Monday, 23 August 2010

The Last Weekend

It feels like the end of summer. The British weather is unpredictable at best, so it's not so much about temperature, or rain, but a change in the light. It is that shift in seasons that creeps up that we only feel when it is upon us.

I was camping this weekend with old friends. As the boys went to collect more kindling for the fire, I sat by the loch looking over the hills at the low sun and the rain closer than before.

I love this stirring in the seasons and the light. I look forward to the change that will come with autumn.

We walked in the late summer sunshine, with the odd shower at our backs, high above the loch. After two months of my mother's limbs regaining their strength, mine have been losing theirs. My old back and hip aches returning, caused by hospital visiting instead of exercising. As we walked I could feel my joints loosening and muscles working. The freedom of our land and air challenging my body. Steps towards being more powerful again. I will walk through the autumn.

Wild camping is a wonderful privilege in a country which supports outdoor access. There is a national park an hour from my home, where informal camp sites are well used and tolerated by the rangers as long as we are respectful of these places. We spent two nights with sunshine, violent wind, drizzle and heavy rain all at play.

It is easy to be quiet in this place, and with three men who are happy to share silence as much as chatter.

Yesterday morning I woke first. I sat sheltering from the rain, listening to the Canada geese, reading and drinking coffee made on my little stove. The light coloured front section of my tent is quite transparent as the rain runs from the canvas. I love the simplicity of this. I love watching the water turn into little rivulets. I love that such uncomplicated constructions – when was the first first tent made? How many centuries ago? - can protect us from the elements and can be bundled on to our backs. Fabric and modern day sticks, that's all.

I am glad of this weekend. I have missed much of this summer and am glad to see it out.


  1. I love the idea of camping far more than the reality.

    The last camping trip my wife and I ever went on was about 16 years ago, and in the end the tent never left the boot of the car as each night we decided to go for a B&B instead...

  2. There's nothing like waking up outside in the fresh air, but given the weather I can understand the B&B option!