It's a funny way to spend time, doing nothing. I set off again tomorrow, Friday, and I arrived here on Sunday night. Today is the first day I've felt properly sleepy, groggy, not waking up properly until ten am. It's as if it's taken all these days for my body to shift gear, to come out of the relentless Forward I've set myself into and start to release, relax. I feel as if this rest is not enough, but I'm not sure how much would be. Would I be ready to go again after two weeks? A month? Maybe never. Maybe I'd have to force myself at any point.
I thought I'd write more this week. I thought maybe I'd put some of the first six months into a computer, start to spin a few threads of story from the wisps of memories that are filling me up. Does it matter if I forget things? If all the times I sat down on sheep cropped turf and ate handfuls of trail mix from a battered plastic bag are running into one? Where the feeling of hair tickling across my face in the wind or watching the sunlight fall through leaves can come from any day at all, does it matter about the sequence of things? I'm not sure.
I wanted to tell you about Snowdonia, about climbing mountains, about walking from sunrise until sunset, about heather growing in the cracks of a rockface and looking out at a range of peaks and calculating the crossing of gigantic pieces of land. Where the swoop and rise of a peak can be pinned down in minutes and hours. I wanted to tell you about clambering, about the ache of my knees and the scream of my thighs as I pushed myself further, physically, than I have managed before on this walk. Walking is one things, scrambling is another and as I came down a steep, steep hill, towering above me impossibly, vertically whenever I looked back, the light left the valley, turning to pale purple to grey to black as I slowly, awkwardly lowered myself, my rucksack and my stupid bamboo poles down steps of boulders, heather roots and gravel. I came to a cleft, the path lost long ago and realised I had to lower myself down the rock to a ledge; the rucksack was thrown down the hill, the poles tucked safely into the cleft and, as I searched for the second handhold I needed to lower myself down to where my feet would touch the rock I thought "This isn't walking, I'm a walker not a climber". The shaking came later, the dropping to my knees and the gulping of longed for water beside the rushing river that was almost safety.
I'd love to have written a whole long thing about it all, but I've been sleepy and the days will have to stay as memories, layering down among all the others and waiting for the layers yet to come. Those of the Cambrian Mountains and the Brecon Beacons, I'm not done with mountains yet. When I'm over them, when I reach Cardiff, which I hope will be by the start of October, I'll be halfway.
Tomorrow I set off for the Rhinogs, with a friend this time, thankfully. I'll be glad to have company over this tricky terrain.
What is it most important that I tell you? That I'm not giving up, that I will carry on until I finish or can't go any more. That, despite appearances, I deeply love this. That it's hard.