Monday, 14 April 2014

An old friend I had yet to meet...

Isn't it strange the power of the internet. Almost all of us are connected to a world which has become increasingly smaller thanks to the World Wide Web.

This adventure started many years ago as I recall, when I had the pleasure of becoming Mick's acquaintance on-line, through some amputee group or another. To be honest both Mick and myself can't recall just how long we have known one another or when we first started chatting on the internet in various groups/ forums etc. It's been a while, Mick has followed my progress, joining my Facebook Amputee's group and also becoming a follower of this here blog, oh and not to mention just recently as I started up a new forum called It's Gone Move On and offering great support there.

So anyhoo I noticed Mick had posted on my forum about his passion for getting out doors and going for a jolly good walk throughout various parts of our beautiful countryside. He had asked me to join him on an outing sometime ago. And though I had initially agreed it was at a time when I was having real bad socket issues, so we had to put our meeting and outing on hold. Well like most things it just got forgotten about and though we saw each other posting from time to time, well it just didn't happen.

As I saw Mick posting a little more about how much he enjoys his own adventures I thought I'd contact him and try and arrange to meet him and head out somewhere. Well this finally happened yesterday.

Mick standing under Coe Cragg
Mick gave me directions to a place called Thrunton Woods and very good they were too as I didn't get lost on my drive up...WoW that has to be a first for me. I mean I drove past the huge communication tower that Mick had told me about, but I don't think that counts as I did notice it and just as I was turning my car around Mick arrived just on que.

We both got out of our cars and greeted one another with a nice firm handshake. It's funny how sometimes you can just tell if your going to get along with someone and both Mick and I got on like a house on fire.

I popped my gear into Mick's car and we headed a little further down the road to the start of the trail we would be taking. A quick change from shoes to our walking boots and then Mick introduced me to his awesome little dog,named Bob. Bob is a right little belter, he's so cute and amazingly well natured and behaved. The whole day he was off his leash and would run ahead a good way, however always return when called. Boy I wish wor Hinks was like that. Hinks can hear a crisp packet rustle at a 1000 yards, yet let him off his leash and he instantly goes stone deaf.

Anyhoo this is the bit of the story where I let Mick down a bit,as I am simply useless recalling names of where we went. The only thing I can remember is a place called Coe Craggs, so you will just have to bare with me and be slightly lost, a bit like how I usually am. Or you could always head over to Mick's Website/blog and read about our adventures from a different perspective and in slightly more detail when concerning place/area..

Gutted only pic I got of Little Bob, bless him
This trail was a bit sketchy, especially if your riding a bike down it
Beautiful scenery in the wood
Mick wanted to test my  ability a bit so we headed up this woody trail, it sure was beautiful. I had been advised to purchase some walking poles and I did, however I was pretty crap at using them, finding the majority of the time I completely forgot about them and so they were just getting in the way. I decided just to fold them up and do my usual, yeah that's right wobble all over the place, however get there in the end. As we climbed up the forest trail 5 mountain bikers where descending, one of which went straight over his handlebars to great sounds of laughter from his friends. I have to admit I was a bit jealous seeing these guys come down as the trail was pretty awesome if a little technical for me. It's times like these when I miss having both my legs as even when I probably couldn't do something I quite often think "I could have done that if I had 2 legs". Never mind the guys whizzed down,they were on nice bikes too. I noticed a couple of Santa Cruz's and an Orange, not sure of the others , think one was a hard-tail Cube and that was the bike the guy who had fallen off was riding.

After the forest trail there was a little bit of an incline on what I call a fire road and from there we joined another section of trail and the bigger climb started. At this point I still wasn't using my poles, though definitely should have been lol. Mick went up first and I joined him. It was quite a rocky section, with like a thin gulley to walk in and  kind of difficult in places because of having to keep an eye on my prosthesis to see if it was getting stuck or working properly.

