Wednesday, 2 September 2020

Alone again, naturally

One thing that is becoming more apparent to me as lockdown restrictions ease, is that I'm a bit of a freak.  I mean, I've always known I was a bit weird, but now I feel as if I am decidedly odd, and definitely at odds with most of the rest of the country.

I adored the solitude of lockdown.  I have loved being at home.  I still do - I am not remotely bored with it.

Days gradually became a whirl of Zoom meetings and delivering online courses, punctuated with lovely leisurely lunches of freshly made sarnies and a proper cup of tea.  Every morning and evening I would wander off into nearby Eggerslack woods, following barely trodden paths to enjoy time completely alone, far away from the rest of the world and the ping of my mobile phone.  I saw deer - honest I did - though the varmints always legged it before I could get my camera out.

Then I broke my leg.  Not the worst thing in the world by a long way, but it meant my solitary walks in the woods were off the agenda - way off.

Week one wasn't so bad as I was completely housebound and we're lucky enough to have enough space to escape each other - although still close enough for Steve to hear my pleas for a cup of tea (most of the time!)

Week two onward was when I really began to feel it - the fact that I couldn't escape anywhere alone.  At a time when restrictions were easing and friends were excitedly heading off on holidays, or meeting up with other friends and family, all I wanted was to do was to go for a walk alone.  Completely alone.  Like I did in the woods.

Although I could get around a bit more, I could only tackle flat tarmac and, even then, only for short distances, as I rebuilt the strength in my leg.  The thing is, just about all nice flat walks with a view are incredibly popular.  We found quieter spots, but I craved solitude at a time when everyone else in the world seemed to be craving other people.

Morecambe - perfect place for a flat walk

I tried not to get cranky, but I may, on occasion, have failed.  I read an article about a child who had been desperately sick but "not complained once" - sadly the same would never be said of me.  If there's one thing my broken leg and lack of mobility has taught me, it's that I am going to be a hell of a handful when I'm old and less mobile.  Seriously, I will be a cantankerous old moo and possibly the scourge of any retirement home I end up in.  Remember Waiting for God?  Diana will seem angelic by comparison.

Desperate to push myself to regain some independence and solitude I persuaded Steve that Hoad Hill in Ulverston would be a great idea.  True, there would be people, but if we went late in the day and took the pretty way down we could enjoy some peace.  It worked - and my leg didn't fare too badly.  (It's week 6 - I was expecting to be throwing somersaults by now.)

Lulled into a dangerous sense of "I'm fine now, honest I am" I suggested Black Combe for Bank Holiday Monday.  I love Black Combe.  I mean *really* love it.  Steve tried suggesting it was, perhaps, a little ambitious.  I fixed him with my "Diana stare".  He relented.  Game on!

I struggled in a couple of places on the way up - a few slightly steeper sections that I simply did not have the strength in my leg to pull myself up - but I am nothing if not sheer bloody minded.  We took a long lunch break half way up in the sunshine and eventually made it to the top around 3pm, where I collapsed in the shelter with a flask of hot tea and a handful of painkillers - but I'd made it - and the best part lay ahead!

Solitude at last!
Pretty much everyone who goes up Black Combe returns down the same path.  Not me.  I head off the northern side, dropping down to Butcher's Breast then following the path along the bottom back to Silecroft. Yes, it was far too far and overly ambitious and yes, I was in a huge amount of pain by the end of it.  BUT we only saw one other person between leaving the summit around 3:15pm and limping back to the car just before 8pm.  Solitude.  Utterly blissful solitude.  

Every single ounce of pain was worth spending time alone on a beautiful hillside, on an utterly perfect day.  I totally understand that, for many folks, the exact opposite is true, and it's fantastic to see friends excited about spending time together again but, for now at least, I will relish the opportunity to get back to my precious, solitudinous, walks.  

Whoop Whoop!

Fell Cottage - every time we pass I dream of living here...

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  1. Nice to see you getting back on your feet again! Your comments with regards the movement restrictions.....I'm with you. Never have I been able to go for a mooch in the adolescent term for a walk where you just sort of....well mooch. Normally the campsite keeps me busy. All the best KielderSteve.

  2. Living in St Bees for 15 years it was great post lockdown to rediscover again Clints quarry, Cold Fell and Ennerdale. All places of solitude. [I started early], my partner broke her leg as well And disappeared into the internet; I need the occassional contact though. Dartmoor is now my solo fix.

    1. ooohhh - I love Clint's Quarry - I always think of it as a secret garden... I tried disappearing into the internet but can't sit still for long enough! Hope your partner is on the mend again soon. :-)