Recently I went on a walking trip with a group of friends. I can’t honestly say that I was particularly eager to embark upon a three-day hike up hills and around lochs but I decided to go anyway.
My sense of foreboding proved correct. It rained for two of the three days; heavily and constantly. There was, however, something oddly satisfying about cooking our meal outside on a camping stove, even if the result tasted faintly of methylated spirits.
The same sense of satisfaction was not gained from pitching our tents. If you have ever attempted to pitch a tent in the pouring rain then you will know how it feels. If you have never experienced such a pleasure, let me tell you it is something to be avoided at all costs.
Having walked all day, all I wanted was to sleep. I had not, however, taken into account the rain or the age of the tent. Thus we were woken at 4 a.m. by a drip. This drip was followed by many more – by the time we had left the tent there was a bowl full of rainwater.
We spent the last day squelching through fields and up paths, misreading the map twice and having uncomfortably close encounters with sheep who seemed greatly displeased by the group of soggy humans trampling across their fields.
Although it sounds like a terrible way to spend your free time, I actually learned a lot. Now I’m warm and dry I can appreciate that, while on the trip, I acted differently. I thought more about the others and less about myself. Maybe if everyone went on regular camping trips the world would be a better place?
I know this is, of course, impossible but being part of a group helps you to become more aware of other people’s needs. Strangely enough I’m looking forward to the next camping trip – hopefully there will be less rain.