DATE                              13.04.2014

DISTANCE                      9.8 MILES

WEATHER                      BRIGHT BUT WINDY




Today I was meeting up with Glenn a fellow above knee amputee for a wander around Thrunton Woods, to say that this meeting had taken some time to arrange was an understatement, we had been meeting in cyber space for a number of years and trying to get a face to face meet but work broken sockets / limbs had always buggered our planes up However that was all about to change today, we both had a fully function limb and a day off so that was it.

 Glenn had left the choice of route to me, not a problem you might think but I wasn’t sure what his ability’s was so I had to plan in several wimp out routes should I need them and the last thing I wanted to do was put Glenn off by picking a route that would cause him some serious trouble, like wise I wanted to “push” him a little as I know that he would get more out of the day if it was a bit difficult in places. As it turned out I needed have been concerned as Glenn took it all in his stride

Glenn as I mentioned before is an above knee amputee , he had a shit time with a knackered leg before he finally made the(very hard ) choice to get his leg chopped off just so he could start again ,

Since then he has constantly been pushing the limits to see what he was able to achieve and refusing to accept the word “NO YOU CANT DO THAT” a bit like me really. Glenn is also a keen biker and that was one of the reasons I suggested Thrunton woods, ever since open access became law there has been many off road tracks  created and I thought that  he might be interested in having a look around and possible returning another day to test them out on his bike .

Glenn keeps a blog and ………….go reads it yourself link: -

Right getting back to the walk, we met up at the agreed meeting place (always a good start I think) & I had already decided that we would leave one car there and throw the gear into my car, this had the advantage if things went pear shape we would have a choice of which car was quicker to get to on the return leg, and drove down to the start point plus I had brought Bob along for the day as well and didn’t want him trashing Glenn’s car. gear was sorted , boots put on and off we went with Bob leading the way  , I had asked Glenn to bring some Hiking poles along  as I think they can be  extremely useful for some of the tricky bits. It was up to him if he wanted to use them or not, but I wanted him to have them along just in case.

Our route took us along a forestry trail roughly following the Coe burn, for the first mile or so, this gave me the opportunity to see how Glenn managed, and it was very muddy in places with the constant threat of tripping hazards , you know bracken, tree roots plus there was a couple of water filled ditches to jump across and several very boggy sections , I figured if he managed this I could take him up to the crags tops , if he struggled with this section there would be no way I would take him to the top and would stick to a lower easer route . as it was he loved it and like me the more tricky it got the more he loved it  and coped no problem  so that was the one and only concern that I had out of the way now I could relax a bit , Bob was doing what he did best which was basically buggering off in front , side or dropping behind , he did return when called so I tend to let him get on with things just reminding him that there was a full days hiking in front of him so take it easy for a while , he did what he normally does and totally ignored me .

Our route now linked up with one of the many forestry tracks for a short distance then it was over the Coe Burn and start the up hill section, this rather muddy route was a popular downhill bike trail and sure enough we just started up when a party of bikers came down, not before one of the riders went over the handle bars much to every ones amusement ,Glenn does this sort of activity with his all singing / dancing  Bartlett tendon leg (see his blog for info) and I was interested to see if this sort of extreme stuff would be possible for him , being the modest person he is he didn’t answer directly but I bet he wished he has his gear with him to try .

Further conversation then died out as we both started the rather steep climb up to the crags and I know I needed all my breath but then I am much older than Glenn then finally we burst out of the trees and on to the path along the Crag tops , to say it was a bit windy was an understatement , I suggested that we walk along till we came to Coe crags where we could drop down out of the wind for a well earned break plus it gave us both the opportunity to take a few photos and the views from up here are pretty good . after a short break and a few photos it was time to carry one our route took us along the crag tops or ridge line to our highest point of the day at Long crags, on the way we meet up with a huge party of some fancy dog owners with there dogs, there must have been twenty of them at least, Bob of course was in his element he must be the world’s most sociable pup and wasted no time in joining them for a play. eventually Bob said his goodbyes and we continued to the stone cairn , now it was time for the decent , I was still a bit concerned about Glenn and his ability’s but with the aid of the hiking poles he managed the downhill section very well , in fact I am certain (like me ) that he had a stupid grin on his face , I followed behind watching ready to give any pointless advice and watching his technic  seeing how it differed from mine , about half way down I knew that he wouldn’t have any problems and could relax again , after all I really didn’t want to break Glenn on our first trip out.

