DATE                                         18.09.15

DISTANCE                                6.4 MILES

WEATHER                                MOSTLY WET WITH THE ODD SUNNY SPELL


 Thrunton Woods

Before I start on this walk I want to get down a bit of my history, yes I know its boring but it’s a way that I can check back and remember all the why’s if’s , when's  and any other crap that I can note rather than just forget about it, so where to start it had been ages since I was last out on a walk. That’s not as bad as it sounds as I do get to take the pup’s out ever day sometime for “big afternoon” walks all over the place but somehow I don’t really class them as walks as such ……….yes I’m a bit strange .

Any way what’s gone wrong, to start with I have a lot of bother with a very sore spot right on the inside of my leg right where the top of my socket touches and rubs, this has literally rubbed the skin off and dug a small hole in my leg and of course the constant rubbing  prevented any healing and to be honest it gets rather painful, being the wimp that I am I have tried allsorts of padding / covers to help but its only recently that I have found something that works and that is a dressing made by opsite , now that sad news is I had only got a hand full and using them two a day soon got rid of any spares I had , but the good news is I have found a place on line where I can order as many as I like so hopefully this problem will soon be sorted and I should prevent it from happening in the future (fingers crossed) .

The place where I work has also added to the problem of me getting out simply by taking me off shift and putting me day work, I didn’t think that it would have such a big impact on my life but sadly it did, fortunately I’m now back on shift again so I can start to get back to normal: - whatever that is.

And of course I have been having a few problems with Arty leg , to start with my old knee was worn out , the bearings had more or less died and one of the shafts was past its best , The shock absorber on my foot had packed in (again) and all had to be replaced , then the cylinder on my new knee decided to start to wind itself down thus reducing the resistance on the knee , not a problem but at one stage it would wind itself down almost as fast as I wound it up , fortunately a visit to the limb centre quickly sorted this out , whilst I’m on about the limb centre I should really give a big thank you to Karen and Richard for all the hard work they do in keeping me mobile and more importantly for getting me into and out of the limb centre without all waiting about for appointments …so thanks guy’s .

Of course life in general had also  prevented me from getting out and about as much as I wanted to, this has to change other wise I would be going nowhere fast and my mobility would suffer big time so after my last appointment at the Limb centre I made arraignments to head up to Thrunton woods for a wander the very next day. The limb centre had changed my cylinder and I had “tested “it out by walking up and down the corridors without and problems but going up to the crags would give it a proper test.

So early next morning (not too early) gear was thrown into the car, the pup’s where called and came running out and leaped into the car in a single bound (actually I have to lift them in but that sounds good ) and we where off, I had spent a while sorting out the ruck sack the night before and by the weight of it I must have packed everything including the kitchen sink either that or I really am a lot unfitter than what I think I am. Any way the pup’s settled down in the back of the car and we set off.

As we drove towards the woods I couldn’t help but notice the sky, it was blue with the odd fluffy white cloud where we was but there was a lot or big dark clouds further north over the distant Cheviots, the forecast was for a bright sunny day with the odd shower  said the weather man last night …………………but being the sort of person that I am I not only packed my waterproofs but brought the dogs waterproof coats as well , I have discovered over the years that the weather people often  get it wrong .so its better to be prepared and lug that bit of extra weight around .

We parked up by the Coe burn near the Caravan site, gear was sorted, the  Pup’s where read the riot act and off they went with me bringing up the rear, The Pup’s had been here zillions of times before and soon settled into our normal route that is where Bob dog goes charging off in all directions and Munchy and Flynn stay much closer and spend more time sniffing and cocking there legs up at almost any object that we walk past.

