I'm Back!

Regular readers may have noticed, it’s been very quiet around here recently and for that I must apologise, however, that’s about to change and I should be getting back into the swing of updating the blog more regularly, with some (hopefully) interesting posts.

The last post covered, the final, traumatic day of my Southern Upland Way walk – ending in pain, discomfort and huge disappointment, just outside Moffat – about half way across the Scottish Coast to Coast path. That ‘defeat’ left me feeling quite depressed, even though I knew it was the right course of action at the time and that even with hindsight I can’t fault the decision I made.

I injured my shin on a rock, making a deep cut, down to the bone, that bled profusely until I bandaged it with supplies from my first aid kit – the first time I’ve ever needed to use it to that extent. The next day I kicked a bed leg in my bare feet and thought I’d actually broken my toe! The nail came away and it was incredibly painful – combined, these two injuries forced the halt.

You can have a closer look at the damage if you really want to – I won’t make them full size though, for the squeamish amongst you – but click the images for bigger versions if you feel the need 🙂

Toe Injury

Toe Injury

 

Shin Injury

Shin Injury

That was a small disappointment compared to what came next though. On my return to work a couple of days later I got a call from my boss (I’m home-based, so it’s not like he rang me from the other side of the office) – he said he had bad news for me and would I like to come down to head office (200 miles there and 200 miles back) tomorrow to discuss it, or would I rather do it over the phone. I felt my stomach lurch and rather than wait on tenter-hooks for 24 hours I asked for the phone option. He rang back 15 minutes later with a lady from HR on a conference line. I was then told I was being made redundant – after 8 years with the company, another round of cost-cutting and head count reduction saw me without a job.

I’ve never been made redundant before and this was a bit of a shock. I was told I was being put on garden leave for the remainder of my notice period (12 weeks), so at least I didn’t need to make-believe in customer meetings or around the office, I could switch off immediately and concentrate on looking for another job. This was actually more difficult than (a) I expected it to be and (b) I actually let on to the wife it was.

I’ve come to realise that I hate working – despite being very good at my job and actually enjoying huge parts of it, I actually hate working and not having to work for 12 weeks (while still being paid my full salary), made that feeling all the more intense. I realised that if I didn’t find another job quickly, I could well become used to not working, let my distaste for work come through in interviews and end up being unemployable. As it was I spent the next three months (all through the wonderful summer weather we had), either out walking and interviewing.

I have found another job – still in IT – and it’s renewed my interest in work, thank goodness! I’ve moved into a much younger, more dynamic and exciting technology and although I have a huge learning curve to negotiate, there is nothing I like more than climbing huge hills!

The biggest disaster in losing my job is that my planned LEJOG walk next year is now off. Having worked for a company for 8 years I felt reasonably comfortable asking for three months off work to accomplish the task. That’s just not possible with a new employer of course – there is no way I can ask for that sort of time off, without being handed my P45 again. So LEJOG is now a distant memory again and probably something that will only be done when I retire, if I manage to do it at all.

Pennine Way Guide Book

Pennine Way Guide Book

There is a silver lining to the clouds that fill my sky at the moment though. I have been asked by Trailblazer Guides, if I would like to update their Pennine Way guide book. I regard this as a singular honour and I’ve readily accepted the project. The update involves checking all the information in the book, adding new service providers, walking the whole route, checking the maps are correct and making additions and changes where required. So I’m currently planning on breaking the route down into manageable chunks, ideally using public transport to create a series of 3 or 4 day linear walks. I also need to walk these as soon as possible, while we still have a decent amount of daylight and before the winter weather comes in properly. I have a series of busy weekends ahead of me.

I’ll be blogging about my progress as I work my way through the project and walk the various sections, so keep an eye out for them. The prospect of walking the Pennine Way again is really exciting – I had been considering it instead of the Southern Upland Way this year, but decided to expand my horizons somewhat and walk somewhere new.

If anyone would like to share their experiences of walking the Pennine Way, I’d love to hear them – I’m looking to include some short sections in the book that describe the walk from different perspectives. If you loved it or hated it, cried or laughed while walking it, I’d like to know. I can’t promise you’ll get in the book, but I’ll certainly include some of them.

lonewalker

Fell-walker, trig-pointer, peak-bagger, Wainwright-er & Pennine Way author, with a passion for long paths, malt whisky, fast cars & Man City

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7 Responses

  1. Lots of changes for you. You’ve managed everything well and especially congrats on your new job! Good to be able to “read you” again 🙂 All the best.

  2. Jim Tait says:

    Hello Stuart,

    Good news about the job if not LEJOG. I’ve walked the PW a couple of times, 2007 & 2009, first time south to north and then north to south. I truly loved ever minute of both walks and will certainly be doing it again sometime soon. When I completed the first trip I wrote about my experiences and included photos of the Way, all pretty amateurish stuff but your welcome to read it if you like. I’m on my hols at the moment but can email on my return (this coming weekend).
    And you’re right, the Trailblazer guide is excellent but I’m sure you can add your touch to it!

    • lonewalker says:

      Thanks Jim, that would be great – seeing the walk from different perspectives will certainly help.
      Like you I loved the route when I did it, although I wavered just beyond Keld when I felt a little homesick 🙂
      I’m not sure walking in chunks as I will have to do for the book will recapture that feeling, then again perhaps it will enhance it – only time will tell 🙂

      • Jim Tait says:

        Hi Stuart,

        Back from my hols, really enjoying your latest PW Blogs. What’s the best address to email you my PW adventure, if you would still like to see it. It’s certainly an instant cure for insomnia! Jim

  3. Dodger Greig says:

    It is but a scratch!

  4. Stephen Watson says:

    Hi Stuart,

    Congratulations on the Pennine Way project. I used your Herriot Way guide last year so feel sure that you will do justice to to the Trailblazer Guide.

    Although it is over ten years since my Pennine Way walk you are welcome to mine my Pennine Way Notes for any nuggets of interest and to use the material in any way you wish, if at all: http://pennineway2002.blogspot.co.uk/

    I’ve enjoyed your recent tweets,especially last weekend’s Pendle Hill trip (my childhood home was in nearby Nelson).

    Good luck with the new job.

    • lonewalker says:

      Thanks for the kind words Steve, and for the generous access to your PW notes. I’ll be doing quite a lot of internet based research, as well as literally getting my feet dirty on the path and talking to as many people as I can along the route. I find that it’s often the little nuggets of information that make the difference in a guide book. The current Trailblazer book is so good I’m going to struggle to improve it, but I hope to put my own stamp on it at least.

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