Is anyone else finding it hard to break out of lockdown? It’s been 15 months since I confined myself to barracks, and aside from one brief foray north to Assynt in October 2020 (see image), I’ve been staying mostly local.
Since restrictions eased in my region, I’ve been trying to push myself out of my local area, mainly by driving almost 30 minutes (big woop) to Fife. But I think I’ve become a bit institutionalised!
I want to get north, to the quieter, less populated wildernesses. Or at least go somewhere green that’s not just for grazing. I have lots of plans for resurrecting my tent - but no massive hikes, I’ve become too lazy, out of condition and sedentary from the stultifying, seated life that I seem to have adopted. My camera feels so heavy!
But maybe a car camp or a stay in the tent within a mile of the car could be done. I feel anxious. I've always felt (stupidly) like I was trespassing when camping and after all the dirty camping bad press of 2020, I feel even less welcome staying out overnight. Wild campers have gained a bad name over the last year! For the record, I am the epitome of a "leave no trace" wild camper. However every trip now somehow feels illicit. Even my jaunts to Fife feel like Border reiving. Or is that just an excuse? I have begun to doubt my own capability to push my physical boundaries beyond a short dog walk. After all I have a bad back/knee/tailbone! After all it looks damp out there and it may aggravate my arthritis (I don't even have arthritis). After all where is there to go? After all, isn't all the accommodation up north expensive? I’m getting older but much, much better at excuses, and I worry that I’ll leave it too long to try to grasp that particular nettle again and do something exciting!
Last week I went north to Perthshire, a whole hour away. I was pushing the envelope. I was out for 4 hours, strolling, and by the time I got home I was exhausted and needing my bed. Just 4 years ago I drove to Assynt, climbed Cul Mor (well, most of it) in the rain and drove home again. I’m only 4 years older. When did I start wimping out of things? I think, it’s my personal version of the lockdown effect (I think we all have our own personalised version of this). Less fit, larger waisted and worst of all, losing belief in my own physical ability. It’s time, I think, to rage against the dying of the light... Even if it's chilly out.