I had picked this route (see map above) without really thinking about it , it seems that I go around in circles with my mobility , always dropping back to almost nothing then starting again and slowly building up not only my speed but my ability and somehow I always find myself starting at Thrunton woods again . My route today would follow the Coe burn for a while, this section of the walk is a lot harder than it looks with so many trip hazards it really takes a lot of concentration, with the exposed tree roots, the small ditches the ups and down plus with all the rain we had been having it really is slippery in places, from there we burst out onto a small section of forestry track, now this is easy walking and gives me a chance to get settled down and recover my strength before we cross over the footbridge and head up the seriously steep and trick path up to the crags , there are a few crossing places along this section of the burn but seeing as I’m in wimp mode I decide on the footbridge , the next section of the walk I can only describe as hard work on my lungs , my head turns from a normal colour to an unhealthy red / purple , my lungs tend to think that they have been cut off from all oxygen and my body temperature starts to climb at an alarming rate , naturally to counter these problems I stop ………..normally to take a few photos (that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it) the climb up is hard and with all the slippery tripping hazards it can be a bit daunting ………..but that’s why I am here , of course the Pup’s find it easy they are busy running up and down like there is no tomorrow .

It starts to rain, its nice and cooling and believe it or not my body could do with some cooling at this stage, the wind blows and I’m drenched as the trees move and throw off all the water droplets onto me, I’m caught out now do I stop and put my coat on and sweat from the inside out or do I carry on to the top and hope its just a passing shower. I decide to man it out, I am wearing quick drying gear , and sure enough just as I burst out of the trees and make the top path along the crags it stops .for the next few minutes I start to enjoy the views , its dark over the hills and its heading my way , I decide to head towards Coe crags where there might be a bit of shelter , I cant  seem to walk that fast a quick look at the setting on the knee and is down to 4 I could have sworn that I set it to 6 at the start of the walk but couldn’t be sure , time to wake up and switch on I think . I set the knee to 6 and will check on it as the day goes on (I have a sinking feeling that I have got another duff cylinder fitted but only time will tell).

As we head towards Coe crags we get treated to a bright rainbow and some low level clouds whizzing by, it starts to rain, I stop and put my coat on and call the boy’s back and get there coats on , the rain starts in earnest , we snuggle down behind a rock , it doesn’t give us much shelter but its better than nothing , I decide to hand out a few treats for the boys as we are stuck here for a while , it starts to get really windy , driving the rain at us , I dig out my survival plastic bag and make a temporary wind / rain shelter , this is much better we all snuggle in and wait the storm out ………………nearly an hour later it start to ease back , the wind dies down and we now have that lovley wet mist/ clag /drizzle  ……you know the sort that get you soaked and gets in everywhere but its time to head off otherwise we will be here all day . We all plod along the path towards Long crags where we will cut back down off the crags; fortunately the path is made up with lots of sand & a rocky coating that gives good grip. However I know once I start on the seriously steep and messy path straight down things will change, a quick check of my leg shows that the settings have moved a tiny bit and I readjust it to 6 again, there is no doubt that the settings are moving but its not by a lots so I can live with it.

The Boys go hurtling down the hill jumping across the deep dips and boulders , I decide to follow at a much gentler and slower pace , I have been down this hill in all weathers and in all conditions and know it can be a bit tricky in places but with all the rain its like a skating ring I try to place my Arty foot on anything that might give me some grip , it doesn’t look good and its certainly taking some time but I slowly make my way down , then right out of the blue I find myself  on my back staring up at both my feet and start sliding down , I only go about twenty feet before I plough into the heather and stop , but the whole back of me is covered in a wet sticky mud with lots on broken heather bits all digging into me , nothing I can do at the moment but live with it , I slowly make my way to the foot of the hill and breath a sigh of relief , there is a good place not to far away where I plan to stop and get cleaned up a bit .

Much to my surprise its stop raining and the sun is out , I find a nice grassy spot by the coe burn and decide to strip off and get cleaned up a bit , naturally every thing is soaking wet , I clean the mud off the back of my rucksack then clean my coat …..That was easy now its time to take off my shorts and scrap off the worst of the mud and rinse them off in the burn, they are soaking wet anyway, the pup’s look at me as if I was mad …………good job no one is around, next its time to sit down remove my arty leg and clean both the outside and the inside, water for the outside and good old wet wipes for the inside, strangely I even have some mud and debris inside my undies I have no idea how that got in there but good old wet wipes come in handy again . finally I finish getting cleaned up and we all decide that it must be lunch time , once again I get the food and treats out of the ruck sack and share it out , which means the boys don’t touch any of there food and treats until they have helped me polish my food off first .

