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Off to the hills

I had forgotten that train journeys at the weekend can be tricky. In a moment of what may turn out to have been genuine madness some weeks ago, I decided that I would take a week off work and do some walking. So, this morning I left London with GNER to head north to Malham in the Yorkshire Dales. The journey was fine until just after Leeds, when engineering work made a change to bus travel necessary – and for some reason the nice people at the railway deemed one minibus enough to transport a trainload of passengers.

It wasn’t. So I arrived in Skipton rather later than expected. But, fortified by tea and cake, I then got a taxi to Malham and am now sitting in my room in a guest house, preparing for the start of the walk tomorrow.

I am going to walk a portion of the Pennine Way. So, over the next week, I will average about ten miles a day as I head north towards Appleby. After a summer of 40,000 people, I’m looking forward to the solitude.

This walk is going to be a bit different from the trecks I did as a teenager. No tent or heavy rucsac for me. Instead, those nice people from the Sherpa Van company (yes, they really are called that) will collect my suitcase each morning from the b&b at which I’m staying and deliver it to the next one. I leave each morning after a hearty breakfast (feeling perhaps like an Enid Blyton or Arthur Ransome character) with sandwiches for lunch in my daysac.

And also in the daysac? Compass. Check. Map. Check. Emergency whistle and reflective sheet. Check. And, embarrassingly, digital camera, mobile phone and, disturbingly, i-pod. Check.

The walking’s going to be much harder than I remember from my youth. But at least I’ll be able to listen to something appropriate (Julie Andrews, anyone?) as I suffer.

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