A quick rest at the top to catch our breath... Now I'll be honest from here it gets a little sketchy in my mind. What I think has happened is that as I was concentrating so hard on my next step and not falling I kind of just put my head down and missed a great deal of just where we where heading. I just followed Mick and of course Bob who had a much better idea of which direction we were heading in.

I do know as we got to the top of a cragg called Coe Craggs omg! it was cold and windy. We had a snack break here and grabbed a photo opportunity. Photo wise I may as well whine here and now I am very disappointed with my efforts. Once again my Pentax which I am really starting to despise has let me down. I've tried every setting known to man and continually it fails me. Even when set on Auto the picture images are abisimal. So please don't rate my blog on image quality as it's poo. There again don't go rating it on story telling either... I know you just come here coz you love me.

Cairn on top of a section of climb as we approached Coe Craggs

 At Coe Craggs it was time for me to take my beloved "I Love Haters" baseball cap off, as if I didn't the wind sure as hell was going to. Good job I packed a Buff, as my lugs where freezing. I made it into a bandanna and thought "to hell with fashion". From Coe Craggs we climbed further up over the top of the fells and eventually reached a higher point...I bet Mick will be going his ends when he reads this as he was telling me where we were  at each point. Sorry I just can't remember. Anyhoo I'm sure Mick will do a full write up on his very own blog so not to worry.

Mick heading under the Ridge of Coe Cragg


 Both the same shots, one done with Snapseed

I like this shot
Same shot different Angle
Again an enhanced shot. I enjoy playing around with Snapseed

All you have to know as a reader is that it was cold Brrrrr!!! and Windy!!! whooosh... As we got to the top of the hill Mick and I spotted lots of people with about 20 of the same breed of dog. They looked like some kind of pointer. Bob was in his element and was greeted by a few of these dogs. We said our hello's and cracked on, only to be caught up and passed by the people and their dogs. At the very top we caught up with all these people again and  one gentleman said "you guys deserve a medal". It was a very nice compliment, however both Mick and I couldn't quite figure out why we would be so deserving of a medal for simply climbing a hill and really just getting on with what we like doing, being outside and stuff. This led to a full on discussion between Mick and I about disability, inspiration and how some people see you in a different light to what you see yourself.

Now for an epic descent, pleased I'd semi learnt how to use my poles as it was a bit dodgy in places. For me this was the most enjoyable part of our trek. Normally I hate walking  down as my knee can lock and throw me off balance. But coming down this hill with sandstone rocks and gulleys, mud and bracken was challenging. Mick allowed me to go first and I really enjoyed picking my route. We didn't chat much on this section as it required a good bit of concentration. I did pretty well only falling once and that was at the bottom. I wouldn't care it wasn't my prosthetic side that gave out, no more my good foot when I stood on some slippy ground and it slid out from the side. No harm done I went into break fall mode...I knew that ninja training would come in useful one day.

Another quick bite to eat and Mick checked his GPS. We had covered around 4.5 miles or so as I recall. From here it was a case of making our way up a bracken strewn route and through some boggy ground.I also seem to remember Mick having a trip due to us chatting away and ending up scraping his good shin. No real harm done just a scuff. Mick took it like a man.

A nice route through the bracken

After this I can't for the life of me explain the route, though can remember coming past this big rock and saying to Mick "hey that looks like a bear, lets call it bear rock", to which he replied "yeah let's call it that, if ever I'm up this way it will remind me of our day out and you"...Class I named a rock lol. We walked a circuity route back down to the car park and eventually clocked up 9.8 miles in total, not bad for a first attempt.

Bear Rock
So in ending just like to say a huge thank you to Mick, so pleased we have finally met after all this time. I had a great day with both you're-self and little Bob...Oh and I named a Rock...Bonus :)

Again Mick's Web/Blog


  1. That was a good day , thanks for your company see you soon

  2. Hope you liked my blog Mick. I had a cracking day with you, you're a smashing bloke to hang with and I enjoyed every moment of your company. Will defo have to head out again :)