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Thursday, 11 May 2017

Sir Hugh down

Yesterday I walked another eight and a half miles from home. One of my mottoes is "make things happen." As I was crossing the  Silverdale golf course footpath I deliberately sparked conversation wth a couple of golfers. I told them I was heading for the café at RSPB Leighton Moss. They immediately suggested that I would be better served in more civilised and peaceful surroundings at their clubhouse. Well, there you go, after seventeen years living here, and as an avid café fan I never knew that Silverdale Golf Club is open to the public. So, due to my contrived intercourse with the golfers I found myself enjoying a bacon butty and pot of tea in quiet luxury, knowing full well I would be receiving some cutting remark from older brother RR about revelling in the luxuries of molly-coddled middle classness whilst purporting to be a macho multi-mile walking hardman.

Gayle and Afoot, and others outside my blog have quite rightly pointed out my fortune in being able to still walk decent distances with my arm in a sling. Yes, it is some consolation, however, these walks are confined to routes straight from home, and after so many years here they are all very familiar, albeit in a most attractive a.o.n.b.*

Another minor niggle is being unable to use my walking poles. All you young rock-hopping, downhill running randonneurs will come to realise in your seventies that balance gradually erodes, and whilst almost imperceptible in everyday urban town-life it becomes an issue on rocky paths and rough terrain, and poles are the saviour, apart from their contribution to powering one uphill, defending oneself against rabid dogs, pointing out probably now unconquerable summits, and thrashing the hell out of brambles.

What I am of course missing is the off-piste experience of the unknown track ahead, the anticipation of seeing over the next brow, or round the next corner, the satisfaction of self-sufficiency, and the scale and excitement and planning of being on a long journey.


*area of outstanding natural beauty


AlanR said...

I used to be a downhill running randonneur along time ago and i always swore that walking poles were as much use as a chocolate fireguard. However as you say, the older you get, balance is affected and also the capability of the knee, hip and ankle joints to take strain. I have now converted to walking with poles and they are helping me greatly.
I am pleased you are getting out and about and who knows what else you may find that you were not aware off right on your doorstep.
I walked from Rochdale to Manchester today (no blog post coming up) 9.5 miles and i was aching when i got there. I got the train back.

afootinthehills said...

The point about using poles from early on is that they help prevent knee problems in later life. They take tons of force off your knees descending steep slopes particularly if carrying a heavy pack.

I've used them since 1993 and although I prefer to walk without them, I rarely do so in the hope that in my seventies I'll still be out in the hills with no knee problems.

I understand exactly what you mean in your final paragraph Conrad.

Anonymous said...

Down but not out.

gimmer said...

Exactly - in the light of recent expeditions and discoveries, I thought the title of the post both inexplicable and wrong, indeed almost a classic example of an oxymoron !

Dave said...

I've never been keen on steep descents - running or walking and, particularly at the end of a longish day when the legs are tired, that's when I most appreciate poles; although, if I'm honest, I sometimes depend on them a bit too much for balance on rocky descents.

Also, they're sometimes useful for checking the depth of wet bog. Comes in very handy in mid Wales where 3 or 4 inches and 3 or 4 feet can look almost indistinguishable on the surface.

Gayle said...

Give it another week and I reckon you'll be blogging about investigating walk options involving bus routes from Arnside.

When we're at home, I find myself walking variations of similar routes over and over again, but now that we're away so much, constantly walking in new and interesting places, I do find it harder to motivate myself for the local walks.

Ruth Livingstone said...

Glad to hear you're walking, even if only locally. Love your paragraph about walking poles. Brilliantly articulated and I agree absolutely. I always take one with me, despite my (ahem) relative youth.

Sir Hugh said...

ALAN R - Rochdale to Manchester eh! That would have been part of my route had I not succumbed to gravity. 'Twould be interesting to see if your route was anything like the one I had plotted.

By the way, have you ever broken a pole? I did, descending from Creag Meagaidh in winter (says he boastfully). There are some sounds that invoke pleasure: rustling autumn leaves with the feet, the popping of a paper bag, the rumble of the distant approaching train after a long tired wait. Well, the hollow sort of crack as if from a miniature rifle, of a breaking Leki conveys, despite the unfortunate circumstance, similar pleasure. I now use Black Diamonds with their superior flick-lock system.


Afoot - great minds...


Gimmer and Bowland - Ok, perhaps it should have been "...half down" taking into account my final paragraph. The association that sprang to my mind was Black Hawk Down.


Dave - sounds like you could do with a buoyancy aid in mid-Wales?


Gayle - there are only two buses a day out of Arnside with correspondingly unsuitable return times. The train is much better, and that is certainly in my mind, but I am off to stay with Big Brother RR in Hereford next Monday for a week.


Ruth. - hi Ruth. What about a red cloak as well so you can out-manoeuvre the cows?

Roderick Robinson said...

The point arises: should I respond to this post when I know you're downstairs pouring out tea from our rarely-used brown teapot and possibly eating toast from our four-slot toaster? That you may hear a ping from one of your electronic devices as I despatch this comment. Decisions, decisions.

Sir Hugh said...

RR - well I waited a while, but no follow up so it looks like I have missed a pithy comment. There may be face to face discussion later? I have now finished the toast and am on my fourth cup of tea.