I have been on some amazing walks of late. It is part of the reason my writing here has been so lax. Instead of pondering around at home thinking about where life is going to lead, for the last few months and years I have been quietly walking the real pilgrim journey with the man I love.
At the break of the New Year we set out on a stroll up Buckden Pike. Buckden Pike is a majestic looking mountain at the head of Wharfedale in the Yorkshire Dales. The summit is at 2, 303ft, and on a cold January day, with gale force winds that could pick up up and throw you down again, golf ball hail stones flying horizontally in the breeze, and climbing steeply and slowly past disused mine shafts, this walk cannot be described as 'easy'. But, sheltering crouched behind an old stone wall, sipping sweet coffee and appreciating every small mouthful of a warm sausage sandwich saved from breakfast, I was happier than I have ever been. We had decided, a few days previously, that for the rest of our born days we would walk together.
Last week we were up at 2, 087ft, walking Kinder Scout in the High Peaks. Once again our journey was no walk in the park. The steep ascent up Jacob's Ladder had me gasping for breath and begging for mercy. On the other hand, the warm thrill and relief of a picnic at the top, followed by jumping and skipping across the lunar landscape of the winter moor summit was a bliss that cannot be compared. Returning to the valley floor we took the steepest path I have ever faced, and cautiously crawled, putting one exploratory foot on the ground whilst holding the other back, hooked sideways into the land to prevent a tumble. On several occasions one or other of us would have to reach out to ensure the steady footing of the other. On reaching the level path our normal pace seemed like a jog, and weary bones felt light.
Walking it through, together, like true pilgrims.