DATE                                16.10.05

DISTANCE                       6.9 MILES

WEATHER                       GREY AND DULL



Things where finally  starting to happen with regards to my arty leg , I had been back to the limb centre for a repair and it was noted that my stump had “stabilised” , so in their words …. “give it a few more weeks then we can make a start getting you recast” this was just what I wanted to hear , however that was all the information that they would give me when I asked about what leg and foot I would be getting all I got is “wait and see”  I had been reading up on all sorts of different knee units , suspension systems and feet and was dying to know what they would put me on , I really wanted something that would be able to get me on a “k4” level (that’s for very active people  in the amputee world) and had been working very hard to prove that I could use a k4 level bit of kit , the trouble was how do you prove to them that I could use it , I had been letting them know how well I was doing (or should I say how well I thought I had been doing ) and how I was out in the hills most weeks ……………….but I got the impression that they didn’t believe me or simply didn’t have the time to check ……..same old NHS system , the individual people are great but the system or organisation seems to ruin every thing and no matter how hard I try to be a real person I suspect that I am in reality just a number . Still at last things where starting to happen and I was looking forward to getting a new system what ever it turned out to be but that was in the future.

So for Todays walk I would have to take it easy, the last thing I wanted to do was cause my skin to split open or develop any sore spots just in case I got a letter from the limb centre asking me in for a fitting. I wanted to be in tip top condition for any possible work that needed to be done with my new socket and stump.

Once again we picked a walk from the walking in Northumberland docket that we had acquired from some place and decided to pay Bolam Lake and the nearby Shafto crags a visit. It shouldn’t be too hard as it’s a very well visited area and very popular in the summer months so the paths should be ok. However I wasn’t taking any chances at this stage and made a point of covering up any possible weak spots with cream, foam and plasters before we set off.

The weather was typical October weather, cold and grey but no rain was forecast so that was good as we still hadn’t got round to buying new waterproof walking coats, something that I intended to sort out as soon as we got a bit of spare time (and some cash for that matter) but the coats where well up in my “must get list”. And winter was just around the corner ………time to pull my finger out and get sorted.

On arriving at Bolam lakes country park , we where both a bit disappointed that the tea room / shop was closed as it would have been nice to get a drink before we started but it is October and the place is seasonal so I suppose it wasn’t a surprise but the toilets where open so its not all bad news .

Gear was sorted and off we went, our route for the day (see map above) wouldn’t be difficult under normal conditions but the mud around the lake was very slippery and caused me no end of trouble with my arty leg and sent me crashing to the floor several times , in the end I gave up walking on the path and kept to the grassy bits running along side the path , this was something that I hadn’t encountered before and made me realise how much more I still had to learn , but nothing was damaged except my pride and to be honest it was a bit of a wake up call for me reminding me to pay more attention on what going on around me , if I was going to walk in the high fells I must learn to concentrate more , its one thing to slip on a muddy path around a lake but something completely different slipping off a narrow ledge on the side of a steep gulley or mountain . So lesson learnt and stored away.

Our route took us along the lakeside which was full of ducks and swans and various other bird like things, then off into the country side before ewe cut up into the crags itself where we where spoilt by walking on short grassy tracks through the now dying back fern, the highest point of this walk was up to Shafto crags at 213 meters but todays walk wasn’t about height it was about just getting out someplace different , we mooched around the crags and had a quick look at the old rock art but to be honest we wouldn’t recognise good rock art from bad stuff , our return leg took us back past the lake (where I kept off the mud) back to the car , where we where greeted by some very friendly birds (bullfinch / chaffinch ?) who demanded any crumbs we had left over from our lunch , it often surprises me how tame these birds can become when they are fed by well meaning people it’s a pity that some kid or arsehole will do there best to hurt these birds just because they can .

We did about 6.9  miles today without any problems apart from me slipping over.

A few photos:

Taken at the start of the walk a few of the locals on the lake


A bit further along the lake


Last one before we head off


A grey dull day


Mum and her little one

Behind the crags, easy walking paths cover this area


Winters coming… the ferns dying back (reminds me to get some waterproof coats)


A bit further along

Me heading towards a gap in the crags

My better half Yvonne


Back at the lake


Last look

One of the friendly locals wanting a feed


Day after thoughts , once again I had no problems with my stump , or my good leg for that matter , but saying that it really was a easy walk more to get some fresh air into our lungs than anything .

Again I was surprised by how much energy I had left, I know it wasn’t  far or a hard walk but even this would have knackered me only a little while ago so its another good sign that things are getting better .

Ps starting to get excited about getting my new leg .