DATE                                    17.10.15

DISTANCE                            6.11 MILES

 WEATHER                           OVERCAST BUT DRY

START / FINISH                   ALLEN BANKS  NT CAR PARK

 

Allen Banks

 

After a late or should that be a very late last minute change of plan I found myself  driving home from work trying to sort out the logistics of could I make the “meet up time” and could I spare the time to call in and get that all important roast beef sarnie , and where the hell did I leave my leads  for the GPS, To cut a long story short there was a walking meeting going on with two Facebook groups , I had wanted to go on this walk but sadly work got in the way , but then right out of the blue when I arrived at work  I found that I could make it and hence the rush around .

On arriving home, my gear was quickly sorted, Bob informed me that I had better check that I had packed his treats and reminded me to make sure that I got a slice or two of roast beef when I called in and got my sarnie from the sarnie shop (sometimes I really do think that I spoil this dog) , Naturally both Flynn and Munchy breathed a sigh of relief when I told them that they wouldn’t be joining me for the day , now that the weather is turning cooler they really don’t like being out all day , plus my Daughter Kerri was calling round and was having the boys for the day and a “sleep over” and I know that they where looking forward to that & she totally spoils them even getting up and cooking them a breakfast of scrambled eggs with sausage and bacon some thing she doesn’t do for her long suffering husband , I let Kerri know that I would drop Bob dog off sometime later in the day when I got back .

Then it was charge gear thrown into the car, Bob jumped in and we where off, right to the bottom of the street where I had to turn around and head back home …duh! I forgotten my boots ….what is the saying …………more hast less speed or some other saying. A quick run into the house and picked my boots up …………..Right where I had left them in a bag right by the door so I didn’t forget them and we where off again, looking at the clock I realised that if we didn’t hit any problems we should make the start time and so it was time to relax and enjoy the drive.

Todays walk was going to be at Allen Banks, what route I really didn’t know but that didn’t matter, over the years I have been all around this area and like to think that I know it quite well plus it is a very popular “touristy” spot and the national trust tend to keep on top of the paths etc. which was just as well because I was having some serious problems with my Arty leg, As you may or may not know the hydraulic  cylinder has been playing up , well the latest problem was that there is no resistance what so ever I mean it is now total free which mean nothing to most people but it meant that I am going to have some serious problems especially when going downhill and at Allen Banks there is a lot of up’s and downs but my thinking was I have got enough experience walking with buggered up knees and I know the area so hopefully I should be able to cope to a certain extent and when and if  things got tit’s up I would simply make my way slowly back to the car .

On arriving at the car park, I found much to my disgust that there still wasn’t any disabled parking places and I had to part with £4.00 of my hard earned dosh, but despite my meanness I don’t mind paying for this car park as the area is kept spotlessly clean, the toilets are always open and clean and there are benches where if you want you can sit and eat and to be honest it’s a nice area all in its own “walled garden type surroundings” so despite my moaning I don’t really mind …..

There was quite a few people already there introductions where made and I promptly forgot most peoples names …sorry, Bob dog was at his best and went round saying hello and wagging his tail at all the other dogs that would be joining us today, and I have to say that all the pooches seemed to have a really good time, I know Bob was all over the place running, sniffing and generally having a good time with the other pooches.

Being the serious person that I am I managed to have a quite word with Doug, informing him about my knee and the fact that I might have to drop out part way round and I didn’t want him to think that he would be responsible in any way, I also informed several people that if I took a tumble please don’t try to grab me as nine times out of ten it tends to make matters worse and then finally we set off, I tend to walk at the back of any group that way I don’t feel the need to rush any tricky places that we might come across plus I am always nervous that if I slip one of my hiking poles might fly out behind me and stab someone , so walking at the back suits me . Bob of course was busy running with his new friends one minute leading the way next minute dropping back to check up on me before disappearing up the bank someplace for another mooch .

