DATE                                           16.09.05

DISTANCE                                  4.78

WEATHER                                 DULL BUT DRY

START / FINISH                        CAR PARK IN WOOLER


Humbleton Hill

Since my last days wander I had been back to the limb centre and had my socket realigned with leather and a couple of new pads stuck in various places which made the fitting so much better and because I was back to wearing one stump sock it mean that I could actually feel what was going on between my stump and the socket which in turn help me know what was going on with “arty leg” and made it that little bit easer to control.

Taking advantage of this new fit I had headed straight out into the hills on my days off work  and spent a silly amount of time practising various things like going up and down grassy hills, even plucking up some courage and tried to cross a small stream by balancing on rocks that where sticking up out of the water, unfortunately these rocks tended to be very slippery and the end result was me getting soaked as I slipped off , but it wasn’t deep so it was only my pride that was hurt , but I found out that by trial and error I was better stepping  out using my good leg rather than stepping out with my arty leg , but either way the rocks where that slippery as soon as I took one step off in I went , I tried stepping out using my hiking poles to help with balancing and that made a huge difference provided I didn’t try to go to fast , the secret was to be very careful where I placed my foot on the rocks , I eventually managed to cross the stream without slipping off the rock but by that time I was soaked from the dozen of times I failed but once again it was a good learning experience and I had fun doing it . There is a definite technique that works and once I sussed out what it was it was just a case of fine tuning it, again it was a case of think before I move.

I also had lots of fun stepping over a ditch, it wasn’t partially deep or wide but I found that there was something unnerving about stepping across a gap for the first time, naturally I tried stepping out with my good leg first to see how I got on followed by stepping out with my arty leg first, there was no clear way what worked better on this, it all depends on the terrain on the other side, and how steep the bank is and what speed I throw myself across. I suppose when it come down to it do I prefer to fall forwards or backwards but if nothing elts it gives me a clue of what I can and cannot do on this knee. So all in all I had some very useful days out training and even if I did return home each night totally knackered I really did enjoy myself and during these days I once again started to take stock with my life and where it was going, like I have previously stated living life with one leg is going to be different no matter how much I didn’t like it, pre haps I was starting to pass through the acceptance stage by now …………………..who knows?

Anyway that s enough about that……….. todays walk was once again some thing that we got from our free booklet it involved a little hill  of 298 meters (with an old Iron Age fort stuck on top) a couple of little ponds and a start and finish in Wooler which meant a visit to either  a pub or coffee shop after the walk .

I naturally went into my pre walk routine of cream, foam and plasters stuck in some delicate areas “just in case” but I noticed that providing I’m not completely stupid I wasn’t damaging myself as often as what I had been so I must be doing something right which is something positive I suppose but I longed for the day where I wouldn’t have to go through this “song and dance” every time.

My better half Yvonne would be joining me today and to be honest I was looking forward to her being there, she has taken it upon herself to keep an eye on my walking stile/gait and doesn’t hesitate to shout at me when I start slipping into bad habits and as I have found out if I know about it I can try to do something about it. Our walk toady from the booklet:-

From the bus station in the centre of Wooler, turn right along the High Street, bearing left along

Burnhouse Road, leaving the town behind. After passing Highburn House Caravan and Camping Park, turn left along the public footpath, signposted ‘Humbleton’. Cross the field and continue through the gates. At the lane, turn left uphill passing through the hamlet of Humbleton, and left again at the telephone box. Turn right off the lane along bridleway signposted ‘Gleadscleugh’. Cross over the stile and walk straight on, past the pond. Leaving the bridleway, bear left to follow yellow footpath arrows along the track next to a fence. Cross over the stile and continue on a track which climbs steadily around the hill. Climb steadily round and up the hill until the track forks near a gate. Turn left uphill by this gate, crossing a stile over a fence, and then following the permissive footpath which climbs, with the ravine to your right, across the ramparts and to the top of Humbleton Hill. From the summit cairn, retrace your steps for 20 metres and turn left through a gap in the stone ramparts. Continue downhill on a clear grassy path following the waymaker posts to a gate. Go through the gate and turn right. Continue up the hill on the track. Pass through a gate, and after 40 metres turn left and through another gate gradually downhill towards the trees ahead. Follow the track in through a gate, into the woods and along a path leading down to Wooler Common. Turn left at the bottom of the hill to follow Forest Enterprise’s handrailed path with Humbleton Burn and ponds on your right. When the surfaced path curves round to the right to a picnic and bird-feeding area, continue straight ahead along a path, to cross the burn and join the road. Turn left onto Common Road which becomes Ramsey’s Lane and leads you back into Wooler.

Or see map above.

I’m not really sure that I like the starting point which was the bus station car park at Wooler as I don’t like walking in built up areas but it only took ten minutes and we where clear of the town and out into the hills I suppose Wooler isn’t known as the gateway into the hills for nothing .

The route was easy to follow with some very well used grass / stony paths, the climb up to the summit of Humbleton was aging done in easy stages, I swallowed my pride and had several stops on the way up, sitting down and rubbing my good leg “just in case” Yvonne proceeded to bollock me every time my gait started to get bad or my left shoulder started to drop.

For a small hill of 298 meters Humbleton hill certainly gives you “big hill” views of the surrounding countryside in all directions and much to our surprise it’s possible to make out the stone outer walls etc.  Of the old fort. it is a lovely area one of which we both agreed that we would return to and explore as and when I got better  and more confident on the arty leg , but I have to say it’s a gem of a hill and over the following years I have returned to it several times we did about 4.78 miles.

A few photos

Just left Wooler and getting into the open spaces to be greeted by views like this


Man made Small ponds, they where used for some purpose years ago but now they just for the birds


Looking back


Out towards?


Taken at max zoom towards Doddington?




My better half part way up Humbleton


Some views as we make our way up.


Looking towards Wooler


At the outer stone ring of the fort looking down towards the pond


A few more views from the top


Having a sit down before I continue down the hill


Nearly at the bottom looking back up   


Back on level ground looking at Humbleton


The pond at wooler common


A bit further along wooler common


Local ducks


Heading back into wooler looking back towards Humbleton


Day after thoughts,

Coffee at wooler then home, gear sorted and hot bath, no problems with my stump or my good leg for that matter but it really was a slow easy walk with lots of rest stops and each time I stopped I spent time rubbing my leg muscles which helped no end or my leg is getting stronger either way it’s a bit too early to get carried away ……………but a really good day and it’s a lovley area and as daft as this sounds you really get a lot of good views for very little effort .