My friends and family found this anecdote pretty funny, so I thought I’d share it with all of you lovely people who read my blog. Let me take you back to late-November…

I’ve just arrived into Carlisle (see pic above), the finish point of a glorious 73-mile hike (more on that here) through the heart of the Lake District. Four nights of wild camping have left me looking, well, disheveled. This is how I’d describe the state I was in:

  • I smell. Bad. Haven’t showered in 5 days.
  • I’m dirty (as in muddy, not sexually deviant). My trousers are covered in Cumbria’s finest, thick mud, mixed with a healthy portion of cow shit.
  • I’m knackered – have a glazed, distant look in my eye.
  • I look a bit dodgy. A black, woolly hat is pulled low down over my face. My huge backpack is brimming full. I’m greedily scoffing an undefined foodstuff wrapped in tin foil.

I’m early. My wife is not picking me up for a few hours so I need to kill time. But my phone is dead. So I head to Carlisle Library and see if I can access the internet. Alas, I don’t have my library card with me. I go to the counter…

Me: “I was hoping to use the internet, please, but I’ve forgotten my card.”

Librarian (a mixture of fear/disgust/nausea is noticeable on her face): “Ok no worries – do you have any form of ID with you?”

Me: “Um, um, um, let me check.” All I have is an out-of-date YHA membership card.

Librarian (rolling her eyes, as if to say who is this joker): “What is your address?”

Me (at this point my brain turns to mush – I’ve moved around a lot recently and have no idea which address my card is registered to): “Erm, Main Street, Cockermouth (wrong). Ummm, Snittlegarth Farm (wrong). Errrrrrrr, Victoria Court, Malvern (wrong). How about Grit Lane, Malvern? (wrong).”

At this point I’m getting more and more embarrassed. The librarian looks like she is losing the will to live.

Eventually I get it right on my fifth attempt. And that, ladies and gentleman, is proof that long-distance walking can turn you into a gibbering mess unable to function properly in normal society 😉