Sunday, 13 July 2014

A night under the stars and bits and bobs from last week.

After having a relatively busy week what with appointments, work and trying to get some equipment sorted for my upcoming Triathlon in August I was feeling decidedly guilty that I hadn't actually gotten to do much riding or swimming as we approached the end of the week.

Canny hats them like

On Thursday afternoon I got a nice surprise in the form of a txt from my friend Lee asking if I fancied a short ride out. Lee hasn't been able to get out much as Michelle his wife has been really ill whilst undergoing this dreadful cancer treatment, so I like to always try and say yes and take the opportunity to catch up with Lee and spend some quality time with him when ever possible. Unfortunately my other friend John couldn't join us as he had just started grouting his bathroom and couldn't leave the stuff to go off as he was half way through the job.

So back to Thursday's ride out with Lee. Lee rode over and met me at my back gate. His first words after saying "Hi" to both Ern and myself were "I think I have a hernia". He went on to describe having a cough and then something not feeling quite right down below. Of course Lee being Lee he had explained he had gone on to the internet and self diagnosed himself.  Lee's "just short" rides can sometimes end up to epics for me", so I explained my problem of my socket not fitting and with being sore and true to his word we did a relatively short 20 odd mile loop, taking in lots of varied terrain. I was pretty proud of one particular section of rough trail as I just let loose and bombed down it whilst Lee came down rather more tentatively. I always get a rush when I have tested myself and a friend says "wow you did well there Glenn".

As we came towards Consett Lee asked "do you fancy a KFC", so we popped in there and this gave us the chance to have a chat over our meal. I started the topic of conversation about how hard it was to care for someone when they are ill. Everyone always seems to forget about the person doing the caring, which is understandable, but the carer also goes through a hell of a lot and it's a bloody hard job. I think Lee appreciated our chat and he knows we all have both his and Michelle's back. Moving on we got home safe and sound and the next day Lee messaged me to confirm he has indeed got a hernia. Wow maybe he will be able to get a medical degree from the internet. His last words to me were "that's the last time I cough" lol

At the moment I'm finding my riding really hard work, not from a fitness point of view, no it's more to do with prosthetics and fit. This is probably the longest I have gone without something stopping me riding and just getting out. In the past and I'm sure I have mentioned this before I have always had something prevent me from maintaining my fitness. Whether that be illness, broken bikes or components, both bike wise and leg wise. Anyhoo the result of all this constantly being active, what with work and all the cycling and of course swimming is that my residual limb, or stump has shrunk, rather dramatically. This means all my old sockets, whether they be my everyday walking one which I get provided from the NHS or my riding one which Pace Rehabilitation support me with are way too big. The only solution and a process I am now going through is to have new sockets made. This however is a timely and very costly process. So in the meantime until I get new sockets I'm just trying to persevere with the ones I have and stay focused and positive, something I admit I am finding difficulty in doing. It's rather depressing getting skinned when your just trying to carry out a normal lifeAs I always go on about trying to find a positive out of a negative I suppose in this case I would say I am aware of what good friends and family I have as they have to put up with my incessant mood swings, whining and the odd bit of colourful language.

Hey I know I write a lot on my blog, but in a way even if no one reads it I find it quite therapeutic. It allows me to vent my frustrations and also is a very handy tool to allow me to reflect and possibly see where I can do better. I just thought of that so thought I'd write it down, if nothing I'm honest lol.

 Moving on to Friday a txt from John asking what I'm up to. I explained I really must go for a swim. Swimming isn't one of my strong points and I'm worried I may drown in Dorney Lake when Artcic ONE have their triathlon there in August. I have just bought a wet suit and absolutely hate wearing it with a passion. It's so tight and claustrophobic. I can't imagine what a poor seal must feel like having to wear one everyday, watch just be my luck to get reincarnated as a seal now do'h.

As we were swimming John says "I could quite fancy biving out tonight, you up for it". "yeah" why not. So we arranged to get our gear sorted when we got home and John would come down for me at around 5:20pm.

Ooh I get the chance to try out my new gear. Firstly I had my new Bike Bag Dude handlebar bag, frame bag and chaf bags. Then there was a new eSbit stove a Rab Neutrino sleeping bag and I had just gotten a rather splendid Alpkit titanium pan with a lid that also acts as a mini frying pan. I was like a kid at Christmas. My bike all laden up came in at 53 pounds according to our bag scales. Good to his word John was down on time and Ern gave him a hand re-pack his gear onto the small rack which was fastened to his seat post.

