It’s been a while since I’ve had to work a weekend, and the weekend before last not only did I have to work at the weekend, I had to work the whole weekend. So I found myself working 11 days straight, and I can’t remember the last time I did that. The current situation only made it feel more unreal.
I really needed to get out and create a defined break the next weekend – at the moment, staying close to home most of the time, the weekend can end up being much like the weekdays if you let them. So I was itching to take the tent and just pitch up somewhere for the night – anything, just for a chance of scene and to break things up a bit.
It didn’t even have to be that much of a walk – this was all about the camp: just somewhere quiet to decompress without external stimuli.
The weather, however, was not particularly obliging, and my preferred Saturday night was a washout. So Sunday then, even if it is a “school night”. I waited for the last of the rain to go and hopped in the car early afternoon for the drive across the frontier.
I parked in a spot I’ve used before, slung my pack on my back and headed up onto the escarpment. as it was too early to pitch, I deliberately took paths I haven’t used as much in the past. A bit of exploration, even if I always knew exactly where I was.
The side paths yielded some delights in the form of deep puddles with perfect reflections and a patch of red-topped toadstools
I emerged at the northern edge of “Slug Meadow” and crossed to pick up the North Downs Way. The plan was to loop back around the far side and back of the next clearing to recce a spot.
Before I got that far though, I wandered off-path to investigate the potential of another spot glimpsed through the trees, and when I got there found a pretty flat patch devoid of nettles that was not only shielded from the path, but dropped down below it. It seemed perfect, and although sunset was some way away I decided to hang around a bit and just see how quiet it was.
I stood awhile and just listened to the leaves rustling in the very light breeze. Fifty feet away a fox strolled up the escarpment, not even noticing me. Squirrels bounced around in the trees.
I ended up pitching and settled in for a quiet night in. And great it was. Apart from the rain.
Daylight and a dark shape on the tent roof above me put me on slug alert. With a bit more light it was revealed to be a leaf stuck to the inside of the flysheet.
I packed up soon after sunrise, and meandered through the forest, having the place to myself, and watching the sunlight playing on the branches. I reached the point where I needed to turn and head down to the car and did so, a sunlit holloway being my path.
It was great to get out, and “situation” permitting, I’m going to try to keep it up through the gloomier months.