Time flies when you’re having trouble standing upright.
That’s what they say, ‘they’ being me.
The last seven days seem like 100 and have me coming over quite Rip van Winkel with the realisation that only one week has gone by.
To recap the Hadrian’s walk in as much detail as anyone is really interested in, but would be afraid to admit, could be done as follows; there was walking, a lot of it, and there was pain, a lot of it.
Day 1 passed with a bit of a blur and a haze of false security, leaving me to set out on day 2 thinking this was a piece of piss. 10 and a half hours walking in the sweltering heat, 2 naps, and one serious hallucination about a talking bottle of cider later, I arrived last back at the bunk barn to find the reward for my stupidity, lack of a sense of direction, and general shocking state of fitness, was a place to sleep on the floor.
Day 3 arrived with me cursing the fact I hadn’t been killed in my sleep by a sweat-craving poisonous rat, crushed by a falling beam, or radiated to death by one of the 215 iPhones that were recharging by my head. As if to yank me back from the depths of despair, the Gods of walking took us through some of the most stunning countryside you could ever see. It was worth the risk to lift my head from watching each footfall every now and again to take in a 360 view of, well, everything. Should someone pass that Robin Hood tree in the coming weeks and find a lung, that's mine, I'd like it back. By day 4 I was a man on a mission, striding over fields, leaving everyone in my stubby-legged-oversized-backpack wake, except for those faster than me, which to be fair, was everyone. The lanky fuckers.
That afternoon things went back down the toilet once again and my knee decided to go on strike. It turned its back on its normal duties of simple things like supporting half my body, and meant that day 5 was a wash out. Disappointingly, I spent the afternoon on my bed rubbing myself and moaning, and not out walking rubbing myself and moaning. Some good did come of it though; I discovered ibuprofen gel and the magic that it weaves on human lower extremities. Thanks to this wonderful invention, I set off on day 6 as stoned as an Iranian adulteress, happy to let my new best friend in a tube lead my way on the last day. Wind and rain fought against me for every one of those last 16 miles but Mother Nature is no match for copious amounts of drugs, and sometime mid afternoon I strolled over the West end point of Hadrian’s wall path.
Like most of Angelina Jolie’s conquests might reflect after their first and final night together, I might not have finished it off, but I survived.
Despite his bewildering lack of understanding what a mile is, Dan is owed a huge thanks for putting this together over the course of the last year or more. It’s hard to source a bottle of water on parts of that path, never mind accommodation and food for 35 whingers. A big thanks to his whole family, and his old walking mates who kept wasters like me going when throwing yourself sobbing into a ditch was an attractive option. Same goes to all the other walkers too, every one of whom made me chuckle just enough to make it bearable.
I look like parts of my body were dipped alternately in whitewash and purple paint, my flaking sunburn has left enough of my DNA behind to convict me of every crime from Bowness to Wallsend, I ache from the waist down, and the dried and dying blisters leave the smell of rotting flesh hang in the air, but it is all worth it to see that you lot have raised £700 plus, of the almost certainly reached £20,000 target.
Now the real world is demanding my attention again in the form of a little girl who found a new voice in my absence. She is constantly grinning like a demented monkey, has put on some good weight, likes to high five at every opportunity, and regularly throws her legs back up over her head.
I love seeing her progress but that last bit she can stop immediately.
Oh well, one step at a time.