I’d spent a most splendid afternoon with Michael, a man I met fleetingly in a car park next to the Ardnamurchan lighthouse about a hundred years ago on the ramble.
We hugged like old friends and talked, almost without stop, for the next 5 miles about things personal, political and mental healthy.
Contrary to the weather reports, the sun shone through the Autumn leaves.
He shouted me lunch in a coastal pub – we sat outside as tourists wandered by.
As we talked, I knew he had to walk the 5 miles back to his car – but I’ll let you into a secret – I really didn’t want him to go.
But he’d walked with me for 5 miles just to walk back again – how cool was that?
Still didn’t want him to go though…
Enough whinging – he left with offers of help should the good ship walk a mile begin to sink…
With his departure, I sped off and got lost, found, lost and found again.
I appeared in the South Eastern Wirral village of Neston, tramping around a field looking for somewhere to stick my new found tent.
A local couple helpfully directed me to an adjacent field. Obediently, I trundled off.
So, what would you do? You find a big bald guy in a kilt, who tells you about walk a mile at the same time saying he has a severe and enduring mental malady.
Rachel is an oncology nurse who lives with her ageing cats Charlie and Heidi and, as far as I know, has no martial arts as one of her unique selling points, and yet…
After a short discussion – that didn’t include an exchange of names – she said I could stay in her spare room…
And she fed me – and chatted about…well, everything really, looked at her photography – mainly of Cornwall…and I had a shower…and hot chocolate before bed and a hot water bottle!
This from someone who found me in a field.
I asked her, ‘What on earth made you invite me back…?’
She said she felt she was a good judge of character and that she thought what I was doing was worthwhile.
She told me many of her friends were similarly minded – I smiled at the thought of them having a hospitality-off.
Rachel is an absolute delight. With an early morning hug goodbye she went off to work and I trundled back to the Wirral Way.
If I’d had any doubts when I started back these have been truly obliterated by these deliciously typical walk a mile experiences.
Walk a mile