The clocks have gone back, it gets dark by 5pm. It's also too cold to sit around outside my sleeping bag, I need to be wrapped up warm, no arms out for reading, getting freezing. I'm not always in reception and I need to save my phone battery. When I stop walking I'm usually pretty tired anyway. Know what all that means? If I'm camping, I'm tucked up in bed by 6pm, going to sleep. My alarm goes off 6.30 to make the most of the daylight so I'm getting about 12 hours sleep a night. It feels fantastic. No joke. I love it.
Plus I'm not walking over the mountains any more. The Cambrian Way was really bloody hard, if it saw a mountain coming up, it went over it. The route I'm taking now, the Coast to Coast, at least goes around some of them. It's been easier so far and less exhausting.
I feel alright, I have power in my body, in my legs. I am revelling in what my body is capable of; getting up day after day and walking on for mile after mile after mile. Not because I trained or because I'm experienced but because I forced it onwards with my strength of will and because it's tough enough to take it.
I can do this, it feels, not easy exactly but absolutely possible. It's cold but I can deal with that. The pain in my feet is manageable at present, I can make it about 12 or 13 miles a day. Sometimes, before the break, coming down the Cambrian Way, 5 or 6 miles would be the most I could do before I collapsed, sleepy and aching.
I'm kind of enjoying myself, soggy tent and painful feet, cold couscous and mackerel fillets, a bundle of clothes that I scrumple up to use as a pillow. Waking up with a cold nose, poking outside my sleeping bag to see if it's light yet. Trudging up a country lane, resting my pack against a fence post to check my map, my new hat with a bobble on it. Copper bracken glowing in the sunlight, muddy farmyards, puddles in lanes. It's all alright you know.