Monday, 24 May 2010


It started with my Jubilee year. Turning sixty seemed to call for something other than birthday cake so incendiary it would require a standby fire extinguisher. Five years ago, I walked the center section of Hadrian's Wall. I wanted something as dramatic, something that would signal my resolution to continue adventuring as long as my spirit and body hold out.

This is where Ulysses comes in. My friend, Sue, is also celebrating this milestone and it was she who gave him to me. We are both Tigers, born in the Chinese year of that fierce creature, making him the perfect traveling companion. It also seems only fitting that she share this 89 mile walk across both Dartmoor and Exmoor.

At the moment, we are lounging in the pub at the Sportsmans Inn in Ivybridge, listening to a bizarre mix of 50's through 70's pop music. (Andy Williams is crooning "Paris Skies" right now.) Tomorrow morning, we start the hike. We walked as far as the Dartmoor boundary just after arriving by train from London, to be certain that we can find our way. It's stunningly beautiful, but a cold front is forecast for later in the week. We don't care. We have our waterproofs. We have our maps.

I'm not sure that Ulysses will make the entire walk. He may turn out to be more of a hotel potato. We'll just have to see. At the moment, we are drinking Guiness on tap and enjoying life, the universe and everything.

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