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Sure-footed in 2017?

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I took the first tumble of the year in this morning’s long shadows.

January’s low, cool sun accompanied me for seven miles along an empty coastal path. It was time and space enough to reflect at last on the year that has just ended. The year of words.

I’ve been absent here because work words took priority. They also took their toll. The day job on a newspaper; editing of broadcast interviews; tweaking the novel; updating Twitter; and checking in on Facebook . It left my eyes screen-saturated and begging for darkness.

There were a few short adventures in the hills I would have shared: a remote summer camp beside a Highland loch and autumn days spent climbing high for views above Scotland. But they were too few. My whole focus last year was on work. On not stumbling.

And now I’m faced with an enforced break. I have annual leave I need to use or lose, so tentative planning has begun for three weeks in New Zealand, a mix of catching up with family, wilderness walking and work.

When I tumbled this morning (to a soft landing), my head was somewhere along the Kepler Track, the high ridge route I walked with my son last time I visited. I was mentally packing my rucksack, locating my tent , boots, head torch and sleeping mat.┬áScotland’s mud and ice were 12,000 miles away. And then, quite spectacularly, they weren’t.

Happy New Year.

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