The Roaring Lion of March: 2013 365 Challenge #71

One of the many blizzards today (photo doesn't do it justice)

One of many blizzards today (photo doesn’t do it justice)

March has truly been roaring today. If it is true that it comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb we’re in for some cracking Easter Weekend weather. Here’s hoping!

I braved the minus-seven blizzard to walk the dog this afternoon and was inspired to write Claire’s post today about the weather. Not sure where she’s going to be hiking yet, still have to research that bit.

It is also inspired by my discovery of Christian Around Britain. Following an ex-soldier as he walks the entire 6500 miles of UK coastline without stopping, to highlight the plight of homeless exservicemen. Christian says:

“On the 8th of the 8th 2012 I am embarking on a journey which will either kill me or make me. I am going to walk the whole coastline of Britain non stop, which is approx a 6500 mile journey, equivalent to walking from John O Groats to Landsend seven and a half times, and will take between 18 months and 2 years to complete, I will be starting in Blackpool and finishing in Blackpool.”

On his Facebook support page they also add:

Christian has NO support team nor NO PR team, contrary to popular belief! This walk is off his own back and he walks independently to his OWN schedule. We are humbled by his monumentous efforts. He is not being paid by anyone for this task.

He sleeps rough to highlight the plight of homeless ex-service personnel. He will not accept a comfy bed in a house but garages, sheds or a safe garden would be looked at! If he does not accept your offer of shelter, please DO NOT be offended, he wants to maintain his independence and will only stop when he reaches his destination for the day (though breakfast, a cuppa or a pint is gratefully accepted!). We are so grateful though for all your offers and he will look at his point of rest on the day and look at the support map.

He has posted photos of the snowy weather down by Beachy Head where he has been today (on his birthday). My sister said (jokingly) on Facebook ‘a year or two spent walking sounds like fun to me’. After twenty minutes outside today, with full snow gear on top to toe, I was frozen to the core and desperate for a cuppa. I’m sure it’ll be fun in summer but not now. It certainly puts Claire’s little challenge to shame. Maybe I’ll have Claire hear about Christian or bump into him or something! 🙂

_____________________________________________________________________________________

The thrumming of the wind through the trees sounded like the roar of a jet engine. It made Claire think of her planned trip to the Maldives for the first time since dropping Josh at Manchester airport.

I’d give half my shoe collection to be walking across the tarmac headed for a plane right now.

The wind blew sideways, sneaking through a chink in her thinsulate armour. It froze her neck and sent shudders down inside her coat. She huddled in deeper and pulled at the fleece to protect her skin from the arctic blast.

Shivering Mountain is right. Maybe I should have checked the forecast before I left Castleton Hostel.

Claire tried to take in the view but it hurt too much to raise her head into the gale. A glittering light drew her gaze and she realised the sun was peeking through the cloud, taunting her like a holiday post card.

What are you trying to say Sun? Are you twinkling Look at me! In parts of the world I’m hot and inviting. I warm the sand and bronze the skin. Not here, though. Here I just highlight the puddles and make the wind-torn trees look like a mockery of spring.

Claire turned her back on the mocking sun and pushed on. She felt like one of those toddlers she saw out with their mummies: dressed in snowsuits, unable to walk or use their arms. Like mini-Michelin Men with only their red faces showing beneath brightly coloured bobble hats.

Dressed like a baby, pretending to be the sun. I think I’m losing it. Thanks Carl, your job is done.

 

After half an hour Claire tugged the fleece scarf away from her throat, desperate for air.

How can I be freezing and sweating like a racehorse at the same time? And where is that damn fort? The guide said it was a short and easy walk to the top of Mam Tor. In the summer maybe.

The roaring wind thrust piled-up clouds before it, until the sun was completely hidden and Claire’s visibility reduced to several metres of swirling snow. The flurries chased every which way like shoppers on the first day of the sales. Their hurried movement made her twitchy as if she really was fighting foot and elbow in Hobbs for the best bargains.

Claire raised her head, squinting through the pellets of ice stinging her eyes. The path, that had been clear in front of her a heartbeat ago, had vanished beneath a swirling curtain of white.

Bugger. I knew I should have brought a map. Not that it would help me much now. Pulling off one glove with her teeth, Claire reached into her pocket for her iPhone. Her numb hands dropped it and it bounced once before landing in the gathering snow.

Double bugger.

She dropped to her knees and gathered up her phone as she might a child who had fallen from a tree. Please be okay, please be okay. She pressed the on button and prayed for life. The screen lit up in the gloom and Claire felt her heartbeat slow to its normal tread.

The snow continued to fall, creeping down her neck and soaking her clothes as she squatted on the floor and shielded the screen with her body. With one senseless hand she typed her location into the Maps program. The signal was weak and it took an age for the screen to load. At last a map appeared with a dot showing her position on Mam Tor. She zoomed in and her heart jolted as she saw the crumbling cliff inches from her current location.

It can’t be that close, I would have noticed it before the weather closed in. Despite her confidence she didn’t fancy trying to walk any further until the snow stopped. A quick glance informed her there was no shelter so she hunkered down and hoped the vicious wind would come to her rescue and blast the cloud away. Come back taunting sun, all is forgiven.

Her hand hovered over the call button as she felt a biting need to talk to another human being. No one even knows I’m up here. Damn you Carl for your stupid goading and damn me too for reacting to it.

Her mouth held the words “Call Michael”, knowing the phone would respond and dial up a number she had yet to delete. She swallowed hard and turned her back to the wind.

***

 

2 thoughts on “The Roaring Lion of March: 2013 365 Challenge #71

  1. OMG I had no idea he was sleeping rough.. that certainly takes all the fun out of it. The plight of ex-servicemen is a worthy cause.. I heard something on the radio here the other day about the same problems of homelessness in the US.

    • Yes, I follow him on facebook and it’s pretty amazing what he’s doing (and the support he’s getting). Can’t help but feel if he was a ‘celebrity’ doing it for Comic Relief he’d have raised a million pounds by now. I guess that’s the thing: everything relies on word of mouth and the proper publicity. (Talking of which – thanks for the Tweet!)

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