DATE                            04.07.17

DISTANCE                  5.57 MILES

WEATHER                  OVERCAST BUT DRY

START / FINISH         INGRAM CAR PARK

 

 

Today was going to be interesting to say the least because today I was planning on doing my first “proper” walk on my new knee the Orion3, I had given myself a couple of weeks to get used to the feel of it and to give my real knee time to recover , don’t get me wrong my real knee is totally buggered and needs to be replaced and as I write this I am on the waiting list to get it replaced however since I got this micro  knee it has taken a lot of strain off my real knee to such a degree I was no longer in pain and wincing every time I took a step , so provided I don’t do anything daft thing should continue to get better , however since my knee went I have packed up doing any real hikes so I couldn’t really be sure if it was the Orion3 knee helping or the fact I have been taking things easy so today (if all went well ) I should find out one way or another , naturally my fitness has taken a dive and the term “porky” springs to mind when I see myself in the mirror so I knew that it wasn’t going to be a “walk in the park” and I fully expected to get out of breath on the first climb …………..but I can’t tell you how much I was looking forward to just trying once again , there is something about getting out in the hills that just seems to fill a need in my life and no I can’t explain it and if you have to ask you will never understand anyway .

So today I was going to head up and do part of one of the many hill fort trails that start at Ingram, several reasons for this, one I know the area so there shouldn’t be any suppresses for me, it was all grassy trails with as many up’s and down’s as I want to do and finally we was staying in the caravan on a nearby farm so it was very local so no need to rush back.

My walking companion today would be Bob dog and as soon as he saw the rucksack he was ready to go, I decided to pack my jetboil so I could simply stop anyplace and have a cup of freshly made coffee anytime I felt like it, naturally I packed extra tasty food for Bob but I had to pass on his roast beef but my better half Yvonne managed to pack some ham for him so hopefully things would be good and he wouldn’t take the hump with me. Gear was sorted and we were off, our route was simple make it up as we went along (see map for route) but I really wanted to “escape” onto the fells and you know I was really getting excited about it (how sad has my life become?)  , bob dog seemed to sense my mood and was bounding all over the place, my walking speed seemed to pick up and I have to admit I was very impressed with how the orion3 Knee smoothly picked the walking speed up and almost seamlessly ramped up the resistance keeping things nice and smooth (I loved it) we quickly left the small village of Ingram.

Looking up the valley as we head up along the farm track

Bob dog on the track

 And headed up an old farm track that run up the side of Wether hill , it’s a long uphill pull but steady with no great up’s or downs about ¾ of the way up we left the track and linked up with one of the many grassy paths that scattered all around this area , our first stopping place was the old settlement on the top of Wether hill at 275 meters it’s not that high but suddenly the fells open up and its nothing but rolling green hills as far as the eye can see.

The views start to open up

This is just what I needed it’s good for my soul and satisfies some sort of need in me. However my red head and bursting lungs let me know that my fitness was almost rock bottom and so calling Bob dog back I decided that there was no rush and it was time to simply stop and make coffee and have a treat (yes bob dog got treats as well) and that sort of set the pace for the rest of the day, walk, stop, rest, make and drink coffee and walk again.

Bob dog waiting for the off again

I decided that since things were going very well with the knee I would experiment with various things just to see how it and I got on, I have to admit that “we fought” when it came to going downhill, the Orion3 knee would lock and go stiff when I wanted it to go lose and “floppy”   but like most things it is a case of trying to get my brain and leg to work together or marry up as I like to say , so far we was getting on great but I had to let it know that I was boss and wouldn’t tolerate any nonsense from it and so on our way to Cochrane Pike I tried several ways to get it to behave how I wanted it to , I discovered several tricks that got it to preform how I wanted it to and made a mental note to get somethings tweaked next time I was at the limb centre (sort of fine tune it a bit more to my needs) but I have to be totally honest and say that it felt good to out here and even fighting with the knee just added to this feeling , yes it was good to up here , we had the fells all to ourselves (plus a few hundred sheep) we reached Cochrane Pike in almost record time at 335 meters it would be the highest we got to today but that didn’t matter it was all about me “marrying up” with my new knee and just being here today and after a mooch around the settlement (not that there is much to see) we simply followed a grassy sheep trail and headed off towards another old hill fort , this route took us mostly downhill and gave me the time  to work with the knee in using it as a breaking mechanism, after several attempts I did at long last start to work with it and it felt good and once again I got that smug feeling and relaxed just letting the knee do its job , there was one really steep section where the path dropped down into a steep gully and naturally me and the knee fought , I have to be honest and say I think that the knee wanted to try to kill me , I really needed it to go lose so I could get down the steep bank in a safe manner the knee decided that it knew best and locked up solid causing me to go over , fortunately a bank of fern broke the worst of my fall.

