DATE                               08.11.12

DISTANCE                      About 7 miles

WEATHER                      Bright and sunny

START / FINNISH          Roadside parking

Thrunton woods test walk.

Before I start going on about this walk I need to say a huge thank you to a total stranger (Louise)  who without realising it gave me the much needed mental “slap across the face” to get my act together. Even though she didn’t even relies it or it wasn’t even aimed at me what she had done was to write a short post on an amputee Facebook page about having a flashback and how it knocked her for six and how she somehow used the experience to her advantage a bit later, this touched a nerve with me, I always like to think of myself who like her looks for any advantage in a bad situation. Something I hadn’t done with this stump pain. So it was time to get off my lazy arse and do something about it.

So if Louise Tait from limbcare  ever reads this ……….Thank you.

As you know or may not know I have been having some serious grief with my stumpy leg. I won’t bore you with the details read  DISAPPOINTMENT    if you really want to know and are that bored.

Time to shut up and get on with the walk.

Rucksack was packed with my new portable crutches (just in case) along with all my other gear, I had already decided that I was off to Thrunton woods, the reason for this was it’s a place where I always return to when I need to regain my confidence or/and practise on different types of terrain ………after all its not the first time I have been in this situation and unfortunately it won’t be the last.

And there is a bit of everything to practise on and it’s possible to make the walk as long or short as I need it to be with lots of good tracks back if things go tits up.

Whenever I start on a training walk I always try to walk along either a good level path or in this case a good forest track for the first mile or so this has the advantage of letting me settle into the socket before the terrain get rough, straight away I noticed that I was walking like a robot and was putting too much weight onto my walking poles, and try as I might I couldn’t seem to relax into a steady walk …………., a quick stop and mooch in the rucksack and one I pod was quickly put into use , I have found in the past having a bit of music playing away seems to help , not really sure why but it does so that’s good enough for me .

Over a period of time I have built up several play lists which depending on my moods or the terrain I will play, I have them for stepping out and walking fast, happy songs for when I am feeling really knackered and still have a few miles to go, music that I sing along to and even music that stops me from screaming when I am descending down a steep scary hillside.

Once again the music takes me away to a different time and place and I slowly forget that I am walking like a Robot and I feel better for it , I know my back lets me know its feeling better , after a mile or so I decide to leave the forest track and start exploring and have a mental map / route already in my head , the track turns into a boggy heathery path and I decide to head out onto the crags visiting Coe crags then to the trig point at Long crags , the terrain has once again changed to a very stony (sandstone) uneven path , which requires a bit more concentration but nothing that I haven’t done a hundred times before , the weather gods must approve as the sun shines brightly with the hint of a cooling breeze and the views up here today are brilliant in fact the air is that clear it’s possible to make out my beloved Cheviots in all their glory . ….. I promise myself that I will pay them a visit soon , I am feeling rather miffed that I had to miss the first covering of snow that fell a couple of weeks ago , I bet it was great up there then , still plenty of time and I have got my micro spikes .

 time for a stop and rest at the cairn on Long Crag , I have got some of my mums homemade fruit cake with me , very nice it is too , I noticed that my dad was giving me the evil eye when I begged a huge lump of it to take away with me .

Now it’s time for some serious thinking, do I take the easy (wimp) route down or follow the path that drops suddenly down? So far I am pleased with myself and decide to get to the bottom by the steep rocky path, this will be a good test for my stump and see if I get any pain.

After a slow but steady decent (with music to scream to playing in my ears) I finally make it to the bottom of the crags, once again the terrain changes to a wet boggy mess for the next mile or so , eventually the boggy mess dries out and I find myself walking along a grassy path , I feel rather pleased with myself and can’t help but notice that I am slowly developing a nice smooth walking gait (not as smooth as it was but it’s a step in the right direction) I quickly return to a forest track where I speed up a bit trying different styles of walking , a pain in my groin area tells me that I had better slow down a bit or its going to ache big time ……………………still can’t complain as I have done bugger all for the last few weeks.

Lunch time and a well-deserved sit down is followed by me stuffing my face , time for another think about what I want to practise on , I decide on some woodland terrain with all the muddy bits and of course the hidden tree roots that are just waiting to trip me up …………………HA  we will see !!

So it’s into the woods for a couple of miles, in places its very slippery ,and dark with lots of trip hazards , my speed slows right down but it doesn’t matter as I am not on any time table , I can hear deer barking (do deer bark?) in the distance but I can’t see them and the deer trail I am following along doesn’t look like it’s been used for some time (of course I could be wrong ) eventually I leave the man-made forest and join a small stream , I will follow the stream back to the road , the evergreen trees are now mixing with more native trees which allows more light and soon I am back on a well-used footpath , however there is a small chamber working against me which makes life that bit more interesting , and I find that it’s starting to become hard work and I have to admit that I am feeling knackered , I suppose all the weeks of sitting around is now starting to show on my fitness levels .

Eventually I come to a small road; it’s a long uphill pull to where the car is parked a mile away.

I admit defeat and have a sit down and rest, I know from previous walks up this road it’s a long pull, it’s not that steep but steep enough to stop me from walking normally but not steep enough for me to chance my style of walking.

So it’s a long slow uphill slog. Eventually I get to where I left the car and the first thing I do is get the jet boil out and make coffee, and boy it taste good. A look on my trusty GPS reads seven miles not too bad for a starter training walk as there was a lot of difficult terrain covered.

A few photos ;-

An easy start to this walk along the forestry track.

 

A gap in the trees.

A shooting range (I have never see it in use)

Time to leave the track and head off on a diffrent type of path.

Heading up towards the crags.

First views of the distant Cheviot Hills.

Looking back along towards Coe Crags.

Same again.

My route towards Long Crags.

A couple of the views as I make my way along.

The trig point on Long Crags.

Looking back .

Stone cairn.

My new portable crutches. (a work in progress)

My route.

The view towards the Cheviots.

Time to start going down on the scary path.

 

Part way down.

At the bottom looking back up.

My chosen path a bit on the wet boggy side.

Looking back a bit further along.

 

A couple of photos looking back up at the crags.

Now on a nice grassy path , very easy walking .

 

Starting to climb back into the trees, looking back .

Looking back.

One small section of heather to get past.

Now back on a forestry track, looking back.

My route ahead.

A few photos looking up at the Crags.

Entering the woods.

Now entering the "old wood".

The riverside path.

Nearly back at the road.

 

Day after thoughts.

Got home and straight under a hot shower followed by more coffee and a couple of pain killing pills, an early night as I was totally knackered, first thing in the morning I was very sore in the groin area which is something that I will have to keep an eye on I think this is down to my poor walking gait.

As for the stump pain , I am pleased to say that I didn’t get any BUT there was a couple of times when I had to stop suddenly as I felt that I was about to get zapped , each time I was putting a lot of pressure on the stump whilst pushing back / down at a strange angle .

All in all I will mark this up as a huge success ..........................Thank you.

NORTHUMBERLAND