Yesterday the sun shine bright and warmed your soul and the wind froze you at the same time. So what better to do than go for a walk along the rocky outcrops of North Somerset! I’m not a well seasoned hiker but I know my limits and I am more than well aware of the dangers and predicaments one can find themselves in. I own the right equipment and clothing rather than choosing to be the news headline on any given night as that bloke that “was ill prepared and put himself in danger”.
I own a bug out bag that is always ready and doubles up as my day/night bag. It can sustain me with fluid, warmth, shelter and food for 3 days. I have light, fire, a first aid kit and the knowledge to use it all. So going for a simple hike/light climb, I’m well set up for.
I found a steep narrow path that surplus surface water had made over the years, cutting and wearing away a channel through the very steep incline to the sea. It was steep indeed. And loose! But I slid and scrambled my down onto the rocks below. When I looked down from the top, the rocks looked nice. Smooth and smallish. But holy moly when I got to them I felt very insignificant. I could feel the power of nature, the millions of years of tidal erosion and powerful winds in my soul. Fissures in the rocks that looked like a tiny hairline crack a few minutes ago now resembled the vast openness of a miniature Grand Canyon. I immediately thought “I shall never be found should I fall down one of those bastards” which was a stupid thought really. As I’m one of those unfortunate people that when I think something bad is going to happen it usually does! Never happens the other way round though, like “ooooh I bet there’s twenty quid on the floor outside the chippy” kinda thing.
Anyhows, I wandered around for an hour or so, treading carefully as I admired the view. Then I decided that I may as well brew up a hot coffee whilst I’m down here. So I set all my kit up, opting to use my Fire Maple stove and built in pot over my Titanium kraku stove or my collapsible wood burner. (Told you I was ready for owt! The wood burner is good for if I run out of gas, see!) I got the brew on the go and sat down on a proper mat I carry to. It’s insulating and soft on my lovely arse. It’s one of my best features so I like to take care of it I heard a familiar clonk and rattle and thought “why that sounds like my Titanium mug and stove rolling across rocks” and I glanced down and sure enough I was right. Away it went, rolling faster and faster, bouncing across the big gaps in the rocks towards the cliff edge. And the sea. Now this mug set is cleverly designed in that the hands fold in, and a small gas can fits inside along with the tiny 19 gram titanium burner. So it was heavy enough and round enough to pick up a fair bit of speed. Boing, clonk, bounce it went.
Luckily and I really do think it was luck, it stopped about an inch from the edge before disappearing down a 15 foot deep fissure in the rocks. There was nothing I could do apart from watch it dance its way to its own death. No point in chasing it. No point at all. I’d never catch it and I’d probably die trying. Once it had stopped I sat and watched it for a few minutes whilst I came up with a plan of recovery. I skilfully (I’m lying outta my arse, there was no skill involved whatsoever) scaled the scene from Mars that lay before me and eventually managed to retrieve my favourite drinking receptacle without further calamities. I also managed to retrieve your own self from the rocky outcrop back to civilisation without any trouble.
I learned a few things yesterday. I learned that although I enjoy my own company immensely, after the last month of experiencing these wonderful adventures with someone I felt very alone out there. My mindfulness was in a good place but it would have been in an even better place had I had someone there to laugh at me whilst I dealt with the above dilemma. I also learned just how vulnerable we are against the forces of nature and that opened my eyes somewhat. We see these beautiful scenes that lay before us do but we really “see” them? In an instant yesterday I felt more alone and vulnerable than I had done since I was a kid. I kind of enjoyed that feeling as it woke me up. A final thing I learned was “Hold on to your shit”.
"Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you."