I had to get away, away from this place, that tree and worse of all I had to get away from all the reasons I had to live for, I couldn’t have them see my suffering anymore, they couldn’t help, nobody could, if I stay I’ll go mad, be sectioned, who’s would want to see that, see their, friend, son, father like that?
I’d do it my way, seek therapy in the things that never stressed me. With nature, close to it, being it.
I’d wanted to walk the South West coast path in its entirety before, 630 miles of varied coastline, every bit different, a diversity of plants and wildlife and quite a challenge too.
I knew it would take a long time, but did I have a time limit, did I need to be somewhere else at a certain time? Well technically I did, but if I did turn up there I feared for the consequences.
I have three beautiful children and had been having them every other weekend since the separation. I couldn’t legally drive, I had no money to buy them food, no gas to keep them warm, a home where mice would wander around eating the crumbs and mess from my neglect and I was a mess, muddied, dirty clothes, underwear stained in stale urine. What sort of father am I, what sort of influence could I be, nothing good would result of me being there, their mother for all her faults at least provides them with what they need, they’d be better off with her...
So it was decided, i would leave and go without telling anyone. I heard the words so many times, “it’ll be alright”, “you’re just having a rough time at the moment, it happens to everyone.” You can get help.”
I’d heard these and more so many times, but I needed to do this my way, for me. I’d do this the hard way, to get me stronger and to challenge myself. If I’d spoken to someone, I feared they would convince me to stay and I’d be back in the loop of self hatred and misery or go back once more to the tree...
Scattered in my car was a varied selection of gear mostly cycling kit.
In my head I knew what I NEED and what I wanted to take:
A Berghaus wind stopper coat. Small fold up coat. Socks. Underwear I only had 3 pairs. Shorts. T-shirts. Base layer. Thick jumper. Buff. Sleeping bag. Blanket. Gerber multitool. Toothbrush. Headtorch and torch. And of course, my camera, spare batteries and charger. I was going on an adventure, I’d see beautiful things and I know photography always make me happy, it would be part of my therapy.
So, I loaded everything into the big yellow bag and rolled up the top to seal it and then strapped that to a small rucksack. Another hail storm had just passed over, I was set, no reason to hesitate, no looking back, I needed to get to the coast by the most direct route, I was in the middle of a range of hills about eleven miles end to end and the coast about a further mile on.
At I think close to 2pm I got out of my car put the rucksack on my back and locked the car, the mobile phone I owned was turned off, then placed in a pocket to dispose of later. The coast was northwards, so cutting out well known paths as I didn’t want to be seen I cut across a pathless piece of land, crossed a road into deep cover and dropped down towards an area known as Ladies fountain, and followed dear tracks, hidden in the hills. I knew the rangers as I did the many other users of the hills, I’d been riding push bikes up there a lot over the last six years and was fairly well known. I didn’t really want to be seen I just needed to be gone.