Late last year we decided that our pre-TGO Challenge warm-up trip this year would be a section of the South West Coast Path, and I selected the section between Plymouth and Poole. Father Christmas brought me the Trailblazer guidebook (favoured by me because they list accommodation, campsites, shops and amenities, saving me acres of research) and I put no more thought into the subject until a couple of weeks back when I wheeled out a spreadsheet and a map and started planning.
A few hours later and I had concluded that the logistics were too difficult, and the costs too high, for a 2-week trip, the main issues being the number of ferry crossings, plus one wade, required on that section (meaning bad timing or weather would be awfully inconvenient), combined with the built-up bits where the only feasible accommodation for the distances I was looking at covering would be B&Bs. Then there were the train journeys there and back, neither of which was cheap or direct.
“How do you fancy Offa’s Dyke instead?” I asked Mick and (being the easy-going chap he is) he raised no objection. We did walk from Chepstow to Chirk on our LEJOG, but that was eight years ago, and I’ve long fancied doing the whole thing. The deal was sealed by cheap and easy train journeys and the presence of a few unticked Marilyns along the route. Train tickets to Chepstow have been booked for Thursday 14 April.
There’ll be an exciting set of omisions from my regular backpacking kit this year:
After a fantastically large amount of dithering, when we got home at the beginning of March I finally bit the bullet and booked myself in for laser eye surgery. On 19 March I went under the laser and by the following morning I was very pleasantly shocked to find that I could read the title of Mick’s Warrant, which hangs on the opposite wall of the bedroom.
For the following week or so, Mick had to put up with me reading signs and other distant writings to him, just because I could and at my 1-week follow up appointment my sight was confirmed as being better than 20/20 in both eyes. Thus, after 35 years of glasses, I shall be setting out on this year’s backpacking trips with only my sunglasses as eyewear.
Hopefully it’ll be a few years yet before I need reading glasses and hopefully it will be many, many years before my eyes degrade again in terms of myopia, as it was an expensive way of saving 200g off my pack weight*!
(*Okay, so pack weight considerations didn’t even come into the decision to get lasered. The biggest excitement to date has been going out in the rain (I never could abide getting rain on my glasses) and I certainly won’t miss faffing with contact lenses.)