DATE                               18.05.06

DISTANCE                      ABOUT 5.7 MILES

WEATHER                      BRIGHT & DRY



A wander above Ingram

The last few days haven’t been that good to me , once again somehow I had managed to break Arty leg , the same fault as what I had the last time , a simple bleep and then nothing , fortunately when the leg fails it is still possible to use it , it sort of reverts in to a fix knee so its possible to walk on it but other than the basic’s its useless , once again I got lucky when I rang my limb centre as they had a company rep in that day and so I managed to get it fixed almost straight away . It would seem that the thin wire in the knee had broken; I personally think that this is a design fault; I mean the knee bends thousands of times a day and so the thin copper wire bends and literally just wears away to nothing and breaks. however what do I know other than this is the third time it’s happened, I also mentioned that the knee had frozen and locked in the straight position a couple of times in separate incidences and the only way I could get it to free up was to do a total reset, the rep couldn’t find anything wrong with it and we put it down to the battery getting low, but to be honest I didn’t think that the battery was that low. Anyhow the wire got fixed and I got my knee back and every thing should be fine, except things weren’t, it seemed that one or more of my programs on the knee had been altered and so I was back at step one again….. sighs!! , however having been through this “setting / programing the knee up  stage  several times” I knew what to do and where the settings should be to suit myself. But I needed to get out someplace in the wilds where I could fine tune it to my hiking needs.

Going of my previous attempts I knew what sort of terrain I would need to try to fine tune it all in one day, something easer said than done. What I was after was a mixture or metallic surface, rough cart tracks, quad bike, rough pasture, short soft grass and some really squelchy boggy sections, with a few uphill bits and some dreaded downhill sections thrown in But as strange as this sounds I didn’t want anything to difficult just in case things didn’t go as well as I hope they would.

After much thinking (smoke come out of my brain) …..something that I’m not really that good at I decided to go to Ingram Valley, there is a section of footpath that I know will suit my needs for the day and if all went well I might even be able to get up onto West hill that has a suitable route for me to drop down on, I can vaguely remember the route down from the time I spent up there learning to hand glide before my accident, yes it would be good to get up there and see the views again.

As things might not go as well as I wanted them to I duly informed my better half where I would be going and even drew a map for her, with the instructions if I didn’t come home tonight tell someone, naturally she replied by saying that she was off to check up on my insurance policies and not to worry about her …………..I’m sure she meant “us” but I left it at that. Gear was thrown into the car and off I went.

Parking up in the visitors car park right by the visitors centre at Ingram, gear was sorted, arty leg was put into programing mode and off I went, the first bit of this walk was on metallic road, which gave me the chance to program the knee wearing my walking boots (yes walking in hiking boots is completely different from normal footwear) and sort of gave me a base line with where to start. As expected it didn’t take long to get the knee to feel that it was performing right and I saved the setting, I would as the day went on and the terrain changed put the knee into programing mode and do some fine tuning but it was as I expected quite easy to get the feel of the knee where it should be for my needs , my route for the day took me up a long but gentle climb up along side Wether Hill , the terrain changed from rough stone track  to soft grass and I spent a bit of time fine tuning the 

knee, nothing much but just getting the knee back to how I like it . There are a few old hill forts on top of Wether Hill but today I just stuck to the footpath and skirted them, my route slowly dropped down and I then headed off towards old Fawdon Hill where once again I would stick to the footpath and miss the summit, by this time the going was a bit more harder with lots of wet boggy sections and again I put the knee into a programing mode and did a bit of fine tuning , it was as I had guess I had more or less got things back to normal earlier on and decided to save the setting and call it a day rather than “overdoing it” . Now I decided to leave the path and head straight up onto West Hill which  seemed a good idea at the time but soon had me puffing and panting as it is steeper than what it looked or am I not as fit as I like to think .

After much puffing and panting I finally made it to the summit at 274 meters which would be the highest I went today, I found it hard work but the views made it all worth while, I decided to sit down and just take in the views and finish the last of the coffee off.

The last time I was up here I was learning to hang glide and I will admit to feeling sad, my life was so different then almost as if I was indestructible, I never knew tiredness or even discomfort, I could get up and put in a full day never stopping or even get out of breath and of course the thrill of jumping off a hill and soaring into the sky was an experience that unless you have done it is almost impossible to describe ……………But that was then and now is now ,there is nothing I can do about the past and my situation  could have been so much worse so it’s a case of making the most of the situation and you know something I was here today ……..yes a bit older , a bit wiser , dare I say a bit slower but mentally I think that I am much more stronger and I know that I really appreciate things much more now so ..Things aren’t all that bad.

Coffee was finished , things where sorted out with my head and off I went , I quickly picked up the old grass track that I remembered from years ago and headed back down to the car at Ingram .

As normal a few photos

 (Taken with my old camera because I didn’t know how well I would get on with my knee)

Taken right at the start of the walk looking along Ingram valley

Looking back down the track I’m walking along


Looking across towards West Hill where if all goes well I will get to this afternoon


Looking down the valley


Looking back and towards West Hill


First Coffee break .the views


Looking up towards Cochrane Pike


My path a nice easy grassy quad bike track


Time to head across, there is a footpath here, but it’s hardly used so it’s a case of follow the best you can


Time to start heading towards Old Fawdon Hill


But first some easy walking in the lower pastures


Same again


Looking across towards Gibbs Hill


Now linked up with a stony track


Small plantation, it’s at this point I decide to head up


At the top looking towards Ingram


A few more photos as I make my way along the hill top


Last one then the batteries died in the camera

Day after thoughts.

On this walk I managed to retune Arty leg without any fuss or bother so that must be marked up as a success , but once I got on top of West Hill I will admit to feeling .well a bit tearful about things and stuff mainly  what I think I have lost …………is this a good thing ? I don’t really know, perhaps I have got issues or was it simply remember the thrill and excitement of my earlier life when I was younger and the great days I had flying off this hill I don’t know ………one thing I do know is that I really appreciate what I have got now so that must be a good thing.

Arty leg wise like I said it was a success and I had no problems with my stump so yes it was a good day despite feeling a bit sad .



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