DATE                                 03.08.05

DISTANCE                       ABOUT 4.9 MILES

WEATHER                       BRIGHT AND SUNNY



I had woken up early , and much to my surprise I didn’t feel too stiff or sore anywhere ,my stumpy leg seemed all right even the newish scare tissue looked ok just to make sure I stood up and began some serious prodding and poking around the affected areas  yep stumpy leg was good , a quick look outside the bedroom curtains and I was greeted by a very rare but nice summers day , it seemed too nice to stay in around the house so whilst I was going through my pre putting on the arty leg routine …which was a dollop of cream on a possible tender spot quickly followed by a bit of foam all held in place by a tegaderm plaster my brain was working out where to go , I still had my parents staying with us so why not get out some place nice , once again I didn’t want to go anywhere that I didn’t know , not because I was bothered about rough  ground or falling over it just that I didn’t want either mum or dad  to see me taking a tumble , no my cunning plan was to give the impression that I was coping very well without a  leg  so they could return home sometime later and not be concerned about me .

Naturally by the time I had got dressed and ventured downstairs every one was already there , as much as I would like to think  it’s a case of get up and just “don” the arty leg in a couple of seconds and there I am ready for action the sad reality of my new found situation is nothing happens very fast at all , one of the biggest things  I was finding was that to stay upright I had to think about everything before I took that all important first step where as before though and action happened instantly now it was a case of think things over before I even start ………….I know as time goes on things and stuff should get better but at the moment I was finding the whole thing rather frustrating  but there is nothing I can do about it so ……....

Over breakfast I suggested a drive up the coastline to Craster and to do a little walk along the coast to se the ruin castle of Dunstanburgh, unknown to my parents I had done this walk a few weeks before and I have to say the area is outstanding and with the choice of several tea rooms at Craster it meant we didn’t have to pack any food, so that was that, after breakfast we all piled into the car and off we went.

Parking in Craster can be a bit pricey but being the proud owner of a blue badge I get parked for free right next to the small mobile snack waggon, so it was tea and coffee before we even started then we where off, our route (see map above) was nice and easy (not that I could walk fast even if I wanted to) but this area shouldn’t be rushed, and when the sun is out it must be one of the most beautiful parts of the coastline and having the ruins in sight just gives it that something special feel about the place . It was hot and naturally I wasn’t dressed really for walking  in the sun , in fact it would be some time before I started to get proper walking clothing ………both for hot summers days  and cold wet winter  days but at this moment of time I was still trying to figure out what I could do and what I couldn’t do , so today I suffered , but by removing my top it enabled my better half Yvonne to see from behind and what neither of us realised was how badly I was leaning over and how my back was sort of scrunching up towards the left side , I suppose this was where some proper “gait” or walking training by the professionals would have come in helpful but unknown to me at this time I wouldn’t get any proper training till I got my first proper leg at the Freeman Limb centre many months away and by then I had so many bad habits both Helen and Cathy where nearly pulling there hair out in frustration when they started to sort me out. So today we made do with Yvonne shouting at me each time my left shoulder started to drop , we found if I kept my shoulder up and level the rest of me would be straight and level but………………..I found it very very hard to do and caused me no end of trouble but it was a start . There is a natural tendency to lean over towards my arty leg when I take a step with my good leg as a sort of keep your balance likewise I tend to stick my arm out as well in an attempt to balance all of which is totally wrong what I should be doing is keeping my body straight and level by using my body core strength.

But at this stage of my life I was so weak and knacker most of the time I simply couldn’t, but I was aware of this “new” bad habit and made a promise to myself that I would start to work on my core strength as a matter of urgency along with all the other exercises I was doing each day.

But the route wasn’t that long or difficult and it’s such a nice area it was pleasant just to sit down on the grass looking at the Castle or along the beach so it gave me plenty of time to recover my strength without making too obvious to my parents that I was tired.

Then before I knew it we were back at Craster where we treated ourselves to coffee and a cream tea, a good and proper way to finish a pleasant day.

A few photos:-

On the footpath that runs alongside the golf course

Me stopping to adjust arty leg with dad keeping guard


Looking towards the ruins (it tends to dominate the skyline)


One  more


Me with my Mum...note how badly I lean over and the position of my left arm I didn’t relies how badly I was walking at this stage

 Even when I was trying to stay “upright and straight” I was scrunched over

Looking at the cliff face


Side view of a ruined watch tower


Dad at the main entrance


The small fishing harbour at Craster


Me sitting down at Craster, I was very tired but didn’t want to show it.


Day after thoughts , I was tired after this walk I didn’t know if it was because I had done  two walks in two days and I hadn’t given myself enough time to recover or if it was the heat or was it because I tried to walk straight i.e. upright and found it a lot harder than what I thought . Fortunately I hadn’t done any damage to stumpy leg and because of the slow relaxed pace of the walk with the many rest stops my good leg hadn’t given me any grief so that was a good thing ………but I was seriously concerned about my posture, I found one easy way to stop the leaning and that was by using two hiking poles, not only did this stop me swaying and leaning all over the place but made my life a lot easer…………… BUT………………why is there always a but? I found that if I used them too much my left shoulder really started to ache (it was still healing) but more than that I convinced myself that it was “cheating” ……………I know I wasn’t right in the head at this stage but somehow I had convince myself that using poles was cheating and I couldn’t used them without feeling really bad about it.

NOTE FROM TODAY 06.08.2014 Nowadays I wouldn’t even think about going for a hike without them and have no problem using them as an aid at all …………..cheating my arse …I was a dickhead, I could have saved myself months in gait training not to mention all the back aches I had if I simply used them ……………….but at the time I wasn’t right in the head.