It’s been many days rain now, and the flooding here has made national news. Tractors are pulling out school buses, and people are abandoning their cars on the higher ground. Despite all the vehicular chaos, I can still make good forward progress wading through on foot. A friendly farmer offers me a ride across a flooded track in his tractor. Always a bit tricky to explain why I can’t take any help without seeming insane! ‘That’s very kind my feet are already wet’, ‘Ne bother’ he replies.
I’m driven by rage today as I’m so fatigued and there are so many obstacles to contend with one after the other. Most of the day is a struggle through thick mud or wading through flooded fields and roads or climbing over barbed wire fences to avoid the worst patches. A voice in my head begs me to stop and rest all the time. Feet wet, sore knees, pack feeling heavy, no inspiration, hungry & tired….but Scotland is close! The Eccles cakes in my bag have become sodden and melded with slices of ham but, as the last food I’m carrying, I gobble it up greedily.
It’s rained for seven hours and then suddenly the sky is blue and warm. It lasts half an hour before the downpour continues. Much flood debris is carried down the swollen river Eden at speed. The earthwork of Hadrian’s wall becomes more and more apparent as I approach Carlisle. A skein of geese ribbons above my head as the sun sets purple.