DATE                              17.04.05

DISTANCE                     10.4 MILES

WEATHER                     COLD AND GREY


I got it wrong

Before I even start on this walk I have to put my hand up and say I got it wrong today on so many different levels I’m even surprised that I even got back ……so where to start :-

It would seem that my brain had died or I have gone off to visit  that other distant planet that I often go to , I don’t know what I was even thinking about or even what planet I was on. It started the night before I got hit with a few hours of phantom pain , by now you would think that I would be use to them but I got hit hard much harder than normal and well I think it did something to my brain , even now years later I can still remember that night and how bloody awful I felt in the morning , I was as weak as a kitten , every part of my body ached but the worst of all was I had lost the plot , emotionally I was all over the place , I thought that so far I was handling stuff and things ok but I was wrong on that score big time .

What I should have done is gone back to bed and try to get some sleep and sort my head out whilst laying resting in a darken room …………..I know that now but at the time I was well ………..I WASN’T ME.

I decided to go out walking into the hills...after all I had got it all sorted out …Hadn’t I?

My system worked………..       Didn’t it?

I could do it ………………couldn’t I?

Who the bloody hell is anyone to stop me?

What do they say about pride and fall?

Despite me being a complete dick my better half Yvonne decided that she would come with me.

I was so far out of the zone I didn’t pay much care and attention when I was putting on my foam patch with the tegaderm plaster or where I placed a bit of anti chaff cream …I simply didn’t give a rats arse .this came back to get me with a vengeance later but at the time I really couldn’t give a shit.

I had took it upon myself to go up to the cheviots to a place known as Windy Gyle why there I have haven’t got a clue , but somehow in my sick and twisted mind I HAD TO DO IT. I would show them (who?) I would prove that I was still as good as what I was before I wasn’t a useless cripple …………………….(comment from today ten years later .someone should give me a hard slap)

The drive up to the hills proved to be uneventful, but something should have triggered something in my mind, normally I get an excited feeling especially as I drive up the Coquet valley mixed with a healthy dose of caution as it really is a lovley area but today I felt nothing other than a burning anger mixed in with a bit of self pity (not a good combination)

As I sit here and write this (ten years later using my notes it has all come flooding back) this walk is no longer about walking in the hills its about my mind at the time, I will say here and now that I had fucked up big time and if any other amputee reads this and is going through something similar, please don’t do what I did, listen to the people who care about you  the ones who are around you, believe me they are suffering as well , I know this now but at the time I didn’t . I though that I was so alone and no one understood ………self pity isn’t one of our better emotions is it?

We parked up (see map) and off we went , I should go on and say I didn’t even have the right kit on me for this type of walk at this time of year , I mean there was still snow and ice laying around on the higher fells .

 I wont even attempt to describe his walk , it started off with a massive big uphill slog something I wasn’t ready for and meant that I had to put a lot of pressure on my still tender  shoulder  to push myself up using my hiking poles , this pain just fed  my anger and made my mind worse , my new found walking technic was thrown out of the window and I just stumbled along , naturally the tegaderm got ripped off causing a hot spot that just fed my anger even more (there is a vicious circle forming here) but I totally ignored everything , eventually we made the Pennine way , it was at this point I realised that there was no way that I could do the next section to windy Gyle , I was totally knackered before I even started the walk but anger or something  kept driving me on , the fact that I knew I couldnt  make Windy Gyle made me even worse and I made yet another very bad choice , rather than turning back and admitting defeat I decided to go back via beef stand hill which effectively made a 7 .5 mile walk into  a 10 .5 miles walk mostly over rough partly frozen ground , there isn’t much to be said about this , I was rude to Yvonne when she tried to help or suggest other routes back , the  back half of this walk was nothing but a nightmare for me , eventually my exhaustion overcome my anger and there was nothing left of me .

