DATE                               09.04.16

DISTANCE                      6.3 MILES

WEATHER                     BRIGHT AND SUNNY


Err! Well slap me silly with a dead fish or something!! I had been checking up on various things and stuff and it really shocked  me to know that I have had this on-going split / sore stump problem since October last year, of course it totally my fault if I would have just gone a few weeks without the leg on and let it heal up and close up I wouldn’t have had so much trouble the last few months .what is it they say about pride being a double edge thingy I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for my pride keeping me going when I really wanted to give up …but it’s also my pride that won’t let me stop and take it easy for a few days / weeks so I can heal up properly ..Yep I’m nearly ready for the loony bin I’m so confused / stupid at times.

Any way my stump still has just two tiny little spots that just won’t heal up completely , the trouble is with the liner on they just won’t dry up and scab they start and then get rubbed off exposing the very new skin underneath which doesn’t last two minutes with any pressure or rubbing against it and I’m back to square one again .However I am winning this round slowly , frustratingly slow at times but I’m getting there , After what seems like a life time of trying various patches , creams , magic potions etc. etc. a certain person (who shall remain nameless for top secret reasons ) managed to get me some super doper extra thin extra sticky breathable stick on patches that not only protected my sore spots but they also allowed it to breath and dry up so now I am almost healed …….yeah (Mick does a happy boy dance)

So today I will be testing these patches out, along with ARTY LEG who once again had been into the limb centre at the Freeman Hospital (thanks Richard & Karen) to get fixed so today I had no excuses and I fully intended to get to know ARTY LEG and somehow I just knew that I would have a good …dare I say it pain free day of training, I knew that my fitness has really suffered the last few months but if all goes well I can now start to sort that side of my life out as well .

Bob dog informed me that as my care in the community super dog he had better accompany me and so it was both me and Bob found ourselves driving up on a damp grey morning towards Barrowburn.

I had chosen Barrowburn for the start of the walk for several reason, one because it really is a lovely area and I always get a boost when I drive up the Coquet Valley, Two I know the area really well so there are no suppresses for me, Three it has a mixture of different types of terrain and surfaces that I need to practise on and Lastly because Doug’s “I WALKS FACEBOOK GROUP” are doing a walk up that way , now I know that despite their lay back altitudes towards there walks I would really struggle to keep up with them , but I figured that with some careful timing we could all meet up on the last section of the walk and head back to the tea room at the farm at Barrowburn together ………….Good plan  eh? .

The drive up the Coquet Valley once again filled me full of hope and then the sun came out and the grey sky’s started to clear & I just knew that today was going to be a fantastic day for me and I sent a silent thanks to the weather gods, getting out of the car and sorting the gear out I once again felt the hills and valleys welcoming me back again ………………..yes I know it’s been far too long hasn’t it?

And I just knew that the hills would look after me today and I wouldn’t be having any falls , yes a few slips and trips but no falls , it never fails to amaze me on how my confidence grows when I get into the hills , around town or at work I am always on edge when walking around but out here in the wilds I feel totally relaxed and do walking things I would never dare do anywhere elts, of course Bob dog doesn’t care about any of this , he just wants to be off exploring and very firmly demanded a treat and we set off as the days nearly over and so off we went .

Our route for the day (see map above) was a sort of make it up as I went along , I must admit that I didn’t go to well when I started the slow plod up hill on Lounges Knowe / Kyloe Shin and for some unknown reason turned around and went back to the bottom had a quick tweak with the settings on my knee and set off up it again , about a third of the way up I realised that this was a mistake as I suddenly run out of air and my lungs felt like they were bursting ….Time for a photo or two (really I stopped to get my breath back ), Bob dog came running back and looked at me like I was stupid or something anyway I slowly made my way to the top without killing myself and decided that today I will be taking it easy and so called a coffee stop , jet boil came out and the odd treat for Bob and we sat there taking in the views all in all a good start , I was very concerned about my stump and decided to remove ARTY  remove the seal and check things over , so far so good and it felt so much better when I put Arty leg back on , I also promised myself that I would do this each time I stopped today , seeing as I was Billy no mates again I wouldn’t have to be concerned about offending anyone .(as it was I took the leg off a total of four times today and each time it went back on feeling a lot more comfortable , which goes to show that I am moving in the socket)

This regular leg and liner break really seemed to work and is something I think I will do for the foreseeable future.

Getting back to our walk, on entering Kidland forest we stayed on the forestry track and headed down to the river, this gave me a good chance to see how Arty was when going downhill, it was slippery in places but I must admit that I was very pleased on how I got on.

