The Cumbria Way- Day Zero (Ulverston)

Cumbria 1

Camped out on the front lawn of a caravan site in Ulverston, checking kit and re-packaging food to reduce weight.

After the long drive north from Cambridgeshire, we camped on the outskirts of Ulverston. To our dismay our rucksacks seem much heavier that they were on the ‘White-to-Dark’ trail a few weeks ago…and that is after some kit replacement to cut weight. Part of the problem seems to be the amount of food we are carrying (3.5kgs each…about 3 days worth). It is sobering to think though, that in the Pyrenees, we will often have to carry this much and maybe more, not to mention water and fuel.  It seems our base-weight is still too high. Our starting pack weights for this walk are currently an unacceptable 17-18kgs!  There is some thinking to be done on this, although this is partly what this week is for, to check and test before the GR11, while we still have time to make changes and learn.

With the long summer twilight we go for a drive out along the coast of Morcambe Bay, what a relief to see the sea and distant horizons after land-locked Cambridgeshire. The subtle, changing shades of the sky, silver, grey, blue, purple, merge with the miles of glittering mudflats.  Flocks of white birds rise and and resettle on the distant tideline, it is bleak and beautiful, and reminds me of how much I miss the sea and our island life in Orkney. Living on the island, surrounded each day by birds, sea and sky, I was open and perceptive to the beauty around us. Caught in the humdrum routine of our current lives my mind often feels closed to beauty, too stressed, tired or distracted to tune in. For a moment on the shores of Morcambe Bay, there is space for my mind to expand and relax, a flicker of inspiration returns. More than ever I am convinced that we need to seek better way of living our lives. Our wild pilgrimmage on the GR11 is the start.

Before bed, trepidation before the walk begins, I have planned this far less than other walks, leaving the details to unfold as we walk,  I drift off more worried than excited.

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