In the fern and feeling stupid

So no damage was done (except to my pride ) naturally Bob dog came bounding down and I will swear that it looked like he was laughing at me but nothing could ruin my good mood but getting down the rest of the gully proved to be a bit tricky , the Orion3 knee kept locking up ……I suppose it went into stumble recovery mode and I can’t say I blame it because it was a very steep uneven drop , but getting down a steep gully with a fixed straight leg is no use to me and once again I made a mental note to get the limb centre to turn this feature off before it killed me. Once at the bottom the knee reverted back to normal as if nothing had happened.

Time for a sit down and rest

Our route took us across the fells passing several old hill forts (grassy mounds) heading towards Ewe Hill, naturally it’s all up and down but I found the knee a delight as long as the downhill wasn’t too steep and quite happily let it act as a breaking mechanism and it really felt good when we did work together, I think that this felt like the most “natural” walking I had come across since I lost my leg all them years ago.

Lunch was had sitting on a hill side overlooking where the Rowhope burn joins the river Breamish and what a great place to simple sit stuffing our faces & drinking fresh coffee  looking along the valleys for miles, Bob of course woofed his Ham down and proceed to help me with my lunch.

Lunch time and what a view

There are worse places to stop

 I would have lingered there but grey clouds were appearing on the distant horizon so it was time to make a move, we both had a mooch around the huge hill fort on Brough Law (300 meters)

Bob dog mooching around the old hill fort

 And then headed down to the valley bottom, I have to say that I was feeling quite tired now and let the knee help me walk down this hill and to honest I don’t know if it was because I was tired or relaxed but me and the knee got on just great, it made it so much easier and after a while I almost forgot that I was walking down quite a big steep hill and simply just got on with enjoying things.

The grassy path down

Once at the bottom it was a case of following the small road back to Ingram where the car was parked and even walking along the road it felt very smooth and I changed speed almost effortlessly, yes I think that I and this knee are going to get on very well.

As normal a few photos from today’s wander:-

Passing some of the locals in the lower meadows

 

 Looking up the valley towards Dunmore Hill

The views start to open up a bit

 

Bob leading me down this quad bike track

 

Heading down

 

The path is a bit overgrown

 

Can just about make the stile on the other side

 

Looking back I am pleased to get out of the fern

 

Bob dog waiting for me

 

Looking back towards East & West Hill

 

Our path

 

Looking back at our route

 

Looking towards the Chester’s (old farm building now a scout hut?)

 

Heading towards our lunch spot

 

A few photos as we make our way there

 

Good places for lunch pity the weather is starting to turn

 

 

Showing knee off

 

Some locals

 

looking towards a distant old Reaveley

A few photos taken on and around the hill fort

 

Time to head back down

Some photos as we make our way down

Bob dog

 

Still heading down

 

Looking at the river Breamish

 

Some locals on the path

 

Nearly down looking back up

Made it

 

Heading back to the car last look back along the valley

 

DAY AFTER THOUGHTS

Back to the van , hot shower , food and a chill out night , no damage to my stump (not that I expected any) after a good night’s sleep I was really pleased that I didn’t ache at all , but it was a very slow easy walk with lots of rest stops . Best news was that my real knee wasn’t any worse, yes it had a dull ache but it always aches nowadays but no pain. I hadn’t forgot that the knee tried to kill me and made a mental note to speak to Karen (my leg lady) to get the knee tweaked next time I was at the limb centre, but I really do think that me and the Orion 3 knee will do some good stuff together out on the hills someplace and yes I’m looking forwards to it.

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