill, or we could choose to ascend it  and I could ramp up to high-level complaining.  We chose the latter course.   
Thanks to Nigel, David and Carolyn, I made it to the top, even with my dodgy equipment and poorly foot.  And I didn’t even slip over in the poo.
I’m surprised they managed to put up with all my beefing.  Perhaps they too have a middle-aged affliction – deafness.  And what looks like a warm and supportive friendship is, in fact, an inability to hear my protests.

Yep.  That must be it.