April, the clocks have shifted. The weather is warming, feeling a little more friendly. Buds are bursting and the world is greening. Time to ramp things up, to remember dreams of long laid plans. Perhaps finesse them, perhaps make some more.
Time now for long days over the hills; days at a rolling pace to reinforce durability in leg and lung. Get the hours on the move, get the metres climbed. Keep the navigation quick and slick. Time on those lengthening days to rebuild a confidence and self-reliance dented by injury. There’ll be times to come when that durability and speed and confidence and self-reliance will be needed.
All the little gear things those long days shake down too. Where to stash things in my pack, what things actually need to go in my pack? How do I settle that pack, make it feel nearly weightless? Do those new chewy bars work? Is home mixed gorp still better? Tweaks to sleeves or shoelaces? Am I really sick of the grips on those superlight poles? Shake it down, get it all dialled; there’ll be times to come when it will all matter.
Yet above all those things, important though they are, time for revelling in being out in forest or fell. For the simple joy of moving swiftly and with awareness through these places. To take time to notice the dipper in a Dark Peak stream; the buzzard over a Cumbrian fell; the eagle in a Cairngorm sky; the play of light and cloud on the land. To take a pause and sketch or scribble a few lines. To know that even on long days, there’s time enough.
To remember why I choose to come into these places.
And that last? That always matters. To that I’ll hold fast.