DATE                                    04.02.06

DISTANCE                          ABOUT 5 MILES

WEATHER                          BRIGHT AND DRY


 Chopwell woods

Todays walk was going to be at Chopwell woods, surprisingly I have never heard of these woods before and  it was only because there was a slot  on the TV show “look north” that made us  decide we should go pay the woods a visit .

According to the show there are lots of good paths, lots of things to see and it’s not that far from where we live and there is a free car park so that was it.

I had started to develop a few problems with my seal in liner ……………..well not problems but things where getting painful , what had happened was when I first started to wear the liner, it gripped the hairs on my stumpy leg and slowly plucked them out, this was extremely painful but once they had been pulled / plucked out things where fine, now the hairs had started to grow back , the problem was they couldn’t because the liner stopped them , so unknown to me they started to turn into ingrowing hairs , causing some really painful spots , I had been advised to leave them alone or go see the doctors but they where starting to get very painful when I put my arty leg on so , in the end I decided to sort things out in my own way , that was by sticking a sharp needle into the spot , popping it , then using a pair of tweezers grabbing the offending ingrowing hair and simply pulling it out root and all , followed by a short sharp squeeze and out popped all the pus and believe it or not the swelling and sore ness stopped almost straight away .

Unfortunately even now (Ten years later ) I still have to keep an eye on ingrowing hairs , despite pulling out the hair and root they still keep coming back but experience has shown me when and how to get the offending hair before it become as problem …………………..the joys of being an amputee lovley subject eh ?

However this stuff was all new to me at this time and I was walking with some very sore spots on my stump which made even short walks a bit of a chore, but after popping and digging all the offending spots the night before I had high hopes that todays walk would be ok, but secretly I was a bit concerned that the spots might get infected where I had popped them and get even worse.

Any way we had no set walk planned out , sort of turn up there and follow the way markers and just take it from there , as it turned out we wandered crossing from the “red” route over to the cycle route then over to yet another route , sort of just going where we felt like going . at one point we where even walking along an old forgotten rail line , the weather gods must have approved as the sun even managed to come out and the day warmed up quite a bit .

Feeling rather pleased with myself for bursting all the ingrowing hairs the night before and not having no sore after effects the fit of my socket fit  was great , which just goes to prove a point if the fit isn’t pain free  nothing was going to happen but when it fits ok its possible to “push” the bounders a bit , with this in mind I decided not to use any hiking poles today , yes I would have them on my ruck sack “just in case” but there was no serious ups or downs and the paths where all good so why not , however  my better half did walk behind me shouting to pick my left shoulder up or warm me when I started to sway from side to side , in fact she even had the small camera and managed to take a few photos so I could see for myself . once again I put my knee into what I call hiking mode and even had a little play with it just doing a small amount of fine tuning , I have come to think that a small amount of tuning then give myself a day or so to get used to it seems to be much better than trying to do to much at once but its still early with the tuning and I still have got a lot to learn but I will say that I am very impressed with the set up that I am getting around on. Likewise even my better half Yvonne who is my no 1 nag err I mean critic has mentioned how much better I am walking on this knee but ……………………I personally think my new improved walking style is down to the hard work of two lovley ladies at the freeman limb centre physiotherapy department, Cathy and Helen who have taken it upon themselves to get me up and walking correctly, as someone once told me ……………..they are the best! ………….And you know something they are, I know it’s so easy just to be a number within the NHS system but with these two I feel that there is a personnel connection, they really care and they both wanted me to be able to walk out of the centre, safe, confident and have a “normal walking gait” no matter how hard it seemed at the time, so if you ever read this …..Thanks ladies you helped turn a very unconfident new amputee to someone who went on to safety and confidently hike up some of the biggest mountains in some of the worse weather conditions that this country has to offer. I don’t know if it means anything to you, but I often  think of you both when I get to the summits wishing that you could see me and perhaps take some small amount of pride knowing that it was because of your hard work and that extra something that got me there  …cheers .

As we wandered off in all directions during the walk I haven’t got a clue about the distance but we must have done at least 5 miles (not that it mattered)

As normal a few photos

One that Yvonne took ……my left arm still sticking out to help with balance, despite having done months and months of core strength exercises I still am like a weakling when it comes to walking straight.


One of the many leafy paths we walked along today


My better half Yvonne on what I think was an old railway track


Going down a small muddy path …………still fighting with the leg as to who is in control


Left Shoulder starting to drop down …………Again


Lovley morning in the woods


Older trees

Yvonne (note she nearly has a smile on her face)


 Bloody hell shoulder is dropping and I’m leaning again, Yvonne spent some serious time yelling at me today


Old ditch that the volunteers had been working on

Misty trees


Another route …….which way left ……..or right?


A break in the trees


Me leading the way


A few more photos as we wander around these woods and some info


Chopwell Wood really is a wood for everyone. This 360-hectare mixed woodland is a real gem, set right on the fringe of Gateshead. Miles of paths allow fantastic access, walking and cycling into the heart of this fascinating woodland.

More recently Chopwell Wood has been recognised as a PAWS (Plantation on Ancient Woodland Site). This means it was an ancient forest but in more recent times it has been planted with modern timber crops. Most of the ancient trees, predominantly oak, were felled in the 17th and 18th century for ship and bridge building. The remnants of these still survive on the steep crags above the river Derwent. Today, areas of conifer are being removed to help the wood return one day to its original cover of native trees.

Then we met up with these wooden sculptures



Day after thoughts, no redness or soreness but I am a bit disappointed with the amount I am dropping my shoulder and sticking my arm out, guess that I’m not doing as well as I think I am with my walking gait, its not a problem when I have a hiking pole some thing I will chat about with Cathy and Helen next time I am at the limb centre.

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