Sunday 3rd September actually felt like the first day of autumn. There was a steady drizzle in the air as Esta dropped me off in the village of Naunton Beauchamp, east of Worcester.
I had 15kg in my backpack, along with water and some sugary snacks, and I made my way along the footpaths towards home. For some reason, most of the tracks appeared to be uphill, and the weight on my back was very noticeable. I'm no longer in my 20s, and army days of tabbing with far heavier packs are almost 30 years distant. Besides, this is supposed to be fun, not grueling. I'm on a steady build-up to put miles in my legs ready for Nepal in 2018.
Luckily, the day brightened as I walked, and aside from crossing one field as the farmer was thrashing the grass with a tractor I don't think I saw another person until I arrived at The Retreat in Norton.
It amazes me how many public footpaths actually cut right through church grounds and cemeteries. These churches are typically lovely buildings, nestles in small villages, and the trees seem to pre-date everything they tower over.
With quite an extensive rail network in the county, many of my walks involve crossing a line at some point, or at least paralleling one. Stopping for a drink and to watch a train rumble past is a good excuse for a rest. The worst part is putting a sweat-soaked backpack back onto my aching shoulders.
If nothing else, it all makes me realise that I do need to keep my packing list as small and light as possible for Nepal.
One time soldier, part-time author, full-time training manager, husband and father.