Some brain function started to return as the serious of the situation started at long last to penetrate my brain but by this time I was in agony where I had rubbed all the skin off my leg and tore it open, my shoulder hurt just to touch it, I couldn’t even stop because it was ankle deep in boggy mud where I would have got soaked just thinking about sitting down and my good leg was screaming at me with what felt like pure acid running across the muscles , I knew if I could just keep plodding on there was a mountain refuse hut on the other side of Lamb Hill where we could stop and rethink things in a safe dry place and so that become my everything , nothing mattered anymore just one foot in front of the other  then another step followed by another and so on and so on , this was all that mattered my world had come down to this …………the next step nothing more nothing less , surprisingly   my brain started to work again and the self pity was ruthless shoved away someplace , there was no anger either I was simply to knackered for that just one step after another , even the pain I felt seem to disappear as my world shrunk to …………the next step .

Suddenly we was at the hut, which surprised me I thought it would take longer, gear was off, Yvonne sorted food out whilst I dropped my trousers and removed my leg ………Christ what a mess, it would take a surgical team hours to patch this lot up, and all I have go is what I brought with me in my rucksack ………………………a very important lesson was learnt here always have a good first aid kit on you for YOUR needs.

The white stump socks are more  red with blood  than white and I literally have a ring of skin rubbed off around the top of my leg which is sore to say the least , the inside of my groin area has a hole dug out of it and is really painful .

Yvonne helps  patch me up, I look at her and want to say how sorry I am but I’m just too tired , after she has done what she can I put the leg back on , I am in agony but there is nothing that can be done , we eat our food and I ask her to keep an eye on the time but  let me have  rest for 30 minutes then wake me , its still like  winter up here and I don’t have any lights on me so we have to get back down before dark .

Yvonne gently wakes me up it time to go, it feels like I have only just sat down, my body screams at me and each weight bearing step send fresh pain across my stump, we agree the best way down is to stick to the footpath to the small road then walk back along the road rather than go directly across country, it further this way but much safer ………..finally my brain is starting to work again.

The journey down was a mixture of painful step to the next step and all I can remember about it was how bone wear tiered I was, as we dropped down lower the ground turned from boggy peat bog / heather to rough grazing to grassland where I could simply lay down and rest without getting soaking wet, however it was cold and starting to get dark so I couldn’t rest for long eventually we made the road at Blindburn just as it started to get dark but we still had a long walk back to the car , it would have been so easy for me to send Yvonne for the car whilst I waited by the road but it was my own stupid fault that I was in this position so I would finish it now ………… this pride or punishment either way I would finish this . I already knew that I had done all the damage I could do another couple of miles wouldn’t make that much difference but boy was I tiered , the walk back along the road in the dark once again turned into just one more step then another then another , then around the corner and there was the car.

I couldn’t drive so Yvonne got us home , I remember stripping off for a bath and thinking shit what a mess as I looked at my stump then bed , sometime during the night I woke up needing the toilet and even using the crutches that small distance to the bathroom was pure agony .

We did about 10.4 miles with 2088 ft of the ups and downs very very stupid .

A few photos from today

On Swineside law looking down towards Rowhope farm


Just linking up with “the street”


My better half (pissed with me by now)


Me looking very pale and wimpy even at the start of the walk


Looking down one of the many valleys note the snow still laying around in places


Looking towards a very distant Windy Gyle


Haven’t got a clue what I am looking at


Same again but it shows how wild and bleak it can be up here


Cheviot wild goats


Same again


Nearly back at the road (a dick head)



Dear reader’s  I returned to this area several times over the years and finally redid this walk some years later , it is a lovley area and this walk was so different from the one above please see :-

Day after thoughts.

I was a mess ……..simple as that , I knew that I wouldn’t be wearing my arty leg for at least five days at the earliest , I was sore and ached all over ,all my careful planning etc. had gone out the window .

My mind …..Well I don’t really know what to do or even where to start with that I had / have messed up big time the only thing I could do is try to learn something from this mess and I was ashamed of myself which didn’t help matters …I should have known better I would like to blame it on the medication, lack of sleep, pain anything but at the end of the day it was me. Pure and simple as that I had messed up big time and have got to deal with it ………….end of

Time to deal with it and I guess that there is no quick fix.


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