Year one assignments have officially finished! Last Wednesday was an all day practical on first aid, navigation and camp craft. All in all the day went well, and by 4pm I was done and dusted, dazed and confused with nothing to do.
It was all a bit spontaneous, but my boyfriend invited me up to his home in Earlston, the Borders, for a few days. It’s surreal having no more deadlines – I’m now having to force myself to chill and do nothing, which is something I struggle to do. The only time I can do nothing properly is if I’m away, so a short break away was exactly what I needed.
The next morning, Kerr and I decided to make the most of what promised to be a good day and walk up Black Hill. This was all part of the courageous attempt to increase my stamina, and Black Hill proved to be a very good challenge for me.
I’ve been to Earlston twice before, but I’d never walked round and seen the sights. Woodland is by far my favourite habitat to walk through, so the journey up to Black Hill was beautiful, especially with the sun shining through the trees and dappling the pinecone-strewn forest floor. As always in the country the landscape was hushed, the silence interrupted only by the occasional robin, distant sheep and my wheezing as I scrambled up the hill.
Sheep always seem incredibly concerned when humans cross through their fields. Their beady eyes gazed unblinking as we strode past, ears twitching. As is so often the case, they provided the only subjects I could photograph. Many were camera shy, but this particular individual posed beautifully.
After a hefty march, we reached the top of Black Hill. Although my lungs threatened to pop, I felt good. I was outdoors in beautiful countryside and the sun was shining – I couldn’t ask for anything better. We sat on the grass with apples and oranges and enjoyed the view for a while, then made our slow descent back to civilisation.