Well, as predicted it was a very windy, noisy night on Blakey Ridge beside the Lion Inn. Although it rained in the night the tent was mostly blown dry by morning. Our friends Fran and Barrie dropped Evelyne off (after I’d had breakfast in their warm car) and promised to pick her up wherever we managed to get to – the original plan being Grosmont 13.5 miles away.
It was cool and very breezy and there was definitely rain the the air as we set of, or in my case plodded off very slowly. It takes about 30 mins before my legs and feet start working properly.
Compared to the climbs and descents of yesterday morning it was relatively easy going, but on rough stony tracks that were really uncomfortable for my already tender feet.
That photo’s just to prove I’m still on this trip (above Great Fryup Dale – yes, it’s really called that) and not sending daily posts from Tenerife.
We had our sandwiches in Glaisdale where we met a couple of locals out for a stroll, and by early afternoon were soon approaching Egton Bridge and Grosmont, the planned destination for the day.
But the campsite, at a farm, which I already knew didn’t have a shower, looked even less appealing when we saw it was not flat and was already full of tents of young people on a Duke of Edinburgh expedition. After a bit of deliberation, a couple more Ibuprofen and some encouragement from Evelyne we decided to head 4 miles further to another farm that did have a shower and a flat garden to camp in. And so we did – not only knocking 4 miles off the last stage, but also completing the most difficult part of what would have been tomorrow’s journey. And we got tea and cake when we arrived!
I’ll count any cost tomorrow morning when I examine my feet. I haven’t got the courage for it tonight.
So, I’m nearly there. One more push tomorrow – less than 12 miles and I’ll be done.
As I reflect back one of the things that’s struck me the most, and particularly in the first days I feel like it’s all I thought about, is the weight that I was carrying. The weight made all the difference to how fast or slow, painless or painful my journey was.
The pack I will carry tomorrow is not the pack that I started with on Day One. Things that I thought were important, or even essential have been jettisoned left, right and centre. Why? Because I couldn’t sustain carrying the weight if I wanted to move forward and reach my objective. I could have held on to all of those things if I just downed tools and said, ‘I’m not going a step further’. But if I wanted to keep moving towards Robin Hood’s Bay, stuff had to go. I couldn’t carry it all.
Sometimes someone literally shared my load for a short time, at other times it was words and messages of encouragement that kept me moving and gave me strength, but that never changed the fact that I was carrying unnecessary baggage and it was killing me. And so I had to sort through and make decisions about what to discard. What was important and worth hanging on to, and what was unnecessary and slowing me down?
So with all of us. But especially so with the lads In2Out supports. They are after all often still children. They often carry huge invisible burdens that no one, let alone a young person, should have to carry and yet more often than not they don’t have someone to share or ‘carry’ their burden for even a time. Or someone to be beside them to make an inventory and help them sort their baggage and start to make decisions about what is worth keeping and what is slowing them down, or at worst bringing them to a complete standstill. Things like failure, useless, abused, typical, waste of space, neglected, disappointment. No one should have to carry those things, but each one can be like a mill stone.
Amongst other things we try to equip lads for the journey they’re on. Sometimes that might be with new skills or qualifications, but more important is what we try to do to help them understand who they really are, discover the strengths they never knew they had and what items they do and don’t need in their backpack for the journey ahead.
I’ve been so blessed to have so many amazing people around me on this journey, who’ve carried and encouraged and sustained me when things were tough. I wouldn’t be so close to finishing now without that support. Doesn’t everyone deserve that?