Off grid yeah?…

Not a bad morning you might say… well let me tell you a little story about how I got here;

Yesterday I took off from Leeds, everything was seemingly in my favour, sun was out while everything was packed and ready to go. The morning session was good got yelled at by a guy named, well that doesn’t matter, I’m going to call him Dick. Dick thought my bag was a little silly, he didn’t like the fact I have a quote sown on, “If we could live happy and healthy lives without harming others why wouldn’t we?”… he decided to kick up a stink, so I gave him the old one two, two one one… and ended up with him saying “could you come back to Leeds and teach me?” See Dick had Aspergers and said when he first saw me he didn’t like the fact I was eating a wrap and therefore didn’t like me, but once he understood where the message came from and I wasn’t a bad person who likes to eat wraps in public we had a marvellous chat.

Now further down the path, I met another man, bet you can’t guess his name. Doesn’t matter either, let’s call him Dick as well! Now Dick was an avid bird watcher, he showed me one of the birds that lived there through his telescope and also helped me hear another quite rare bird that makes a strange sound almost like “when the soft wind blows over the top of your glass bottle” – Dick. Now this doesn’t really have much to do with my reason for why I’m back on grid, but I liked that two blokes with the same name can give me two completely different experiences in the wild.

Okay back on track, my mind had been racing all day, in all the silence I couldn’t stop thinking about people from Leeds, what time it was and how my shoulders hurt, things that really shouldn’t effect my adventure. It took almost all my mental strength to stop and listen, think, smell and really become a part of the wilderness I want to be in!

As the path led me down the canal, I got enthusiastic “Hiyas!” from old men on barges slowly passing by and help with directions, when eventually I passed Methley, then Allerton Bywater, Castleford and got to a place called Ferrybridge as the cold started to set in and the sun was starting to set. Now I thought I would be smart and use my new compass to lead the way. An hour passed and when I finally asked someone where I was, the reply was “DARRINGTON!” in a high pitched and almost aggressive tone. So the path led me the wrong way and then back the way I came. By this stage the sun was getting dangerously low. I made it to Knottingley and was continuously on the lookout for a spot to set up when all of a sudden without any warning apart from the tape I put on one toe earlier in the day, it’s like my feet gave up and five blisters all popped at the same time… I got my boots off, taped the absolute crap out of my feet and tried as hard as I could to limp my way down a side road I saw.
Eventually at the end of the road feet bleeding out of every hole in my foot and after hobbling along with what must of looked like someone who had just been tortured in a movie I made it to a bridge. Stubbs Bridge is where I chose to camp.

Now Stubbs Bridge was next to a railway, a coal mine, a solar energy plant, the canal and in between two large nuclear power plant looking sites. I saw another happy looking enough guy I’d like to call Dick on his barge pushing through the water at a snails pace, I thought nothing of it. Sooo my tent was set up, I was ready to cook my rice and mushrooms on my new trangea, but, nope, wrong lighter fluid… So instead of a hot meal I sat down and ate my packet of raw mushrooms and began reading. I must of been reading for a little while as the sun was nowhere to be seen…

All of a sudden, two policemen came walking down the path, around the corner and found me. They let me know “we have been tipped off you were here, you are not allowed to stay!” So of course I didn’t want to cause a fuss, packed up and went on my way. After a while back down the road, bleeding again I turned back and went to my hidden spot again. Now I’m not sure but I assume that Dick might of been the little bird who tipped them off. Anyways I was back, set up and ready to sleep……..

I woke up to a strange sound, in the dark? It sounded like a machine gun. It wasn’t thankfully. It was a guy pulling his barge up to the side. His name was “Dick”, but more like the bird watcher named “Dick”. Now Dick was kind, gentle and as tired as me, but gave me a cup of tea before I went back to sleep……..

When I woke no more barge, but a beautiful morning. So I set off, I began walking this time in vans instead of my Docs. Immediately my toes bled and the pain returned. I literally almost can’t walk. It took me 5 hours to walk to Eggsborough, then to Selby where I gave up and got the bus to york so I can heal my feet and get some real walking boots.
So I got a really perfect quote from Chris Townsends book Out There – “Far better to learn from those with more experience, whether in the wilds or from books, blogs and articles” and I now understand it doesn’t take away from the adventure if you are comfortable in certain ways, I mean better to have real walking boots and a working compass than not being able to follow the path at all!

So hopefully in a couple of days I can explore York, my feet can heal and I am able to actually go off grid and explore the wild at my own pace, without the pain and in some direction wether it be right or wrong.

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