On dayzeroproject.com-which essential is a website where people list all their objectives in the immediate future and then gradually tick them off as each one is achieved, the fourth most popular thing that people want to do is to sleep under the stars, presumably while camping.
It’s certainly a romantic notion to fall asleep while watching the night sky shifting position as the Earth slowly rotates in the opposite direction. But, how many have actually done it? Have you ever looked up while the icy, dusty, debris from a meteor shower came into view? Have you ever camped in a place so remote, with so little light pollution you could literally see thousands of stars. What a truly memorable experience!
I’m reminded of Emerson’s words, ” If the stars came out only once a year, everybody would stay up all night to behold them. We have seen the stars so often that we don’t bother to look at them anymore. We have grown accustomed to our blessings.”
On Monday I was outside at 3am watching the night sky while waiting for the lunar eclipse. It was a fantastic experience watching the moon slowly turn red-something to be remembered for a long time, and this was the best photograph I took that morning.
One of the things I love about this country, is no matter how impossibly crowded the towns, the roads, and the pavements always seem to be, you never actually have to travel far to find some breathing space-which is unbelievable when you think of the vast number of people we have all sharing the same bit of land. I’m sure my circumstances are no different to most people. I live in a large town, yet despite this it never takes more then a 20 minute walk to find some serious peace and quiet.
Today for example, I spent 5 whole hours walking from Waddesdon to Wendover in Buckinghamshire, completing the 31 mile Aylesbury Ring, using the North Bucks Way, the Midshires Way, and Swan Way and yet I only saw five people over the entire walk!
More then 550 volunteers took part in this years Chiltern 3 Peaks Challenge to raise money for the very deserving charity, the Rennie Grove Hospice.
The challenge itself required a walk along the Eastern section of the Ridgeway-Britain’s oldest road, through three different counties in a place that has been designated an area of outstanding natural beauty.
Last year I made the mistake of carrying way too much, so this year, I ditched the rucksack entirely, which made the 18 mile walk so much easier. I figured food was available all along the course-which it was, including the chance to nip into the Co-op in Wendover, so that was one thing less to carry. And water bottles were generously provided at regular water stations along the route so again, I didn’t need to carry them either. In fact, there wasn’t even really a great need for that regular of hikers staple: the first aid kit, because members of the St John’s ambulance were also supporting the days events and could be seen all along the course. This was a reflection on just how well organized the event was-everything was provided, even down to your transport back to your car, courtesy of Arriva buses and the drivers themselves who freely gave up their time.
As a local, it’s a wonderful experience, being able to see the place that I live from an entirely different vantage point. Now, all of the hills I see every day on the horizon, actually mean something. They are more then just hills. Places like White Cross Hill, Pulpit Hill, and Coombe Hill are really steep. I know that now! And I have the aches in my feet and calf muscles to prove it!
Me and Ben made pretty good progress during the day. Leaving the School at Princess Risborough just after 9am, eventually arriving at the top of the Beacon in Ivinghoe, seven hours later shortly after 4pm, to join a whole pack of other walkers who were already at the top, cheering and clapping the conclusion of their own personal adventures.
All in all, a great day, so cheers to Rennie Grove Hospice Care for all their hard work in organizing such a wonderful event.
Yeeesssss! ( Arms aloft like a winning goalscorer with a particularly special overhead kick on FA cup final day) After a whole year-Yes, a whole year, finally finished the 87 mile Ridgeway! Drum roll please….thud, thud, thud, tshhh, BOOM! Feels good. smile emoticon Now, just the small matter of walking 10.5 miles back to the car. Hmm, that bit doesn’t feel quite so good!