It looks like I finished walking the Pennine Way just in time. It has been heavily mentioned on here already that I was updating the Trailblazer guide book for the Pennine Way and I walked the final section in April, with Chris Pilgrim. I really struggled with fitness on the walk, not having done anything like enough walking over the winter and not preparing properly for the walk. At one point, panting heavily up a long incline I threatened to give up walking for a year and it wasn’t an idle threat at the time, it was brought on by fatigue, poor fitness levels and a lack of training for these long four days from Hadrian’s Wall to Kirk Yetholm. Within a couple of days of returning home of course, I’d changed my mind and I was back out on the hills.
Just three or four weeks later I was out walking with Chris, at the start of a long weekend, backpacking in the Dales and as we were walking out of Littondale, away from the car, my knee just exploded into pain. One moment I was walking along happily, albeit slowly, uphill, and the next minute my knee was a ball of molten fire, shooting pain up and down my leg. I stopped for a while and tried to adjust my knee support, but it was no good. I couldn’t even walk back down the hill to the car – Chris had to go and fetch it. Fortunately we were still on the road and I just sat forlornly on the grassy bank waiting for him to rescue me.
I went to the Doctors the next week and he suggested rest, anti-inflammatory painkillers and lots of rest. I couldn’t walk on it even if I wanted, so rest was inevitable. Even short walks from the car to the office meant pain in the knee; getting up and sitting down became exercises in gymnastics as I bent myself into bizarre shapes trying to avoid putting strain on the knee. I thought it would pass, all my previous injuries have, given time, but this one hasn’t. The knee blew up on 30th May and it’s now 25th August and although it is much better than it was, I still can’t walk much more than a hundred yards or so without feeling pain and discomfort in the knee. It’s still not up to a proper walk, not even a training walk around the park.
A couple of weeks ago I went back to the Docs and he’s now referred me to an orthopaedic surgeon (the same one that did my right knee a few years ago) and I have an examination on the 17th September. I’m hoping that will lead to a surgical appointment and finally to a knee that I can walk on again. I can see light at the end of the tunnel now – a road map if you like back to the hills. I think it will be a few weeks yet before I’m sorted, but at least I’m not stuck in the depressing limbo I’ve been in for the last three months; thinking all sorts of dire thoughts.
So the moral of the story is – be careful what you wish for, it may well come true!!