Well the bandaid is off. And see, it wasn't as painful as you thought it would be, was it? Although, the night is very, very young and there is a lot of painful sleeping to happen before I can really, truly say I have had my first night camping. Can't be as hard or lumpy as the bulk order mattresses the youth hostels get. I am in the corner of a nice field. I can see the track I was on from here, but if I see anyone it is a matter of ducking down and I am out of sight behind the weeds. I have pulled off the track early in the hope that I will get up early and be on my way before there is too much foot traffic. Other firsts for the day: hay fever pills and anti-bug cream—there is a cloud of insects hovering just above me, not sure if they are biting ones but not bitten so far.
Typing in the middle of a field seems incongruous and so I will be quick this evening. Here are a few things I was thinking about today that I have forgotten to tell you about:
One day, I went through twenty-one gates, stiles, ladders, bridges in an hour. I think that is a record—it is one every nearly three minutes. (Dales Way)
One day, at about five-thirty in the morning the farmer drove his entire heard of sheep past my B&B window. There are so many different sheep voices—bubbly ones, gurgly ones, burpy ones, tinkling ones, three-pack-a-day and gin-swilling ones. (Stonethwaite)
One day, I saw lots of woodpeckers. Today I think I actually heard one tapping on a tree. The version they have in this part of the world are black and white with a red belly. (Between Sedbergh and Windermere somewhere)
One day, today actually, thanks to my exemplary map reading skills, I missed the fact that although, yes, this path goes down to the river and then meets up with the Cumbria Way on the other side, there was no bridge! I stood at the side of the river after descending a steep and muddy path and looked longingly over at the path on the other side. It wasn't a deep river, it wasn't a fast river. the decision came down to boots on or boots off. Slimy looking rocks and the pathetic way my oversensitive feet reacted to pebble beaches on the side of Derwentwater made me choose the former. A slip-slide moment later and I was over and trudging down my desired path with a distinctive squelch on every step. A couple of sits in the sun and the boots were nearly dry, a couple of sits in the sun and an all night wear in sleeping bag and bivvy bag and the socks were dry. The man I bought them from was right though—unbelievably they didn't smell, but they sure did let out some dirty looking water when I washed them just now.
Good night to a field near Rose Bridge, good night to you.