I made a decision last week. I’m not planning any more long-distance backpacking routes. It turns out that I love the idea of them – love the prospect of walking for days completely self-supported, but when it actually comes down to doing it, I hate it. It’s hard to admit, but I’m just not cut out for this thing that I think I want to do.
As I wrote earlier this year (Looking Ahead into 2019), the Cape Wrath Trail was likely to be a watershed walk for me – a make or break walk. It turns out it broke me. Not physically, but it certainly broke my rather tenuous hold over any hope I had of pushing through into a new mindset around multi-day backpacking trips.
The plan had been to push beyond my usual 2 or 3 day limit on backpacking trips. This is the point at which I usually lose interest, enthusiasm and any will to continue. Until now I’d always been able to pull out fairly easily; when you’re in the Lakes or the Dales you’re never far from a bus stop or train station. That’s not the case on the CWT and I was hoping the lack of exit options would encourage me to push on and enjoy it. It didn’t. I found a way to quit.
I will probably still do the occasional overnight trip, perhaps even a couple of nights, but that’s my limit. No more making plans for week-long excursions and then abandoning them after a couple of nights, much to my own disappointment and the inevitable frustration of my long-suffering walking partner, Chris.
If I’m honest, this comes as something of a relief. Not the outcome itself, that’s quite disappointing really, but the fact that I’ve made the decision, that I’ve drawn a line in the sand and I don’t feel the need to cross it again.
Just to clarify, this isn’t an end to my long distance walks, it’s just an end to multi-day backpacking (camping) trips. I’m still looking forward to many long walks, just with a B&B at the end of each day, instead of a tent.
I’ll be heading out on the Ravenber Way in five weeks, which will be six days along the middle section of the route from Appleby to Morpeth. Expectations are high for that walk and I expect to be blogging as I go, all being well.