Have you ever been severely beaten by an entire team of rugby players? I haven’t, but I imagine you would wake up feeling very similar to how I felt after a night on a camping mat.
I left the pub around half past ten.. 3 pints of real ale and a cheeseburger the size of a football weighing me down in an attempt to aid sleep. It didn’t work. The mat was quite useless (for sale, £20.. great mat, used once).. I lay in my miniscule lopsided tent, my nose nearly touching the ceiling.. it turns out the tent is approximately 2 inches shorter than me, which means I couldn’t straighten out all night. (Beautiful tent for sale £50.. used once.. sold as seen.)
I tossed and turned all night. From my knees to my armpits I had an average temperature of 146 degrees.. My feet and arms were a numb -30 … (I’ll do tent and mat together for £60? Grab it before it’s gone)
I woke at 6am.. decided I couldn’t stay in the tent any longer and crawled stiffly to my car.. At first I thought I’d been the victim of a countryside burglar.. the window on the driver’s side was missing entirely. It turns out when I’d locked the car the night before I hadn’t wound the window up. The car was damp and now home to a colony of bugs, flies, spiders and a few things I’ve never even seen before.. Still more inviting than the tent though. I spent a couple of hours planning a route while I waited for the cafe to open.. there was no way I was setting off without a coffee inside me.
Route planned. Coffee drank. Bag packed (two bottles of water filled from a suspicious looking tap and a sausage roll wrapped in brown paper bought from a local shop. Time to hit the hills!
The route was around 15km.. first couple of km was a gentle rise toward the huge hill (some would say mountain) I trotted along quite happily until I got to the steep bit.. boy was it steep.. I worked out I was averaging an athletic 2km per hour.. my two bottles of water were looking like a bit of an underestimation.. I finished the first one and decided to save the second till I hit the top.. (the top wasn’t the end of the ups.. I was walking along a ridge that horse-shoes around the valley and has more ups and downs than I would deem necessary). I’d need water later and couldn’t drink it all now.
To cut a long story short I’ll fast forward to the bit where I reached the top.. feet and legs aching.. knees bowed and sunglasses steamed up from the inside.. I’d made it. I reached into my pack for the second bottle.. it was nearly empty.. Some may say I hadn’t screwed the lid on properly.. I’m saying it was obviously a manufacturing fault (probably made by the same people who make tent poles). Things were looking desperate until my hand alighted on the sausage roll.. it had soaked up a large amount of the water (who knew sausage roll pastry was so absorbent). I sat on the ground atop Mam Tor.. Groups of other people were standing around (they probably took the easy way up).. and as they laughed and chatted in their groups I sat alone and sucked the water from my sausage roll.
I thought the bad bits were behind me but it was still quite difficult going.. I was feeling pretty done and wasn’t even half way.. I noticed the path I’d mapped out was empty of other people. They all seemed to be taking the main path.. I stuck to my route and carried on alone.
An hour or so along and I could feel a heart attack coming on.. no one would find me. (Obviously I hadn’t told anyone my route so no one would know where I was or even how many days I’d been missing for.. crows circled above me.. sheep started to look less cute and fluffy and more carnivorous.. I could hear the farmer’s words to the police in my head.. “Well he’s obviously been here for days but I’ve never seen a sheep eat a body before”
I whipped my phone out and wrote a quick goodbye note/ will.. I’ll paste it here for you. (It’ll save me writing another one next time I’m near death)
Goodbye beloved family… Make sure you cancel my Xbox subscription.. to my daughter I leave everything I own.. there’s also probably about £80 in my bank account.. that should be enough to hire a skip to dump it all in.
To my friends.. one of you should have been with me and this wouldn’t have happened.. therefore you all mean nothing to me..
To the person that finds me.. I wouldn’t eat the sausage roll in my bag if I were you.
I guess you’ve realised that I made it back.. a two-day adventure is at an end.. it’s had it’s ups and downs (pun intended) and now it’s time to find somewhere with a bath and have a 3 hour soak..
Obviously most of you lovely readers look to me as an inspiration/teacher… maybe even a hiking guru, so I’ll leave you with the main lesson I learned.. Always, and I mean ALWAYS! pack a second sausage roll in a different part of your pack.
See you all soon!