In the beginning

I had a bad day a few years ago when I had a run in with a lorry, unfortunately it won and I lost. The result was I woke up in hospital and found out that I had lost my left leg. (Not my best of days). I was informed that my life would be forever changed mostly for the worse and given loads of crap about what you could be expected to achieve as an amputee and that hiking in the hills would be a no go.I guess that somewhere in those dark emotionally turbulent times a small bright spark lit up in my brain and kept nagging me to just try it and see, so I set out to prove them all wrong

Where shall I start?  it’s taken me years to get back to the starting point …… this starting point ……………..pre haps I should have started this  web site then   (2004 when I lost my leg)  , but there is so much negativity at this point in my life it wouldn’t have made for good reading .

 At this time in my life I was in a shit state and to be honest I fucked everything up big style. I had problems both physically and mentally and being a complete dickhead  I kept most things to myself and ended up hurting almost every one I cared  about and…………… some things said and done cannot be undone no matter how much I want them to be but………. that’s life nothing I can do about it now but live with it .

I was on various drugs for god knows what, most of them keeping me in the verge of a make believe world where I wasn’t really sure what was real and what wasn’t, I was suffering from the most agonizing phantom pain something I wasn’t even aware could happen, yes they did say something about there might be some sort of Phantom pain as they kick me out of hospital BUT nothing could ever prepare me for the pain I experienced every day for weeks on end, and believe me it hurt , now I know that as a man we are supposed to take it but nothing could come close to explaining the pain I went through , I’m talking about it drops you to the floor , has you chewing the carpet so much pain you can’t even cry , desperately trying to hold a none existent leg to try to ease the pain that you feel when there is nothing there , the cold wet clammy feeling as the pains slowly goes  away and you feel like you want to shit yourself in case it comes back again reason for it to start no reason for it to end , feeling  pathetically  weak and doing your best to let everyone know that your fine when inside you are screaming for help , crawling upstairs on my  hand and knees  err ! knee  because I was so weak that I daren’t use the crutches trying to get into bed where I could curl up into a ball and hope that it was all a bad dream ………………...please god let it all be a bad dream (strange that I called to god every time  considering I am a non-believer , work that out)

Now this will sound weird!!!Even though I knew that my left leg had gone I could still see it, not as it was but a sort of transparent colour, with red blood flowing along the veins purple coloured muscles white bone all held in place by a light see through skin and I could make my toes wiggle bend my knee and ankle ………..I guess it showed how far off this planet I was at the time and what sort of make believe world I had created for myself. And I honestly believed that once I got my Prosthetic leg I would simple slip it on and my make believe leg would make it work and I would be as good as new. Even now years later I can still wiggle my toes and feel them moving weird eh?

But after one particular bad phantom pain session, I lost my non-existent leg, I mean it just disappeared, I couldn’t see it at all .nothing!!!  no matter how hard I looked with my eyes or mind it was gone ………….this more than anything devastated me …….it was the final straw (like I said I was on a different planet at this time) but it broke me and I remember sitting on the stairs crying my eyes out for a leg that wasn’t even there, I was heartbroken no matter how hard I searched with my eyes or mind I couldn’t find it ……………nothing mattered any more  I was beaten , that last little bit of hope of a normal life had been snuffed out ……self-pity , blackness a thousand and one bad things went through my mind , words like cripple , useless , pathetic good for nothing where all spinning around in my head…………………a very  sad day one that no one should have to go through  alone . But as a very wise person once said it is always darkest just before the dawn.

My dawn came the day I received my Prosthetic limb, I can’t say about all the things that were going on in my mind as it was like a whirlwind that somehow showed up a small spark or very small dim light in my otherwise black mind and I desperately hung on to that one little bit of light, this was my one chance, my one hope of pulling myself out of this bloody awful world that I had created for myself ……………..on another level or in the real world I knew that it was now up to me to pick myself up , dust myself down and start to live a normal life again , the doctors had patched me up , nurses nursed me back to health my leg guy John had made me a leg to get me upright , Kat , Caroline and Helen had given me the basics on how to walk again so the rest was up to me , for the first time in what seemed a life time my destiny for good or for bad was in my hands and I threw myself into it 100% , there comes a point in your life when you have got to turn something negative to a positive , well this was that time , my time…. my fight…. I came off all the drugs (they did bugger all good anyway), and with every step I took  I began to feel less useless , I began to believe in myself once more and I loved every single step from a walk in-between the bars at the clinic , walking in the garden , along the street , in the towns parks , out into the low foothills , along the valley bottoms in the cheviots , getting stronger and better , the darkness in my mind started to be  stuffed away to some dusty old corner  being held there by a bright light getting brighter with every step finally to  hiking up mountains and going  where I want to when I want to . It’s been hard but it’s all here on the web site if you want to look. Sadly I will never do all the wainwrights & there are places that I will never go …………..but so what.

Has this experience changed me in any way? I don’t really know but what I do know right from the start or should I say from the first step I tended to see things differently from what I used to, life has a lot more colour now!

The hills and beaches are so much richer or warmer if you like and the feeling I get from walking in the country side are for me beyond words, living in the real world we all have to work for money to eat etc. etc. but I would like to say speaking from personal experience is that our lives’ on this planet are so short we really do need to live each day like it was our last simply because we don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow

I have found that getting out walking again has been one of the most rewarding things that I have ever done, from the first painful worrying steps in the hospital to my last hike up in the Cheviot Hills or wherever I have just returned from.

I simply love being out somewhere with a rucksack on my back , it doesn't matter if I don't go as far or as high as I used to, for me just being there is enough.

Naturally living in Northumberland most of my hikes are done in this area, from the miles and miles of unspoilt coastline to the rolling hills in the National Park.

So (finally, you say to yourself) this web site is all about my struggles to get to that distant hill and I hope in some way it might point the way for any other new amputee’s  so you don’t get that same feeling of despair that I went through.

I hope that you enjoy looking and reading about them as much as I have in doing them.

Having fun on the Pennine way even in the rain (err no sheep where hurt taking the photo)

Any way this web site is about my journey……… my new life  ……………….take a deep  breath ,smile  and walk with me  please ! and it all starts here :- Walks 2005



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