In praise of daughters
Saturday, June 20th, 2009
It was the day before father’s day. We were having a week’s family holiday in the Brecon Beacons. My daughter came up to me and said ‘Look Dad, I have decided not to give you a present tomorrow, but what I really want to give you is a day of my time. What would you like to do?’ I decided that, more than anything, I’d love to go for a long walk with her. The following morning she prepared a delicious packed lunch, I dusted down my small Trangia stove and we set off to climb Pen-Y-Fan and Corn Ddu. It was a glorious day and despite being buffeted by a force seven mist on the summit, we really enjoyed each others company and talked about geography, her first year at university, friendships and her plans for Guatemala (where she was going to be spending the whole summer learning Spanish).
Later that day we borrowed a copy of Daniel Start’s fantastic book on Wild Swimming. ‘Walk uphill for a quarter of a mile, turn right at the large ash tree, drop down to the valley floor and then walk upstream for 400 metres to find a small magical pool hidden away under a canopy of rowan trees’. We swam, shrieked and laughed in the cold crystal-clear water just beneath the waterfall. As we walked back to our holiday cottage, glowing from the exertions of the day with warm packets of fish and chips under our arms, I thought when did I offer a day of my time, unconditionally, to anyone?