We had a mooch around, the footbridge is still out (I wonder how many years it will be before it gets replaced)

Then I had the choice of following the river along or head back up a forestry track , I chose the track no real reason just headed off up it and that was that , we left the forest and followed the path up the Middle were we had yet another stop , mainly to check my leg and to have coffee and just to sit there for a while and take in the views , it was that good with the sun shining and no wind we decided to have lunch here , Bob dog disgraced himself by rolling in something that was rotten , it’s my own fault really I know that he wanted his coat off , but I didn’t want him to get cold , as it was his coat took the worst of it? And had to go into a sealed poly bag and put in an empty section of my rucksack , I did think about not letting him have his roast beef but seeing him running around playing in the grass made me forget the stinky mess that would have to be cleaned off his coat later on . And so we both sat down and stuffed our faces.

After lunch it was time to set off down the hill link up with the track that heads to Usway ford farm and followed it back past the small plantation of murder Cleugh and its headstone, then it was onto the boarder country ride (footpath) for the return leg, it was at this point I saw Doug’s group making their way up the Middle and so spent the next few minutes waving like an idiot. As my eyes aren’t that good I couldn’t tell if they even saw me, but my cunning plan of meeting up with them seemed to coming true. And so me and Bob dog headed off towards Barrowburn at a much slower rate, then right out of the blue I decided that I would leave the footpath and head up to the top of Barrow law (415 meters) just to see what the views would be like, as it was, it was well worth the effort and not only did I get a belta view of the Coquet valley I also got to see “THE STREET” and the surrounding hills  but in my excitement to get a better view I started on my way down , now this was a stupid thing to do as its steep , but me and ARTY seemed to get on well I thought why not , if ARTY wants to kill me he certainly got his chance here , and we slowly made our way down , fortunately there are a few sheep trails winding their way up and down this hill so slowly I zigged and zagged my way down Bob dog of course just ran up and down without any problems , I will admit that it was a rather stupid thing to do but I enjoyed it and felt great once I got safely down to the bottom then it was a short walk along the road to the farm at Barrowburn were I bumped into Doughs group heading to the same place , it was the perfect way to end the day , tea and cake at the farm tea room with good walking buddies, I would have loved to join them all for today’s walk but sadly I’m just not fast enough yet .

A few photos enjoy

Taken from the footbridge looking towards the der hut at Barrowburn


Looking back


Looking back at the deer hut & old school house at Barrowburn


Looking at a nicked sign and our route up the side of Kyloe Shin


At the Hepden Burn looking back


Part way up looking back (really struggling to get my breath at this stage)


Leg break and coffee time (and a treat for Bob dog)


Looking down at the Usway Burn


The holiday let at Fairhaugh


The ford (too cold and deep for us to cross today)


The Usway Burn


Bob checking an old memorial plaque


The tree that smashed down the foot bridge


Small waterfall


Fallen tree (there seemed to be a few laying around today)


On the forestry track and more fallen trees


Looking back as the sun shines


Things start to steam as the sun warms it up


Leaving the forest and onto the middle


Frog spawns in a muddy puddle


Looking back


Lunch time looking towards the farm at Usway Farm


Same again


Bob dog without his smelly coat


Looking back


Looking down at the Hepden Burn


Looking towards the back of Murder Cleugh


A young family I met heading off to visit Windy Gyle

On the farm track looking towards Hazely Law


Very old dead? Trees


The headstone

A bit of info from Colin (“I walks member”)

The story goes that Robert Lumsden, who lived nearby and had been linked with several other deaths, was a violent and independent character with a taste for other men’s wives. Instructed to arrest Lumsden, a number of the King’s officers, who were based in Durham, rode for two days to Lumsden’s house to be greeted by him uttering, “I care nothing for the King, I care nothing for the Queen and I care nothing for you”.

Assisted by cronies, he relieved the officers of their pistols and swords before beating them. The officers fled back to Durham, never to return. Eventually, Lumsden was arrested in Newcastle and was tried, excommunicated from the Church, forced to renounce his sins in Alnwick Market Place and served one month in jail. A case, it would seem, of excessive leniency..So now we know.

Now on the border country ride looking back (I still haven’t seen a bike on here)


Doug’s "I WALKS GROUP" link if you want to join:


Bob Dog

Our route, it’s still very wet in places


Looking left


Looking back


Now heading up to Barrow Law looking back


Dark clouds are starting to build up behind us


Looking over the side of Barrow law at “the Street”


Looking along the Coquet Valley


Same place taken at max zoom


A bit further down (its steeper than it looks)


Still making my way down (zigging and zagging)


Bob dog takes it all in his stride

Part way down looking back up


Found a sheep trail to help me walk down (for a bit anyway)


Looking down to a sheep stell and the river Coquet


MADE IT YEAH! time for a little sit down by the river


Looking back up (doesn’t seem that bad now)


Doug’s group heading to the tea rooms at Barrowburn Farm


Taken at the ford on the Hepden burn at Barrowburn.


Day after thoughts

Home, bath and check on stump, all was well …my cunning plan of stopping and removing the leg seemed to work along with the super sticky plaster it did the job, I did no damage what so ever so I’m well chuffed with this, and what made things even better was I didn’t even ache in the morning when I got up a good Result and what a day it was the weather was almost perfect and meeting up with the Facebook Group really was the icing on the cake