Tomorrow I’m off: 5.30am from Shrewsbury by train via Crewe, Leeds and Garsdale, then a bus to Hawes to pick up the trail where I left off. There’s 151 miles of the Pennine way remaining. I just hope that my head settles down a bit because I’ve been clumsy and forgetful all week.
A few weeks ago I was quite flat (not depressed but withdrawn I’d say) which has been replaced with this fly-in-a-bottle craziness. One of my ‘special thoughts’ was brewing and maybe it was that getting me down. It isn’t the kind of thinking you can talk about, but maybe I can write it out: it’s about mortality again, but with more a feeling of puzzlement rather than panic, sadness or anything else. I’ve grown to feel more and more connected with nature, and so it’s hard to imagine myself being ‘kicked out’ at some point. It’s not so much existential anxiety as existential confusion. It makes me think that I need this walk for spiritual reasons, and if the last walk was anything to go by the mortality question will get into my head again out there.
I’ve been juggling lists all week and I think I’m pretty much set with the kit. Yesterday, though, there was a bit of a last minute change of plan on the sauerkraut. Such a shame. I opened up the pot and the smell was really odd: not the normal tangy pungency but sweeter and a bit ‘off’. There was a white film over the top and no bubbles of gas coming through. It looked quite dead really. From what I can gather it was probably a yeasty growth. Like many of the moulds it’s safe to just skim it off the top, but the yeasty taste and smell is off-putting. I took a small bite and Andy took a spoonful and we waited. By the end of the day we were both queasy (ed: I wouldn’t say queasy, more farty)so that was that. With it being a third of my diet it might not be a good thing to rely on it. I thought it was too late to replace it but my sister’s managed to get some unpasteurised sauerkraut (being delivered today). I’ve made my pemmican and decided to take some semi-dried fruit that I’ve pulverised with a rolling pin to get it into a beaker.
My bivi bag was in a state because the seam tape was all falling off so I bought some iron-on tape to re-do it. Turned-out, though, that the old tape stuck back down with the hot iron, so I haven’t needed the new roll. I’m taking two poles in case of hip failure, but rather than buy a new one I’m taking a chance on two that I’ve made (one from Hazel, and the other from Ash). The ash stick is quite exotic, with a curvy fork at the top (trident!). To protect them from wear-and-tear Ive covered the ends in rawhide. No more tap-tapping! After packing it all during my lunch break today it weighed-in at 15 kilos, which is two kilos lighter than the pack on the previous leg of the expedition.
Pemmican: 1kg lean beef, cut thinly and dried then crumbed and bound in 400g of fat.
Dried fruit: 500g
Drinks: coffee, tea, mint tea, hot chocolate.