Wednesday, 23 May 2012

pennine way calamity

It started here... 

...And ended here.
And this is what happened in between... On the first day as I was crossing Featherbed Moss my right foot found a hole in one of the causey stones, a hole! This brought me crashing down knees on the the stones. Luckily my right foot didn't get trapped in the hole so I was saved a possible fracture. Both my knees were bloodied and bruised, and I'd torn a hole in my brand new TNF Meridian Pants. The fall shook me up so I proceeded with caution, some of the slabs were cracked, sunken or had 'puddles' on them and I didn't want to get caught again.

My left wrist and shoulder had taken a jolt and were complaining too. It wasn't until I started descending Torside Clough that the trouble began, my left knee was struggling and was very painful, I was barely able to put it down without wincing. On the flat my knee cheered up and I was able to make Crowden but not without a spasm or two. And my shoulder was happy to be free of the pressure of the rucksack.

I didn't get a good nights sleep despite walking 16 miles, I couldn't sleep on my left side, the bruises on my knees didn't like contact with the ground, and neither did my left knee like being flexed over the end of my NeoAir (it's a 3/4 length).

In the morning I looked at the map and guide book and there wasn't a great deal of decent involved so I decided to continue. The day went well but I wasn't enjoying myself; it was very blustery but the sun was shining. I arrived at Standedge and found the pub that allowed camping, luckily I arrived there at the time the manager was unloading her car. Luckily because they aren't open Mondays. She allowed me to camp, gave me a glass of 'pop', a cup of milk and several litres of water. And I liberated a bottle of Merlot from the wine rack - I had to pay for this but all else was free. Trail magic is what American hikers would call that.

Needless to state but I was in better spirits and the Merlot did it's trick and a good nights sleep was had only interrupted by a few showers, of strange sounding rain on the fly. (I was later to find out that it was hail!)

Rested and feeling more confident, although with a fifteen mile day ahead of me, I set off and made good time. The morning started to unravel as I descended the slope to the footbridge over the M62, my left knee was up to it's old antics again. I'd been walking solidly for a couple of hours so thought a rest would help. Unfortunately not this time. Crossing Black Rocks a few miles south of the halfway point I was in a great deal of distress; wincing pain, spasms and inability to co-ordinate my feet. A repeat of the descent of Torside Clough, I thought I'd never get to the road. Time for a short break, and I snacked on a codeine/ibuprofen pain killer; no point in messing around with pissy other pain killers get the one that's as legally as close to cocaine as you can get.

At the White House PH I had a pint of orange and soda, and with the help of a young local lad I had formulated my escape plan. There was a bus due in fifteen minutes to Littleborough, where I caught the train to Manchester, from Manchester I had a uneventful coach journey home.

The doctor diagnosed a torn ligament, banned me from walking until I'm healed and has put me on a months worth of anti-inflammatory tablets.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

pennine way preparation

With the news of a new job to start in June on TGO magazine I decided that now would be the ideal opportunity to put the spirit burner back under a long term but as yet unrealised project; the Pennine Way.

This last week I've been cooking, dehyrating, bagging  and vacuum packing three weeks worth of food; Borlotti Bean Chasseur, Soya Mince Chilli, and Cheesy Polenta are all on the menu amongst other stuff.

Along side this I've also been some gathering kit; a Power Chimp, a North Face Infiesto Fleece and a pair of Pacer Poles.

The Power Chimp runs on a pair of rechargeble AA batteries, and I've also bought an adapter to charge my Lumix camera battery. AA batteries are easy to come by so I'm hoping to keep my phone topped up to stay in touch. And my camera charged so I can continue to take snaps.

The North Face Infiesto Fleece is new to the TNF line and has been sent for review. The base fabric is Polartec Power Dry and seems thin compared to the TKA100 fleece that I usually use so I'll see how that works out.

Lastly are the Pacer Poles. I've been friends with Alan and Heather for a number of years now and when I caught up with them at the BPC AGM they'd heard the good news about the job and my plans about the Pennine Way, so offered to send me a pair of their carbon three piece poles to try. I've done my reading and my bag is packed.