I thought I’d better practice what I preach and squeeze in a quick escape in that long, lazy lull period before Christmas and New Year. I’d been really keen to get out up into the Yorkshire hills. I’d managed a few short runs amidst the indulgence, but hadn’t quite got round to anything more than that. Indeed, I’d convinced myself that the cloudy weather forecast was reason enough not to bother sleeping on a hill. I reached for another mince pie and the remote control.
The late night weather forecast came on the telly. “Clear but cold” I heard. It was time for action! It was half-ten at night. My brother was already tucked up in bed.
“Fancy sleeping on a hill?” I called into his room. To my surprise he said “OK” and hopped out of bed. I’m not sure I would have bothered!
We quickly stuffed a few things into rucksacks. Mum declared us both “crackers” as we left the lovely warmth of home behind and headed for the hills.
My brother and I were both instantly glad we’d made the choice. We laughed at the stupidity of it, but that’s half the fun.
The night was cold and clear. The moon raced through patches of cloud. Lights in villages far below seemed to be from a different world. It was beautiful up there. I’ve run and ridden up and over that bleak fell all my life but I realised I had never been up there before in the dark. It was memorable and fresh and fun and simple. And I hope it becomes an annual tradition.
Morning comes late at this time of year in the north. We slept late and woke to a moody, quiet dawn at the tail end of the year. I never seem to tire of the simple pleasure of waking up on a hill.
We’d slept tucked against the lee of a dry stone wall, down and out of the sharp December wind. A perfect place to cook breakfast, too.
A cup of tea and a bacon sandwich gazing down on half the world and looking back on the year almost past.
And that was that. We headed back down the hill for home, for a mince pie, and for all that the next year might bring for the both of us.