DATE                                              21.01.06

DISTANCE                                     3.5 MILES

WEATHER                                    GREY,COOL BUT DRY

START / FINISH                           FREE CAR PARK AT HARBOTTLE


Ruins a big stone and a small lake

Since my last wander out , I hadn’t hit any more problems with either my stump or the new arty leg I am still getting used to it , but since I turned the stumble control off we have been getting on a lot better , this knee has the ability to “fine tune” itself to the wearer needs and so I have been spending a fair amount of time tuning or should I say retuning it into my walking style , but the best news of all is that it has a second  program where I can tune it into a completely different mode , I have decided that I would use this second program for my hiking mode , this in basic terms this means  the knee will be a lot stiffer to operate so my footwear can be a lot heaver i.e.….hiking boots , plus I can set it up for a much speeder response time which I think will help when I am out walking over rough terrine , my walking style may not look as good as “normal walking” but I think that the stiffer settings will help power the knee threw long grass etc. and should add a bit more stability when going down hill ……………..well that’s the theory , so far my testing up and down various hills seem to back it up but its really too early to say for sure as I’m still learning with this knee and every time seems different all depending on what mood I am in or how strong I feel , (yes walking with a arty leg is hard work)

So todays walk would be a good test of things and stuff, we had found what looked like a nice walk on the internet, it would involve a fairly rugged shot but steep climb up a smallish hill (About 300 meters), some bog stomping a wooded section and a bit of easy forestry trail, plus we would get to have a mooch around the old ruined castle at Harbottle and see the “drake stone”   link:

As well as vising a small lake for the first time, so it seemed to cover almost everything, a new area to walk in, something to see and lots of different types of terrain to test out how arty leg works in its new hiking setting.

A quick but short chat with my better half ………….who agreed to accompany me and that was that sorted, on waking up the following morning it looked like the weather gods approved because it had finally stopped raining and the sky had that cold but flat sort of look about it, which meant (in my limited experience) that there should be no rain today. Breakfast and coffee was thrown down our throats, gear was quickly sorted and thrown into the car and we where off.

Parking was in the small but free car park at Harbottle castle, did I ever tell you readers that I like the word free, gear was sorted and off we went our route (see map) took us along the road for a few hundred meters then it was into Harbottle woods and onto the well used path heading up the “the top” in fact there are several paths some stay in the woods some cut out onto the heather laden hillside , we chose to cut out onto the hillside , even on this path it still splits up into several more so it was a case of pick what seemed like the best or easiest route up .

The good people of Harbottle have came up trumps with this path and have placed benches in various places up the hill and I have to say that it was good just to sit down get my breath back and take in the views, they are something, you know the sort where you get to see a lot for very little height climbed. Naturally we decided to make the most of these bench stops and decided to have a well deserved coffee break, I know it was a bit early on in the walk, but the ground was sopping wet and why not make the most of any facilities that are on offer, plus it gave me a chance to fully recover from the climb up.

Coffee was drunk (with a bit of cake :- very tasty) then it was off to the top and the drake stone , personally I don’t know what all the fuss is about with this stone , it is after all just a big stone and the country is covered with them but we went and had a look just the same . I dare say that there is some history or some old folk tail about it but if there is I haven’t found out anything about it.

From there it was down to the small lake , and lunch , sitting on one of the many flattish sections of dry rock was pleasant enough but even this time of year there seemed to be a lot of fly’s about that didn’t  give us a minutes peace , so I should think that it would be unbearable in the warmer months unless there is a breeze blowing , after lunch it was back into the trees again and following a well used path took us out onto a stone track that would lead us back down to the road , we where treated to a couple of glimpses of deer as they dashed out of our way , to fast for us to get a photo but its nice to see these shy creatures out in the wilds and it helped make our day , on leaving the woods we where once again treated so some brilliant views looking towards Alwinton  and the Cheviot hills and it made me realise or hope .one day soon I will start walking there .

Cutting down back to the road I took advantage of the stone track and put my knee into learning mode and had a mini training session trying to get it to help “break” or slow down my speed a bit  so I didn’t have to keep using my good leg to slow things down and do all the work . I could have used my hiking poles but I figure the more I use the knee the better things will get.

As it was things didn’t get any better or worse for that matter, I do think that there is more to using a mico controlled knee than just upping or downing the setting, still plenty of time to sort stuff out.

Once back on the road I switched the knee back to hiking mode and cut into the forest, there is a path that runs along side the road so why not use it rather than walking back along the road.

On arriving back at the car, the last of the coffee was drunk, rucksack was put into the boot and we both had a wander up to the ruins of Harbottle castle for a mooch around. We met up with a local out walking his dog who suggested that there was a lovley riverside walk and pointed out where to go and what to look out for so that tomorrows walk taken care of .

About  3.5 miles, with no real problems

As normal a few photos:

Just left the trees looking back towards Harbottle


Looking towards the Drake stone


My better half


Taking in some of the views whilst we have a coffee break


Looking down towards Harbottle


Looking up towards the stone


At the top looking towards the lake


Looking back at the Drake Stone


A couple more photos of the lake


Looking across towards the military ranges


Last look at the lake


Heading back down into the forest


Leaving the forest, the view towards Alwinton and the Cheviots


The stone track back down


The views towards the Cheviot Hills ……… day soon I will get there.


Gear dumped in the car and now mooching around the ruins




 My better half Yvonne


Looking up towards the drake stone


Last few photos of the ruin


Day after thoughts,

Home ,gear sorted out for tomorrow  shower , food and all is well in the household , no sore spots , no aches or pains but we did take it easy , it will be interesting to see how I stand up to two days of walking .


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