21st May 2021: Settle to Kettlewell – 15 miles

I was supposed to be walking today, but rather than writing this in my B&B in Grassington after a long day’s walk, I’m sat at home with a clear path to the toilet. Some of the following details may be a bit graphic, so close your eyes now if you don’t want to know the score!

It all started last Monday, when I found a sore spot on the back of my head. I didn’t think much about it, but the next day a rash had spread part way round my head and by Wednesday morning it covered half my head. It felt warm and bumpy to the touch and was sore when I did touch it. By Wednesday evening I felt awful and went to bed early with a slight temp. Thursday morning and my whole head was covered in the rash – my usual practice of ‘give it a chance to go away’ hadn’t really worked, so I rang the doctor. Our GP surgery is doing telephone consultations for the most part and I was requested to send some photos of the affected area. Despite telling them that they wouldn’t see anything (it was hidden by my hair) I submitted a few pictures of my head. It wasn’t a great surprise when the GP prescribed antibiotics – she suspected cellulitis, probably as a result of an insect bite – which made sense.

I was given Co-amoxiclav, a new one on me, but I duly began the regime. I was walking over the weekend with a friend, along the Yorkshire Wolds Way and on the Sunday morning I was hit with terrible diarrhoea. It made for an interesting day! Fortunately I carry Imodium in my first aid kit for just such emergencies and it seemed to help somewhat.

The next few days were pretty awful, stomach cramps and diarrhoea, pretty explosive at times and very, very watery. I suspected the antibiotics and sure enough when I read the possible side effects of this brand, it suggested 1 in 10 people will suffer from what I was experiencing. They seemed to work though and by this Wednesday evening the rash had gone and my head was fine. My bowels on the other hand were in turmoil. My stomach was churning, I was getting cramps and the diarrhoea never seemed to stop. I was up all hours of the night and constantly on my guard – I don’t think I’ve ever missed the ability to fart safely before!

I stopped taking the antibiotics, but the diarrhoea continued. I now felt completely drained – both literally and figuratively and spent 14 hours in bed from Wednesday evening. I stopped eating anything other than toast and water and began to worry that I wouldn’t be able to head to the Dales to walk the first of the Cross-Dales Trails. Thursday was still pretty awful, lots of dashes to the toilet and feeling weak as a kitten.

I was due to begin walking today, and although I’m feeling a little better and I’ve only had one dash this morning, I’ve decided to buy an extra day by skipping the walk and heading straight to my B&B for the night. I’m hoping that things will mostly be back to normal in the morning and I can complete the four days that are left without too much difficulty. I will have to go back and walk the first day again, but if I can salvage something from what has been a truly dreadful week, then I’ll be happy.

The only picture for today’s report (you’ll be pleased and relieved to hear) is of scenery that I should have been walking past this morning.

Warrendale Knotts, above Settle

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