For newcomers

At the bottom of each post there is the word "comments". If you click on it you will see comments made by followers, and if you follow the instructions you may also comment and I always welcome that. I have found many people overlook this part of the blog which is often more interesting than the original post!

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Monday, 24 November 2014

Maps don't tell the whole story


Blonde Two's last post talks of gorse problems; I have had my own.

It seemed like a good idea at the time (2002).

Lurgh Mhor and Bidein a'Choire Sheasgaich (Lurgh Mhor is often mentioned as one of the most remote Munros)

SMC guide to the Munros, "...there is very much the feeling of a real expedition to climb them, some may prefer to take two days..."

By my route the distance was about 18 miles there and back of very strenuous hill walking.

The conventional route started by crossing the railway near Gerry's Hostel (where I later stayed on my LEJOG walk).

I had looked at the map and also viewed the river from the road just to the east of Achnashellach station and it looked shallow. I took trainers to wade across the river thereby saving myself about six kilometres there and back on the track starting near Gerry's hostel.

From memory, the climb over the fence or whatever to cross the railway was not easy. Next I found myself in total swamp often up to my knees, but boots were being carried so remained dry. The river was waded fairly easily, but the far bank was guarded by solid gorse over six feet high and twenty or thirty feet deep. I hid my trainers and had no alternative but to force my way through that gorse which was very close to impossible. Sweating and shredded I was faced with climbing a deer fence (they are about ten feet in height), into a wood. The wood was strewn with felled trees and thick undergrowth, the trees having being felled at right angles to my direction of travel necessitating climbing over and negotiating the mass of twisted branches, brambles, hidden holes and other evil ankle twisting horrors. Another deer fence was conquered to land me on the track of the conventional route. That was a distance of about half a kilometre from the car, but the worst half kilometre I can ever remember.

The rest of that day was brilliant, but on the way back descending steeply a few hundred yards from the point where I had gained the track from the second deer fence my knee suddenly suffered the most excruciating pain. I was staying with the caravan at Kinlochewe and the previous day I had by some strange prescience bought a single walking pole at a small outdoor shop there which has since closed. Why I bought that pole I have no idea - I had scorned them in the past and seemed to have no reason for the purchase, but it it turned out to be a lifesaver.

I think that was the start of my knee problems which resulted in several arthroscopies and replacement knee surgery in May 2012.

Of course I had to re-negotiate the obstacle course providing a final challenge for a very long day.

CLICK TO ENLARGE
The thick brown dash/dot line is part of my LEJOG route from 2008 - the tent symbol indicates a night stop at Gerry's hostel


Friday, 21 November 2014

Orange goes pink


I am now wearing black stockings.

The nurse (I didn't ask if she wears them) said I can dispense with them in summer if I am walking and wearing shorts - that's a good job - some observers may get over excited otherwise.

This compression hosiery will apparently reduce the risk of DVT - let's hope so. 

The wound on my shin is improving and I am walking some miles again, modestly. Pete's arthritis is showing signs of gradual improvement with the shed load of pills he takes daily. I feel I could walk more, but I don't want to risk aggravation and I will see how things are going after I see the nurse again next Thursday.

Here are a few photos from our two last Thursdays around Witherslack and the Winster valley.

Old yew tree and Witherslack church

Well, I have gone on and on about hairy-orange-string.  Perhaps we have a  refined lady farmer in the Winster valley?

Strange building, excessively windowed, in grounds of large conventional country house - cheap roofing-felt roof. Any ideas anybody?



Witherslack Hall. The special-needs school where daughter High Horse was recently made redundant.
Whitbarrow on the skyline

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Remembrance Day

Remembrance Day was doubly poignant. My brother (18 months younger than me) has Altzheimers and he has been moved from a home in Leeming Bar to a hospital in Scarborough.

With daughter, High Horse, and granddaughter Katie, just gone three years old, we made the round trip of 330 miles setting off at 10:00 am and getting back home at 8:00 pm and all for a half hour visit with my brother. Although Nick recognises us it is impossible to have meaningful conversation, but he seemed fairly cheerful and pleased to see us, and the staff were kind and seem to be looking after Nick as well as is possible.

We did reflect at the eleventh hour as we were driving across Bowes Moor and a little later had a break at the Sutton Bank National Park Centre.

After leaving the hospital I was asked to drive along the sea front at Scarborough for Katie to see the sea, then I continued to follow sat-nav instructions. I quickly realised that sat-nav was now taking us home via York and Leeds because we had diverted from our inward route over Bowes Moor. Although I knew this was not the best plan I just went with it and that was a mistake leading to all the usual M62 start stop frustration.


Another World War reference came to mind - The Longest Day.

At Sutton Bank visitor centre


Saturday, 8 November 2014

What are the odds?



Amidst all the frustration of my leg wound healing, oh so slowly, I have had a free health check with my gp’s nurse.

Prior to getting the results, and considering the mountains and lakes of cheese, red wine and cakey sweetie confections I consume Imagination tortured me convincing that at least diabetes would be diagnosed, along with cholesterol off the top of the graph, and perhaps something else Imagination had failed to anticipate. 

In the past, Imagination was so good at creating the “what if…” scenario I was invariably second on the rope as a rock climber and rarely the leader.

Everything was fine, so nurse said? I don’t understand these things and work on the principle that the less I know the better. Amongst stuff about blood sugars, and a resting heart rate of 54 I was told there is good and bad cholesterol and my good outweighs the bad.

Nurse put all the stats into some sophisticated number crunching software, even asking me to confirm that my country of birth was the UK, which seemed to be the largest influencing factor.

I was told the national average chance of having a “cardio vascular event”for a 74 year old, within the next ten years was 26%, and mine came out at 23% .

With my ignorance of things scientific I am now not sure whether to laugh or cry.