Post 8: 7 April 1990: Preparation
Help! The penultimate day before embarking on my first long-distance walk I was nursing a one-inch blister on my heel. I had obtained the blister on a practice walk, with full pack, the previous weekend. It still hadn’t heeled up and I now had grave doubts as to how I could walk over 80 miles with a blister. I was getting desperate and, in order to dry the blister, resorted to using the hair-drier on it and sitting outside with it exposed to the sun (in April)!
I went to the village to buy last minute provisions and met Gary’s wife.
‘Is Gary ready for the off tomorrow?’ I asked confidently.
‘He hasn’t packed yet,’ she replied. ‘What time are you going?’
‘Hasn’t he told you yet?’I said surprised.
‘No, where do you start the walk?’
‘You are picking me up at 7.30am and dropping us off at Ilkley in the Yorkshire Dales.’ I imagined that Gary had scuppered all my well-laid plans.
‘Oh,’ she replied, clearly horrified at having to get up on a Sunday so early.
8 April 1990: Day 1 – Ilkley to Kettlewell Youth Hostel – 24 miles
Left York at 8.00am, half-an-hour later than planned, due to Gary insisting on buying the Sunday Times to take on the walk. I looked at him aghast as it is well known that paper boys hate having to deliver the Sunday Times beyond two yards and here was Gary planning to carry it for 24 miles, possibly longer if he didn’t read it all on the first day. At an average of two pounds and nine ounces, the Sunday Times is just too heavy to carry on a long-distance walk, but not for Gary. It usually takes me a week to read it as I never have the time to read it in one go.
‘Did you bring the first-aid kit?’ I asked as we approached Ilkley.
‘Oh damn,’ Gary said. ‘I forgot it.’
‘Never mind, I have some blister kits and perhaps we won’t need it,’ I said, trying to be optimistic.