Before you embark (not “you” personally, what I really mean is “one”, but “one” always sounds so…er….well, too far up the wotsit…) before one embarks on leading any number of peeps on a guided walk, it is incumbent or necessary, obligatory, required and, generally thesauriously to do a reccy. Or even, maybe two reccies if the first one turns up stuff which might be hazardous or even just a bit dull.
Over the next week or so, I am leading several guided walks, some for Durham County Council and some for the Wednesday Walkers Walking on Wednesdays and Often On Saturdays As Well – a kind of splinter group for the Durham CC customers if the Durham CC programme doesn’t provide walks with a reasonable amount of mileage on Wednesdays or Saturdays. And I went to do the reccie.
Two such walks are next week: A nine-miler starting at Blanchland and a linear walk from Garsdale Head train station to Kirkby Stephen train station, planned as a traverse of Mallerstang Edge but with at least two lower-level options in case of serious rain, and one option in case the train doesn’t turn up.
I did the Mallerstang reccy a few days ago, along with LTD who thought the whole thing a jolly jape specially after he’d collared a dozy rabbit and made it squeak (I did rescue the rabbit fromn LTD’s substantially strong jaws and huge Staffy choppers)
It was a good job I did, too since I discovered that one section of path had deteriorated significantly since the last time I was there with Bruno The Superdawg and was now rougher than a badger’s bottom parts and wetter and squishier than is absolutely necessary for full enjoyment of the steep contours involved. I’m not sure what happened to this pasture, except to say that there were now no sheep and but a few snoozing cattle – clearly not enough to keep down the rank vegetation.
But all was not lost, for I took the advice of a chap who’s back yard I ended up in and explored the relatively newly created and-not-on-my map Pennine bridleway which, complete with a new surface and signs and gates, follows the railway line from Garsdale to the Moorcock Inn and then up the hill to join Lady Anne’s Highway aka “The Old Road”. So I changed the route and thus, avoided any brutal struggles with difficult tussocks and bog.
The second reccy was in the company of Dave and Ruth, erstwhile DCC walks stewards who came along to test Dave’s ankle following an injury. Me and Dawn did the same walk last year but the actual DCC event was abandoned halfway around due to the monsoon season which hit as I was scoffing an egg and tomato butty at lunchtime. The route is OK, no real issues and so it will be attempted once more in it’s entirity next Wednesday.
I have some others to do later – notably a walk from Tan Hill to Keld and back via the cream teas emporium and sheepfarm at Ravenseat.
But after September, I’m having a rest from the guided walks till at least March. Back in the winter, I had a slip on some wet grass and had to visit A&E where I had my thigh fondled by a very nice nurse (there’s always an upside to everything, I suppose). I was advised that I hadn’t broken anything and to hop it whilst taking Ibruprofen and this is what I did, and everything seemed fine for a while.
Then, apparently at random this huge and wobbly lump appeared on my thigh and I’m currently waiting for it to be scanned. The doc (he’s probably only twelve years old by the way) says it’s probably a fatty lump and will have to come out. It is spoiling the silhouette of my otherwise rather beautiful leg and it’s not the same shape as the other one which remains quite lovely specially in fishnet stockings….
This surgical interference is likely to leave a substantial hole where a substantial hole has no business and, I suspect, there’ll be recovery time. The problem is that I’m supposed to plan walks between October and next March, and I have no idea when this lumpectomy is likely to be. So I can’t plan guided walks, see?
In the meantime, I can and will keep walking. The doc says that if I don’t stay active he’ll tell his Dad and his Dad is a boxer-policeman and will bash my Dad. And I can go swimming, do yoga, play the piano and watch Wales play footy on the telly and any kind of exciting and energetic activity providing it doesn’t involve more than 28 units of alcohol per day, sorry, week and I cut out the Lancashire cheese unless it’s grated. But any ambitions concerning my playing for Burnley as a centre-forward in a shirt with “Ray Pointer” written on the back really ought to be reconsidered. In fact, this is Right Out.
On the upside I’m looking forward to even more episodes of leg-fondling by lovely nurses (this is not the main reason I joined the NHS by the way back in 1970 but it did turn out to be a happy side-effect.) and providing the surgeon has been sobered-up before the theatre session, I’ll be OK. Probably.
I would publish a pic of the lump, but you’d be sick.