It’s been over 10 weeks since I returned, broken, from the TGO Challenge, a mystery illness having made me fight hard just to get to the end. On day 2 back at work I collapsed as the mystery illness deteriorated. Three weeks total rest from work followed by a spell of largely working from home pretty much got me back into some form of equilibrium, along with 4 different experiments in Asthma prescriptions. Yes, it’s asthma, which was pretty obvious all along in hindsight. Each course of treatment left me all over the place for the first week, while I adjusted to it, before then giving me some stability and predictability. All of them didn’t quite get me through the day though, and several evenings I was as bad as the day I fell over in the office.
With this uncertainty, there was no way I could really go out on any meaningful hike, let alone a full-on backpack – I needed to get things under control first. Couple that with the unusually hot weather, which meant I didn’t want to go out anyway. So my steps back into the outdoors have taken some time to be had.
My first foray was a month to the day from my return from Scotland. I crossed the river on the last ferry of the day and walked along the south bank of the Thames to find a quiet camp spot. An area I know well, and more importantly could bail out of very easily – my parents living very close. Being an evening walk, this also meant the temperatures were a bit more bearable. All was well, and I enjoyed my camp in my new Trekkertent Stealth 1.5.
In mid-July, I took things up a level with a more testing walk. I met up with Colin and we did the first section of the Saffron Trail, which runs from Southend-on-Sea to Saffron Walden, essentially a walk south to north across Essex. We set off late in the day, so as to time our arrival at our planned camp spot – an area we’ve used a few times, although we always pitch somewhere in a slightly different spot. This time was close to the sea wall.
In hot weather, it was hard going with plenty of stops, but we made it – a walk of 35km.
Mostly urban walks, a lot of it to and from the gallery where I had some artworks in an exhibition (more about that in due course), but the continuing hot weather completely squashed any desire to hike, despite plenty of opportunity.
Meanwhile, though, Cath and I were hatching a plan for a meetup on Dartmoor, which would in effect be the rescheduled birthday trip we never had due to my condition. I was looking forward to getting out into some proper terrain, but a little apprehensive about how I’d get on….
To be continued….