Another Long Way Down
This is an old blog that I’ve copied from my other writing bit of the web, but it is about one of the bigger walks I’ve done in the past. Hopefully when various surgeons and medical wizz-kids have rebuilt my knee, I’ll be doing more of them. Until then, I intend to do more of everything else outdoors that doesn’t need me to rely on legs. Oh, and a note of caution… don’t phone the Jazz Cafe after reading this, the original blog was 6 years ago…
I was speaking to someone in a well known ‘outdoorsy’ type shop yesterday about bivvi bags and some other stuff. He asked me what I needed the thing for, whether it was for an emergency or was I using it for a longer period as my main shelter. I told him that I was walking from Glasgow to Reading later this month and using the bivvy to sleep in every night.
“Blimey, that’s gonna take you ages” he said, “isn’t that about 350 miles?”
I pointed out that it’s just over 400 door to door, but I’m not going the most direct route, but a more ‘scenic’ 500 mile version.
“So you’re gonna take about a month, maybe a bit more yeah?”
“Ten days, or 9 days with a bit on both ends, I fly up on the 22nd and I’m hoping to get back to the Madejski Stadium by lunchtime on April 1st”
There followed a slight break in the conversation and I could see his brain ticking over.
“…but that’s like 55, 56 miles a day over nine days” I couldn’t fault his maths, but then he came out with this…
“Impossible, nah! Can’t be done, it’s too much for too long, nah, can’t do that, nah, you’ll be walking for too long every day, it’ll be too hard, and you…”
I tried to stop him because I could see he was going off the rails and was going to self destruct. but on he went anyway…
“You should give yourself longer or not walk as far, I mean, do you know if you can do it or not? It’s not going to be easy you know!”
“No, I don’t know if I can do it, and yes it will be hard going”
“So what’s the point?”
I amazed myself at how calm I stayed at this point! What’s the point? My god, consider where he works, and he asks”What’s the Point?”
If I wanted something easy, something I could do without any problem, I’d walk to the corner shop everyday and sleep in my garden on a hot summer night, but then it wouldn’t be a challenge would it?
I know I can walk to the corner shop, I’ve done it often enough. I know I can run a marathon (at least I could ‘cough splutter’ years ago) The idea is to push myself upto and possibly beyond what I think I’m capable of. Hard it may be, and it is a Long Way, hence the name ‘Another Long Way Down’
Let’s break this down a bit…
Another: an additional; one more; implying ‘not the first’ perhaps… I may be the first to walk from Glasgow to The Madejski Stadium but the idea is not original by any stretch of the imagination, therefore it’s ‘Another’
Long: now the Oxford English Dictionary’s definition of ‘Long’ is rather, well, Long! So to keep it simple I shall just use the first line, “measuring much from end to end” says it all really.
Way: a road, track, path etc., for passing along. A course or route for reaching a place. There is way too much on ‘Way’ so in a way, it’s best if I leave it at that!
Challenge: A summons to take part in a contest or trial, to prove or justify something, a demanding or stimulatingly difficult task. “Stimulatingly Difficult?”
Oh well , if that’s what the book says!
So there it is!
I’m going to be stimulated by a difficult and demanding task. One that involves traversing a road, track or path that measures much from end to end. Whilst not being original in concept, it’s original to me. Especially the Curry/Chilli/Comedian/Speaker bit at the end in the Jazz Cafe by Madejski Stadium on 4th April.
So get your tickets by phoning The Jazz Cafe on 0118 9681442 and I’ll tell you if I ever got that bivvy bag or not!
And just in case you were wondering, you don’t have to walk 500 miles for a curry and a pint that’s my job!
Originally Posted 2nd March 2010 by Steve Blethyn