The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Tuesday Night

As I mentioned when I posted a couple of photos on Wednesday, I didn’t have a very good night’s sleep on Tuesday night. In fact, I think it’s right up there in ‘my top five worst nights of sleep in a tent ever’.

Thankfully it wasn’t a fear of mad axe murderers that kept me from my slumber; there was no lying there is a state of terror – in fact, I was pretty relaxed. This is roughly how it went:

7pm – pitch tent

7.09pm – admire my handiwork.

7.10pm – make an exclamation of “You stupid cow!”.

7.11pm – re-pitch tent, this time with the door away from the wind (well, it is a year since I’d used that tent last and, being used to a tent where it’s simply a case of ‘stick the tail into the wind’, I’d forgotten that it does matter which way around the Competition goes)

8pm – wind drops completely. It’s looking good for a peaceful night.

8.30pm – a sheep is eating the grass immediately behind the tent. It’s amazing how much noise a sheep chomping on grass can make when you’re in close proximity!

9.15pm – The wildlife really is conspiring to try to make me leap out of my skin. This time it’s a grouse which cackles from just a few feet away from my left ear.

10.30pm – Time to put my book down and get some sleep, even though I don’t feel especially sleepy.

10.40pm – the wind suddenly picks up again, but from a different direction. The tent is flapping like a flappy thing. I can happily sleep through rain on a tent, whereas a flapping fly tends to keep me awake.

12.15am – In spite of the flapping, I’m finally dozing nicely when I’m rudely disturbed by what sounds like a large plane about to land on my head. I’m under the flight path of Manchester Airport, but earlier the planes hadn’t been too loud and they’d all but stopped just after 9pm. This one seemed to be taking off and sounded like it was only just above my head.

12.40am – Still wide awake from the previous disturbance when another plane comes over. The lights are strobing into the tent, so it must be pretty low.

1am – I start pondering possible tents that don’t weigh very much and wouldn’t be so flappity in the wind (I miss Wendy Warmlite at times like this; a breeze like that wouldn’t have worried her pretty flanks).

1.30am – Okay, I really do need to get some sleep. I want to walk quite a long way tomorrow and my thoughts are now turning to needing to shorten the day. When my thoughts turn to just going home in the morning to go to bed, I resort to my audio book. A bit of Jane Austen usually sends me to sleep nicely, and it would have the double bonus of blocking out some of the sound of flapping nylon - and so it did, on both counts.

5.40am – Wake up with the audio book still playing. I’d woken at least once an hour since 1.30 , but I felt refreshed enough to think that a decent day’s walking could be had. It would definitely be a bonus if I could pitch somewhere more sheltered tonight though!



  1. Wendy is in good hands with young Andy. He has her flanks as taught as drums. No flapping flanks with Wendy...

    It's true what you say about not getting to sleep at times; best to take a little of that electric water to splash into your cocoa.

  2. Flappiness is indeed, a nightmare.

  3. Alan - maybe even just cocoa would have been a good idea? Or, taking the trouble to dig out my mp3 player a bit sooner.

    Louise - Perhaps I just need more practise at sleeping through flappiness. I'll have to plan another trip so that I can work on that!