Having no resistance on the knee unit was “weird or strange” and I had no way of knowing if the leg was straight down ready to weight bear without looking down to see that it was, again not a problem as any amputee will tell you, you have to watch where your foot is especially when walking over rough uneven ground , of course I tend to “pull back” using my stump to ensure its is ready to weight bear but the nerves on the back of my stump are a bit weird to say the least and to be honest sometimes I can feel stuff and other times I cant . but I found going on the flat a bit easer than what I had hoped for , going up hill was as normal hard work but more or less the same however going down hill was a nightmare …….I mean its hard enough on a good day but with the knee flopping around and not having any control over it really took it out of me both physically and mentally and I am ashamed to say it by the end of the day I really struggled mentally to such an extent that I could hardly hold a conversation whilst I was walking and when the group decided to extend the walk a bit further I had to wimp out , so far I hadn’t fallen over but I knew it was only a matter of time and to be honest I just wasn’t mentally up for it , as I have noted before it is hard work just walking as an amputee but when the Arty leg isn’t working like its meant to it becomes really hard work both physically and mentally and I wasn’t strong enough simple as that….. so I decided to call it a good day and head back trying to convince myself that I wasn’t wimping out but it’s the right thing to do and in the cold hard daylight it was the right thing to do but at the time I felt like a loser and felt ashamed of myself. My brain tells me I have nothing to feel ashamed about but I feel that I have let everyone down ………stupid yes I know but that’s how I felt.

Our route was a bit wibbley wobbley (see map above for the route ) starting at the car park , up the high level path to the summer house , then down to the river Allen and a walk back to the swing bridge then up the steep bank and into morralee ? woods where we stopped on the banks of the tarn, for a well deserved lunch break, Bob of course had all his roast beef before even looking at his own dinner then after lunch it was back down to the river bank, then a walk along the river to Plankey mill it was at this point I had to call it a day and left the group, I simply crossed over the bridge and followed the low level riverside path back to the car park.

According to my GPS I walked 6.11 miles with 1000ft of the ups and downs. Bob of course did loads more, and whilst I am on about bob unfortunately he decided to have a roll in something really smelly and sticky and for the walk back he felt like he was the bees and ees and strutted his stuff , I on the other hand kept upwind from him ………….he stunk ! .

The drive home was done with the window cracked open, and my daughter Kerri was informed so she had a nice bubbly bath waiting for him, and she informed me that after his bath and tea he went straight to bed and had a snooze

A few photos from today enjoy:

One of the info boards

Another one

 

Looking back towards the car park

 

Heading up the “high route” looking down towards the river

 

Looking across the gorge

 

The one and only Bob Dog (what a star)

 

Some sort of mushroom /toadstool?

 

A bit further along looking across to the other bank

 

Having a look at the book in the summer house

 

Taken inside the summer house looking down the gorge

 

Now heading down towards the river

 

Passing under what I think is Raven crag

 

Looking at the river Allen

Down on the river bank a few photos

 

Bob dog just had a drink (I don’t know why I carry water for him)

 

Looking upstream

 

Small waterfall, I think that the kids made this during the summer months

 

Looking across to the far bank

 

Looking downstream

 

 Looking across to the other side

Time to go

 

Heading downstream towards the suspension bridge (looking at the river)

 

The suspension bridge

 

Looking upstream from the bridge

 

Looking downstream from the bridge

 

Heading up the other bank looking back towards the bridge

 

Heading into Morralee woods

 

Bob dog waiting for me to catch up

 

Nearly at the top

 

Morralee tarn and our lunch stop

 

Close up

 

Time to head off again

 

Heading back to the river Allen

 

Looking down at the river

 

Now on the bank on the opposite side from where we was earlier on

 

A few photos from this spot

 

Now heading along the river bank towards Plankey Mill

 

A bit further along

 

I haven’t got a clue what plant this is

Looking back

 

Our route follows the river

 

Looking back towards Raven Crag

 

The views

 

Part of the farm buildings at Plankey Mill

 

Messing about on the river bank

 

Looking at the bridge and my way back

 

Taken on the bridge looking upstream

 

A bit of open land on the path back

 

Looking down at the suspension bridge

 

Day after thoughts :

Fortunately despite the knee being useless I did no damage to my stump so I will put that down as a success, however I really need to get this problem sorted as it will affect my walking ………as it already has, not completing the walk was / is a blow for me it is something that has never happened before and even though it was the right decision at the time it doesn’t sit right with me. Sigh!! As they say watch this space. Cheers

 ABOUT ME        NORTHUMBERLAND       WALKS 2015