As a government civil servant, I was burnt out from working on Brexit and Covid and needed a change of scene. Trekking the length of Britain is just the tonic
It’s 7.30pm on 29 April and I’m standing alone on the highest hill in this part of Cornwall. The sun is bright and eager, dancing with dainty flashes on the waves west towards Newquay. But I’m wrapped in everything I have – two pairs of thick socks, leggings, trousers, T-shirt, two long-sleeved T-shirts, jumper, fleece, jacket, snood, hat – and still the wind reaches its long fingers down my neck to grip my spine. It is one degree above freezing; in less than a week it will snow on Dartmoor.
In fact, this is more than a hill. This is Castle an Dinas, one of those iron age forts to which schoolchildren are taken to be underwhelmed by ditches and mounds. The dog walkers who came up earlier weren’t cowed by antiquity: each allowed their charges to mess, tongues wagging. Watching the deposits stirs in me something I was repressing. For the four days I’ve been on the road, public toilets have been there when needed. A threshold is about to be crossed. I’m going wild.