It’s been a record breaking year already. We’ve endured the longest January since history began. We had the hottest and coldest April in living memory. Somehow it’s May tomorrow. Remember yesterday, when it was winter. You woke up this morning and it looked like Bob Ross had been out in the night painting Spring green on the bare bones of trees. Too often I find myself worrying that I’ve been wasting my time. I’ve almost run out again and I can’t find anywhere willing to sell me more.
I earmarked weekends for overnight trips. Go somewhere, walk, pitch up, sleep, break camp, walk, go home. The first, it snowed. I gave up on my plans to go to Wales for the weekend. The second, a deluge of rain was forecast. I dropped my plans to walk two sections of the South Downs Way. The rain never materialised. I have less than two months before I load up and step out on to the coast path again. Am I ready? It seems unlikely.
There’s nothing like realising you’ve run out of time to jump start your motivation. So here it is, the next leg:
Weymouth to Abbotsbury – 20km
Abbotsbury to West Bay – 14km
West Bay to Lime Regis – 15km
The internet has tried to encourage me that these distances are achievable in under four hours. I’m sorry internet, but I call bullshit. By my reckoning, on hilly terrain with a reasonable amount of weight on my back I clock a top speed of 3km an hour. That’s at least five hours of walking a day, which actually, when you’ve got all day isn’t so bad.
What pleases me about the first leg is an entire day without cliffs to climb. What worries me is that it will be well over 20km assuming I start when I step off the train in Weymouth. I start to wonder whether part of my problem last year was too much too soon. Am I setting myself up for failure again?
I’ve since encountered a bigger problem. There are no known campsites beyond Weymouth until West Bay. I have two options; wild camp or B&B. There are pros and cons to both; wild camping is free, but I’ll definitely get murdered. B&Bs come with a price, but I’ll get a mega big-time breakfast. A quick look at the options in Abbotsbury suggests murder isn’t out of the question there either. So you know what, I’m just gonna wing it. Walk until I don’t want to. If I have to pitch up behind some dry stone wall on the coast, so be it. At least this way I have the freedom to cover more or less ground depending on how I feel.
The journey remains relatively easy until West Bay where I’ll find my first cliff. This pales in comparison to what awaits at Golden Cap, the highest point on the south coast of Britain. I’ll be able to see it miles before I climb it, so that’ll be something to look forward to. What happens next depends on how I’m feeling. Lyme Regis marks the proposed finish line for this leg. If I’m feeling good and can stock up on supplies there’s no reason I can’t cover more ground (he said, confidently).
What to do? Wales, and a two day trip in the South Downs. I’ll be counting this as both weight, distance, and hill training. When? Ideally, at the first time the weather decides to settle on being dry and mild. Otherwise, I might just throw caution to the wind and drag my sorry self through mud and puddles. My other target is to keep up my distance walking, a few more commutes to the office on foot should help. Beyond that, it’s just about going outside when the time comes and walking until I don’t want to walk anymore. Now for some famous last words: maybe I haven’t left it so late after all.