John and I had decided we would just go up towards Waskerley Way. So everything packed, errr yeah I did pack everything didn't I ?...Yeah everything packed "I'm sure I've forgot something", it's not until I get past Greencroft I finally remember "Oh crap I forgot the sleeping mat". Lee had kindly loaned me a sleep mat, so I had to rang Ern and arranged for him to meet me up near the Jolley Drovers and bring the mat up, well saved me riding all the way back home. To be honest in hindsight the sleep mat wasn't much use as it kept deflating during the night and I ended up essentially just lying on a plastic sheet on top of the grass. I now need to buy myself a sleep mat and I could also do with a blow up...I know what your thinking and no it's not a doll I was going to say pillow as my neck was rel stiff in the morning.

Anyhoo we had an ideal spot in mind up near Waskerley, that we had sort of spotted but not recce'd. Anyhoo long story short when we got there it was crap. There wasn't much of a view, the ground was terrible, all stones and hard, there were nettles and flies all the over the shop, plus there were some geet big "No camping signs", something I couldn't remember seeing last time we were there. Ahh well, not to be beat I didn't want to go home, even though at that point after just over 24 miles I was in agony. My makeshift way of trying to relive a socket sore having failed. We continued on and I suggested heading over to the Smiddy Shore Reservoir and maybe try biving there, so off we went.

Upon reaching Smiddy Shore there were quite a few cars and loads of god dam midges. I hate those little critters, how can something so small have enormous teeth and latch on like a proverbial pitbull. Aghhhh get off!  Dammit I'm all itchy as I write now just thinking back. I thought it looked a canny place to spend the night and had to then convince John as he wasn't so sure.

Chatting to a very friendly and interesting fisherman

  As we rode a little further along I say a man fishing in the reservoir. "Ooh that's a canny shot" I said to John so headed off taking my camera out to get a few pics. We ended up having a great bit of craic with this gentleman and his wife who came along a little while later and I got a few nice pictures. This man was very interesting and telling us all about his adventures on the Outer Hebrides...awesome. I love it when I meet genuine, nice people on my adventures and hear of their stories and experiences.

Beautiful Sunset over Smiddy Shore
Night Fishing

The sun was really bright as it went down over the resevoir
The fisherman caught a fish as we were there
Very tranquil up at the reservoir

Casting his line
 Time to set up camp, it was then John discovered that his bivi bag was missing. We were both proper miffed. I had only just bought the bag a few weeks earlier for our adventure to St Mary's. It must have come off somewhere along the trail, so that kind of had both John and me on a downer. Not for long though as I proceeded to setup and test out my ickle stove. I had brought a couple of packets of pasta, you know the stuff you just add water to. WoW I didn't realise the water would heat up so quick and went on to burn the pasta in the bottom of my ti cup. I had that one and made sure my next attempt was better for John, constantly stirring the contents with my amazing glo in the dark spork (I know sad) lol

Trying not to burn water
Stove well under way
    We got into our sleeping bags, and listened to a little music on John's mobile phone as we chatted about this and that. It was around about 1:00am as we floated off to sleep, the sky clouding over and making a light fluffy blanket above us, only to drift away and reveal and huge array of twinkling stars. It was surprisingly bright as there was a huge full moon out . Here we were on the moors with a full moon, it took me back to the movie An American Werewolf in London and those movie lines "Stay on the road. Keep clear of the moors". "Beware the moon, lads". Of course there was nothing to fear as this place was so tranquil, well apart from the incessant squawking, tweeting and whistling of the local bird life which went on all night and the occasional nip from some fly or another.


I think one of the funniest moments was on the way up when I said to John, "so have you brought your Arctic ONE beanie". "Errr nor" he said "I won't need it it's ganna be warm the neet". "Awww A wasn't on aboot that man" I said "I brought mine to stop the earwigs crawling inside my ears". It was at this point the seed implanted into John's head that he started saying "awwww I wish I'd brought me hat" lol. 

Never mind I was
resourceful and I gave John one of my spare stump socks to put over his heed and we had a proper good laugh and took a few photo's of us both wearing one. (Yes they were clean, well mine was)

In the morning I made us both a cup of awesome coffee, we packed up and had a cruise back home, keeping our eyes peeled for the lost bivi bag. Unfortunately it was no where to be found so someone must have found it. I just hope they have as much fun as we do on our adventures should they use it.

So all in all a few ups and downs as with any adventure. On Saturday I felt ill all day,feeling real tired and having a horribly upset tummy so didn't do much at all. Kind of gave me a chance to relax and leave my leg off for a day or two to recover. Another chilled day today me thinks...

On the way back looking for lost bivi bag. Check out my cool BBD chaf bags



  1. Really good blog mate and vid footage was canny eh?just a shame about the bivi sack and your socket sore hate seeing u in pain like bud!. But u will carry on as your a ledge lol.

  2. Aye all in all a good adventure John. Yeah shame about the bivi bag, never mind not the end of the world. Socket wise, it is getting me a bit down as I would love to go out more it's just miserable when it hurts so much. Didn't feel like doing much yesterday anyhoo as I think I'd picked up a tummy bug. Slept most of the day.

  3. Adders up there you know. If you feel something in your bivvi....