Leaving took longer than it should have done. I managed to keep finding ‘one more thing’ I needed to do, one more e-mail to send, one more bit of paper to put in a folder, one more phone call to make. Over the past few months I’d tried to make sure that I was ‘preparing the parish’ for my sabbatical, and kind of assumed that planning for my pilgrimage was all the preparation I needed; so, it surprised me to catch myself delaying my own departure. It felt odd on Sunday morning too, to realise that I probably wouldn’t be presiding at the Eucharist until Holy Week. I didn’t anticipate finding it difficult to go away, which is probably why it’s such a good idea to go away from time to time.
The rucksack is going to be an issue. I packed it pretty much as I plan to pack it for Scotland. It’s heavy. And bulky. Heavier and bulkier than I think I can manage for over 300 miles. Dad is driving back-up for the first half of the walk, and I know he would be happy to take my rucksack in the car, but for me that would mean demotion from the Championship to League One of the walking world.
It’s sad, it’s silly, but I do have a league structure for walkers. In the Premiership are those walkers who hike and camp – they walk long distances, carrying huge packs with sleeping bags, tents, food, stoves, everything. That’s not me – when it comes to camping, I’m more Alan Carr than Bear Grylls. In the Championship, my favoured league, are those walkers who are going from B&B to B&B, but at least they’re carrying all their stuff with them. League One – walking with your sandwiches, while a taxi takes your bags between overnight stops. It’s a stupid way of looking at the world, but I’m a man, so that’s only to be expected.