We don’t have long before the sun goes in and it starts to rain again ……so much for sunny and bright with the odd shower , so its time to pack up and make a move , our path takes us along the Coe burn back to the forest , but sadly its overgrown with  fern almost 4 foot in height  , there is a path but we get soaked as we push through the wet fern , its about a mile to we link up with the forestry track in that mile I actually fall 3 times , I don’t know why it could be my arty foot get caught up in the fern , it could be the uneven slippery ground or it could be my knee isn’t working correctly …………I must admit I am a bit concerned because I never fall normally , but stuck in 4 foot fern there is nothing I can do but slow down and take my time , eventually I burst clear of the fern path and link up with a forestry path , that’s better , I check the knee and once again the setting has moved slightly so I set it back to 6 but that shouldn’t have caused me to fall , the rain stops again and I decide to slow things down a bit and have a gentle stroll back , we still have a couple of miles to go before we get to the car but why rush things , looking up at the sky it looks good ………..its clear and blue . (Like it was meant to be all day). I call the pup’s and remove there coats , they are wet and muddy now so they can be put away , and we slowly make our way back its all easy walking now along the forestry tracks… in sunshine when I stumble and nearly fall again , I cant believe this !!! I check around to see if there was a “hidden” stone  or something that could have tricked the knee but nothing , a further hundred yards along and I nearly stumble and fall again this time it felt like the knee just gave way .

This is no good so I decide to sit down and remove my leg and have a good look at it, I can’t find anything wrong ……….strange!!!! And when I come to redone it I really take my time getting into it.

Time to set off I walk for about half a mile really carefully and relies that I’m not even walking correctly as I’m “pole vaulting “over the leg and give myself a mental slap across my face , one thing I do know is that leg needs to be driven and driven hard to get the best out of it , not pussy footing around and really start to drive the knee , something still doesn’t feel right but it could be me , after all I have had four falls with a high speed slid down a hillside , and I do feel very tired , I guess time will tell , before I can make any decision we round the corner and see the car , I have to be honest and say that I was pleased to be back at the car .

We did about 6.4 miles with 998 feet of the ups and downs, with some of the downs a bit quicker than what I wanted.

A few photos:

Munchy waiting for me at the start of the walk


Cutting down towards the Coe burn


Bob waiting for us to catch up before he runs off exploring again


Bright yellow? Moss?  Fungus? I have no idea


Munchy sniffing around


A bit further along and the sun comes out


On the forestry track looking towards the crags


Looking back


Up we go the start of the long uphill section

Still heading up


Still heading up, Bob waiting for me


Bob and Munchy waiting


 Break in the trees and this view opens up it looks very stormy in the distance


Just as we get to the top we are greeted by this


At this stage the rain is missing us


But not for long as the next set of cloud heads our way we make a dash for the crags


We didn’t make it and spend the next hour bunkered down sheltering from the rain, bob and munchy in there rain coats


Some view eh?


Bob at Coe crag

A few more photos as we make our way along in the clag


On our way towards Long crags looking back


The boy’s at long crags


Unnamed stone cairn just before we start down


Munchy waiting for me

Flynn now taking his turn to stop back with me


Looking back up


Now the fun starts heading down a very slippery path


A few more phots as we head down



Made it down looking back up

Our path


Heading along the path that is overgrown


The fern is above head height in places


Made it, looking up towards coe crags

Looking back


Now on the forestry track looking at Long crags


Looking up


Big mushroom? Fungus?


More of the same


Easy walking looking back along the track


Day after thoughts.

 Home , coffee and hot bath , I was tired!  more that what I should have been why I dont know , after a bath I wear  my leg , sort my gear out …….which really meant it all got put in the washing machine . My rucksack had a puddle in it...time for a new one I think !

My raincoat will need to be reproofed along with the pups coats in time for the winter  but my arty leg still hasn’t proved itself one way or another .

I think that I will wear it (like I have a choice) and see what happens, I know that it will slowly wind the resistance down but that isn’t really a problem and only time will tell if its Arty leg playing up or if it was me, I really really hope that it is me messing around causing the falls and not the leg ...............only time will tell.

As they say all will be reviled in the next few days or walks.