Once on the bottom we found a sheltered spot and had lunch (well Bob had most of mine)  , conversation naturally turned to arty limbs , limb centres and any other amputee crap that we could think off , I would like to think that it was a two way street but I came away with a lot more general knowledge , we both agreed that there was nothing in the way of support or help for the amputee’s  in the north east of England and talked about how we might be able to change that , Glenn already runs a Facebook group and has set up a online forum for amputees but I think that (again like me ) he would like to help “set up “ something in the real world but unfortunately the Freeman limb centre seems to do every thing it can to prevent a user group from being set up . The sad thing is no one seems to know why. And without there support it will never happen.

Getting back to the walk, I had decided to let Glenn decide how far and what route we would do and explained the various routes that where open to us, Glenn more or less told me to go wherever I wanted as he was more than happy to follow and so Bob set off along a well used path that took us across the Heather moor to the stone cairn at Hard Nab from there we to the forest again and Callaly Crags staying on this well used path we went along to Thrunton Crags before joining a forestry track that would take us back to the Coe burn at the base of Coe crags , Glenn “found” a rock that looked like a bear and so its now unofficially named” bear rock” who knows it might even catch on now . Then Bob lead us back to the car, we did about 9.8 miles with about 1722 ft. of the ups and downs Bob of course did treble that. A good day made better by the company. And I have to say it was good seeing how Glenn managed on his arty knee compared to how I managed on mine over different types of terrain , I think at some point it has to be said  its not the knee it’s the person using it that makes the real difference and today proved that , yes I think that we would both like to have the new all singing / dancing latest knee units  but today we both not only managed the route we both had a good time and just took whatever nature threw at us with out even thinking about it , yes we both took a tumble but so what……….. I go out walking on a regular basis with able bodied people and they sometimes take a tumble after all it’s the country side.

Yep a good day and as normal a few photos:-

 Taken as we walk along the muddy path following the Coe Burn


Now on the forestry track looking up to the crags where we are heading next


Looking along the track


Now starting on the up hill bit


Bob as normal is waiting for us to catch up

One that I have played with :-

Glenn (thinking I really hope mick knows where he is going)

Leaving the forest and starting on the ridge line the views start to open up


Glenn bursting out of the heather


Looking down at the forest with the distant Cheviot Hills in the far background


Bob once again leading us along the path towards Coe Crags


One of the small stone cairns


At Coe Crags looking down


From another angle


We dropped down here for a food break and to get out of the wind


A few photos of the crags

Glenn taking a photo of me taking a photo of him (read his blog)


Glenn doing the Coe crag poses




Yep it a long drop


A couple more craggy photos

Bob wanting us to get a move on


Crag shot


Glenn trying just “one more for that perfect photo”


Funny looking rock, from a certain angle it looks like a vulture with its beak


Starting to go down now


Glenn coming down from the cairn at Long Crags


 Now at the bottom looking back up


Glenn battling against the Heather


Looking across to the now distant Coe crags


Boggy puddle?


At Callaly Crags and the twisted trees



Unnamed pond

Bob coming back to check on us


Thrunton Crags looking towards the hills


A bit further along the trail


Now on a forestry track heading back to the Coe burn looking towards the crags where we was earlier this morning


Same again?


Showing some of the ridge line


Nice easy path back for the last couple of miles

A sign that spring has finally arrived.

 Glenn blog about today:-

a good day out thanks Glenn