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Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Six years later

Yesterday  Gayle,  Click for Mick and Gayles blog , called in after her walk round my domain, and on her way to Scotland. Unfortunately Mick was absent due to some current employment.

It is unusual to make strong friends later in life, but Mick and Gayle are an exception for me. We talked without a single break for over three hours, but importantly we both talked and we both listened having a genuine interest in each others topics and anecdotes and that is the measure of good conversation and friendship.

My memory of our first meeting on day fifteen of my Land's End to John 'o Groats walk is still vivid but for you readers here is the relevant extract from my journal:

Wednesday 30th april 2008
Bawdrip to Cheddar
17.5 miles

Towards the end of this day I had just negotiated what became in my mind the worst stile of the whole trip. There was a gap in a hedge about six feet wide with a difficult stile descending via a nearly vertical mud bank about six feet down to a complete and unavoidable mud bath, and then ascending to another stile even more difficult than its partner, and all this, for reasons I can’t now remember had necessitated removing my rucksack.

I was just walking up the field trying to recover from this trauma when I realised I was being followed by two other walkers. They turned out to be Mick and Gayle who were also walking the End to End, and we walked together with some minor navigation problems due to our enthusiastic chattering, to arrive at the camp site at Cheddar. Mick and Gayle turned out to be a great couple who were doing the walk for the Macmillan charity. I think they will be visiting me at Arnside sometime in the future. Their planning had been meticulous with a large spreadsheet detailing all accommodation on their route, and they had also produced at home a large number of dehydrated meals using a proprietary dehydrating system. The meals looked very good.

And later on  my blog:

...we continued to meet each other from time to time until they took a different route via Offa’s Dyke from Knighton, but we have remained in touch by mobile  since…"
The offending stile.
Mick and Gayle were perhaps a hundred yards behind, but I hadn't seen them at this stage

Well, that was six years ago and we have had many pleasurable exchanges since, and long may they continue.


Blonde Two said...

Friends are a true gift and, like so many other good things in life, often turn up when you are least expecting them.

John J said...


Anonymous said...

How lovely to make new friends. Since I started walking I've made many friends in the virtual world - through Twitter and blogging, but not many while out on a real-life walk. And, as you say, deep friendships become harder to establish in later life, so you are lucky :)

Phreerunner said...

Great stuff, Conrad, and I think the blogging helps these sort of friendships. Thanks go to Gayle and Mick for keeping in touch with you and thereby being responsible for our own friendship.

Sir Hugh said...

All - thanks for your comments. Keep on blogging.

Gayle said...

As always, it was great to catch up with you, Conrad.

Even though our routes weren't entirely identical, I think I agree with you that the stile immediately before we met you was the worst of the trip. I recall the first part being designed for someone with eight-foot legs, and then having to crawl under the second part, as the bottom rung was missing, and the top too high to climb over without a leg-up.