DATE                                 25.03.05

DISTANCE                       3.6 MILES

WEATHER                        COLD BUT DRY

START / FINISH               OFF ROAD PARKING BY HARTSIDE FARM

Linhope Spout

It took a little longer for my last cut to heal up than what I would have liked but there is nothing I could do about it , just put it down to “my new life and stuff” that doesn’t mean that I like the situation but there was nothing I could do about it simple as that  . However I had been to see the local nurse at my GP’s and explained about the sore spots and how plasters just seem to rub off and just turn into a gooey mess and much to my surprise she understood and gave me several different types to try with the understanding if I found one that worked she would order me up a boat load up, great at least someone is singing from the same song as me. Up to this point all I kept getting was “take it easy” “don’t do so much”, “rest up”, baby steps etc. etc. etc. just what I really wanted to hear. NOT.

So for the last few days I had been testing out what worked and what didn’t, it seemed that the thinner the plaster the better it worked and stayed on but the thicker ones gave more protection but didn’t last five minutes .a bit of a problem either way so a choice was made I would concentrate on what stayed on the best and take it from there. After a couple of days of easy walking around the house and at work I found that the tegaderm transparent dressing type seemed to work the best, it was a bit fiddly to put on, and my skin had to dry and free of cream etc.

TEGADERM

But once it was on it stayed on but more importantly it didn’t scrunch up like the others. And allowed the sore spot to dry up and heal , of course I hadn’t really given the plaster a real good test out in the real world so that would be the next step so to speak.

That day came a few days later when I declared to the world (well just myself really) that the cut / sore spot had healed up enough and was ready for another testing out in the real world , I had decided that there was only one way to find out if I was making progress or not and that was to give it a proper testing , I will go on and say at this point I knew it wouldn’t  stop all the problems but I was hoping that it would help so over breakfast I explained to my better half that I was off out for a test walk , after much thinking Yvonne agreed to join me , so gear was thrown into a ruck sack whilst I thought about where to go .

I decided that a visit to Linhope Spout in Ingram Valley would be a good place to see again , it is in a lovley area , and it gave me the chance  to “warm up” at the start of the walk  so may be I wouldn’t get the shakes on my good leg and as its on a small single track road from Hartside farm to Linhope so it should be easy walking , from there it was a mixture of rough stone /mud track the mud/ grass on the last bit , of course there is a very steep drop down to the spout but I would worry about that when I got there .

Gear was thrown into the car and off we went, on arrival at Hartside farm we parked up (roadside parking) and was pleased to find that there was only a couple of other cars there …………in the warmer months this is a very popular waterfall with all the day trippers and with me falling and struggling so much I didn’t want to be seen by the masses.

Boots and stuff where sorted and off we went, the pace was slow but I wasn’t in a hurry, I was trying (not very successfully) to work on a nice easy walking technic something that was a bit more “smoother” rather than my normal throw the arty leg out and see what happened, my better half informed me of improvements and many other bad walking habits that I had already developed so it was a work in progress , there is a long downhill section of road that is quite steep in places , I overcame this with the help of my hiking poles and rather than walk on the hard tarmac I decided to walk on the grass verge running alongside it .

This was much better and had two advantages straight away, the shock of my arty foot hitting the ground wasn’t so hard as when it hit the hard tarmac and if and when I fell the grass made a much softer landing even today when I m out walking (ten years later) I still prefer to walk on “softer” grass than man made surfaces so I suppose that I could chalk that up as another lesson learnt.

However my bum cheek was starting to get hot and bothered, so far the tegaderm had done its job but I still needed something to cover the area or pad it out or something to ease the friction that was happening there.

After a quick “leg stop” this is where I stop drop my trousers and remove my leg it seemed that the Tegaderm was still in place doing it job but I was getting hot because of the friction between my socket and leg, I came up with a brilliant idea and that was to slap a load of gooey hand cream over the top of the tegaderm and surrounding area and see what happened, this much to my surprise worked very well and I could feel the skin “sliding backwards and forwards , of course this didn’t last long BUT IT WORKED so for the rest of the day whenever I felt like I was getting warm I would simply do a “leg stop” and dab a load of cream on .

By this time we had left the small road and was on the stony cart track, walking was much more difficult on this surface but with the use of my hiking poles this wasn’t a problem plus my arty leg want really causing me any pain and that must be the biggest lesson learnt so far, if there is no pain involved things seem so much easer I’m not saying it was easy but………. I was starting to feel very tired and called for a rest stop , I had already worked out if I stop for ten minutes when I start to feel tired I would recover quickly and could carry on all day where if I “man upped” and carried on walking when I was tired I would very quickly become totally knackered and be worse than useless for the rest of the day so another lesson was when I started to feel tired stop for a sit down for a bit . And if I did a leg break at the same time I could kill two birds with one stone …..So to speak…..so you see I was learning all the time.

After a short rest break it was up and onwards, my good leg muscle was starting to shake and burn but not as bad as it had been on my last few walks, I’m not sure why, it could be because I am taking it easer I don’t really know all I know is that the lactic Acid burn / shake thing would stay with me for about ten months before it finally stopped happening but of course I didn’t know this at this time.

We where on the last section now where we left the track and walked down towards Linhope Spout, there is a few well used mud/grass/ fern / heather paths leading down to it, we tended to pick what looked like the easiest and had no problems till the very last bit which involved a climb down a rocky section, I simply dropped down onto my bum and used my hands to slowly lift myself down and didn’t have any problems other than my pride.

We made it; there were a few other people there but not enough to worry about. I felt strangely very pleased with myself but there was a sense of sadness, in my past life I would have got to this place in less than thirty minutes from setting off from the car and would often sit here having a drink and plan out where I would be walking for the rest of the day it was like a starting point if you like where as today it took me hours to get here and …………..That’s it ………….lunch rest up and head back.

I straight away realised that this sort of thinking wasn’t good for me, it would do me no good comparing myself now with myself in the past it would really be a bad thing to do, I can’t really explain it with words but there and then I decided that my past achievements simply didn’t count anymore its as if I decided to wipe out my past there and then, (of course at this time I was still living on a different planet) and only concentrate on the now and the future. But I felt sad in saying goodbye to my old self of course I was still have a few problems remembering who I was and what I had done this was a result of my head getting bashed around when I had my accident . So maybe it was for the best (for a while at least).

Lunch was had by the burn and we found that I had left the old camera in the rucksack so a few photos where taken , then it was time for the walk back , there was a fair amount of work involved getting back up to the track but somehow I knew I would manage it without any problem , I had a couple of leg breaks on the way back but the cream seemed to do the trick , the only problem was there was a gooey mess soaking through the back of my trousers BUT I wasn’t sore any more pre haps a bit tender but other than that I was fine so I would mark this up as a huge success and finally I had something to build on and try to get a “system” that worked for me .

A couple of photos from today

My better half Yvonne with the spout behind her

 

Me still looking rough

 

Heading back up towards the track back to the car

 

Up close

 

Just hanging around

 

Looking back down towards the burn

 

Last look back towards the spout

 

Day after thoughts.

Under my bum cheek was tender but the skin hadn’t broken, this was a first for me and I have to say that I was feeling chuffed about it. my or should I say the lactic acid problem I had with my calf muscle played up each time I stood still or when I got up after a rest so I’m no further forward with that and really don’t know what to do about it other than just live with it after talking with my physio she suggested that it might be because its having to strain a lot and do all the work …something to think about. I have still got a lot of work to do with this limb loss business but I feel that I took a step in the right direction today.

WALKS 2005         ABOUT ME        NORTHUMBERLAND