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Regular viewers may have noticed a break in transmissions over the past week. I should have been ‘processing’ our Pyrenees pictures before setting off today to Chamonix for a week in the Mont Blanc area. Sadly that trip has been cancelled due to my inability to walk more than a few paces at a time.
All was well last Saturday, when I managed to jog around the 5 km Parkrun at Wythenshawe well inside 22 minutes. Annoyingly, if I’d gone flat out I would have got a personal best. Then, on Saturday evening, a lower back pain developed, slowly and painfully spreading down my left leg. After two nights with minimal sleep, we spent Monday looking after young Jacob whilst his mum went back to work for a few days before starting maternity leave. Well, Sue looked after Jacob whilst I writhed in agony on the floor.
A call to my doctor’s surgery triggered an immediate appointment. I thought I might have sciatica, but the diagnosis was a back muscle strain with referred pain. A cocktail of drugs was prescribed. Co-Dydramol, Naproxen and Diazepan. After 48 hours on this cocktail I was still unable to stand, sit or lie down without significant pain. It was a bit like constantly having cramp, but being unable do anything to ‘release’ the cramped muscles and reduce the pain.
“We can’t have that” said the doctor, replacing Co-Dydramol with Tramadol, which is apparently a stronger pain killer. Since then there has been a slow improvement, but complete rest is needed and the Chamonix trip was a non-starter.
This should give me time to make good progress with the Pyrenean pictures, slideshow, etc, though they haven’t been touched during the past week as I’ve been more or less totally incapacitated. I have however been able to follow Humphrey’s progress across the Pyrenees on his journey from Etsaut to Bagnères-de-Luchon. He is now back at home in Berwick, after enjoying an interesting trip and chatting to many locals affected by this year’s extreme weather. Well done, Humphrey, and I very much appreciated your verbal report the other day.
I’ve also enjoyed tracking Markus, the Austrian TGO Challenger, on his own rehabilitation walk after a serious skiing mishap incurred last winter. He has devised a circular walk from Inverness which he calls the ‘Wester Ross Trail’. The route takes him to Drumnadrochit > Loch Affric > Strathcarron > Annat > Craig > Kerrysdale > Loch Maree > Poolewe > Fisherfield > Shenavall > Loch Fannich > Loch Meig, before returning to Inverness via Muir of Ord and Charlestown. It looks an excellent route – about 340 km (210 miles) with 9000 metres ascent over twelve days, similar statistically to a typical TGO Challenge crossing. He should currently be flogging his way through the Fisherfield Forest to Shenavall in fair weather. Good luck, Markus.
Our week was brightened by an interlude in a Rusholme curry house with Rob and Brenda and their son, Douglas. It’s many years since I saw these contemporaries from my days at UMIST, and they had never met Sue. It was great to see them, and my pain seemed to diminish for the duration of that evening. Thanks for getting in touch, R + B.
Whilst I’m laid up I hope to make occasional random postings, and I do have a date for some of your diaries. Several of our younger correspondents have requested winter evening walks in addition to the traditional ascent of Shutlingsloe on 17 December. So, on Friday 8 November, there will be a stroll up to the Pigeon Tower and Rivington Pike Tower from outside Rivington Visitor Centre - the Great House Barn on Rivington Lane at SD 628 138, starting at 7.30 pm.
Our latest ‘programme’ is here. More details of the walk from Buxton on 6 October will be added soon, and as soon as I’m fit enough, I’ll be sorting out the venue for our Xmas lunch walk on 8 December. In addition, anyone wishing to be included in our Collett’s booking in the Dolomites from about 12 to 20 July 2014 should contact me by email – email@example.com. It’ll cost about £600 on a half board basis, plus travel costs etc. It’s a brilliant venue, highly recommended, and as I’ll be celebrating my new status as an OAP I may just about be able to commit to a round of drinks!