Friday, 6 August 2010

Merino and Gore-tex

Feeling exhilarated by the task ahead though I'm a bit disappointed that I can't just pick up my rucksack and go - I'd like to sling my pack on my back, step out the door and put one foot in front of the other rather than all this planning but (i) it's in my nature (observe numbered list) and (ii) I'm not sure I have quite enough faith in modern human nature to just turn up hopefully on someone's doorstep asking for a bed for the night.

(This just confirmed by a girl I was chatting to in wholefood shop (natch), who told the story of a priest who decided to see if it was possible to travel and live without money a la St Francis, and found he could only stay with fellow clerics en route, the rest of us being too suspicious to house him. I'm not sure where or when that was (Ireland/England?) but I'm pretty sure rural mid-Wales is not quite equipped for impromptu sofa-surfing just yet... which is sad, as surely the drovers (in some of whose footsteps I'll inevitably tread) were the Original and Best sofa-surfers. I'll look out for Scots pines nonetheless (see Godwin, F. and Toulson, S. (1987) The Drovers’ Roads of Wales London: Whittet Books - God, can't believe I'm referencing a blog.... dyed-in-the-wool academic I)

Of course for ultimate freedom, I could just camp, but I really don't want to be laden. This may be a pilgrimage of sorts, but I don't see the need to carry a cross or wear a hair shirt. Merino and Goretex is where it's at.

So, route planned and mapped, rucksack contents lists written and re-written (exactly how many pairs of pants can I justifiably carry? They're not THAT big), books read (demoralising wind NIMBY rant by ecologist John Etherington; inspiring and amazing Rebecca Solnit) and re-read (George Monbiot, Alain de Botton), Rolfing session on efficient walking attended, and people talked to. Already had a fairly mixed bag of responses to The Question ('so, what do you think about wind turbines?' - I'm trying to think of an ingenious way of asking this more subtly and indirectly) and am guaranteed a '100% NIMBY' response from my hosts in Llanidloes. Bring it on!

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