Before coming into recovery my Friday night’s and Saturday mornings would have been spent either watching some rubbish on TV or just wishing the hours away with a book or DVD. Each day was basically a case of existence and reduction of my medication with loads of self-pity thrown in.
Yet in recovery I was asked if I wanted to go ‘Wild Camping’ for 24 hours which involved walking up Pendle Hill and sleeping in the wilds with just a bivvy bag, sleeping bag to lie in and a waterproof camouflage sheet (tied at each corner with rope on to a tree/branch on an incline) to keep the wind and rain off.
At first, I thought they were mad – but I agreed to go and it turned out to be a fantastic experience – although trudging up that hill in a downpour was hard going. I found it really tough on my legs since they have spent more time static than in motion. Yet I can honestly say that the ribbing of each other kept us either laughing. We had a smile on our faces from start to finish.
The views from the top of Pendle Hill, once the rain had stopped, were eye catching – valleys and beautiful countryside for as far as my eyes could see; unspoilt by council estates and housing.
On the Saturday morning, we all had a brew and packed everything away so there no signs of our stay left. Our litter was burned or thrown back into our rucksacks. This time, on the return journey, we hiked around the base of the hill and again the jokes, ribbing and laughter flowed.
I’d like to pick out one of the really funny bits. I could say it was when one of one of the girl’s feet sank into the wet, muddy ground and out came her foot minus her boot. Or when the boss was in her basher (our improvised tent) and she put a net bag over her head (I think maybe it was to keep slugs off – but to be honest she looked hilarious). It’s hard to pick one highlight because it was the whole experience and the slightly mad humour of those that I shared the trip with that was just fantastic.
It was hard going for me but I kept going and completed it, thanks to all who came, for their mental humour, fantastic outlook and camaraderie.
So, anyone reading this who has been considering any form of recovery activity – I say do it!
You will love the experience and laughter plus all the care and consideration of your fellows and staff in recovery. I was all for dodging activities – but no more! Let the games begin as I will be there and so should you be.
Also, some massive thanks have to go out to Graham, Wayne and John from Activate who led us on this hike and shared their experiences of how to camp out in the wild and leave no footprint! Thank you, to everyone involved!