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Wasn't Sure If I Would Be Doing This Again.
by johnscot55 » Sat Jul 04, 2020 9:30 pm
Route description: Tomtain, near Kilsyth
Date walked: 02/07/2020
Time taken: 2.25 hours
Distance: 7.25 km
Ascent: 285m8 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
I ended last year (literally on Hogmanay) with a walk in the Pentlands with my grandson Matthew with whom I have done many of my walks. We took in Turnhouse Hill, Carnethy Hill, Scald Law and the Kips and both of us were looking forward to the new year, where I was hoping to bust through the 50 barrier of Munros (was on 46, I'm a late starter ) and helping Matthew over the same line (he was on 32). I was feeling about as fit as any 64 year old could expect to be.
But just before lockdown began I was taken into hospital during the night, in an ambulance with severe pains in my chest and across both my shoulder blades. However, it was not a heart attack, and to be honest, it was never fully diagnosed. Despite having a high CRP blood count which indicates infection, it gradually reduced to being a mild annoyance.
Then came lockdown. For convenience, my daughter and her two sons moved in with us the day before it was official. It did (and still does) have it's moments ) And a couple of weeks in, I joined the world in going pear shaped. I took, what I knew from previous experience was a severe attack of sciatica. Ten years before, I had had an attack, and despite meds, physio, various other types of treatment, it was only fixed when I had a lumber discectomy, which I was fortunate to get through my then employers health scheme. I was off work for around seven months from start to finish and that was with help of private insurance.
For two months, I was in pretty severe discomfort, lucky if I got 1 to 2 hours sleep, and struggling to get through a lockdown day. Every fibre in my body telling me to sit or lie down, go to sleep, but only standing up giving me any sort of mild relief. Because of lockdown, understandably, it was difficult to get medical help. Every time I phoned my health centre, I got a different doctor on the return call, and they just changed the meds. Because of my previous experience, I was convinced meds were a waste of time and only surgery would get me mobile again. And in the present situation, I knew I would not be a priority (again understandably) to get through the NHS system.
I was feeling pretty down in general and also felt that this year was going to be a washout hillwalking wise. And at 65 (lockdown birthday) a missing year is hard to take. Will there be any walking years ahead? And then it got into my mind that maybe my last hill walk had actually been "my last" and I hadn't known it at the time. Perhaps I was finished for good. The thought that maybe that had been the case was hard to bear. And Matthew at 12 (another lockdown birthday), wouldn't be able to continue without me. No more walks for him. I would be letting him down. With that, and with all the other things me and my family were going through during lockdown (along with countless other families), it was pretty depressing. I was only able to do a small local lockdown "hobble", but hillwalking? Was out of the question.
But then, about a fortnight ago, for whatever reason, meds, following YouTube video exercises, a TENS machine, it miraculously started to ease a bit and I was able to get a nights sleep. Also walking became easier, and, almost unbelievably to me just a couple of weeks before, my mind turned to testing myself on a hill. On my lockdown "hobbles", I was able to see the Ochils and the Campsies, on which,at the east end, were the hills of Tomtain, Hunt Hill and Garrel Hill. They were the perfect size and length of walk I needed.
And so, on Thursday, me and Matthew set off. Conscious of Scottish government advice (which was to change the following day), I checked the miles travelled. It was 9 miles to the Tak Me Doon carpark , but I'm sure it's only 5 miles from my house as the crow flies
There isn't a huge amount to say about the walk. It's a pretty easy up and back. What I can say is there are tremendous vistas, beyond what you think the height would offer. From the hills on the Fife side of the Forth, down the Forth to Berwick Law, The Pentlands, Tinto to the south, Ben Lomond and the Arrochar Alps, the Crianlarich hills, the Trossach's hills and round to the Ochils again. All visible and recognisable. And despite the boggy bits, the flies, which were horrendous, the bitey things which found you if you stood still at all, it was fabulous because it was so unexpected. OK, it's a very modest walk, but no way did I expect to be doing anything like it a few short weeks ago. I got on OK and it gave me hope that maybe bigger walks were perhaps not out of the question later on in the year depending on my progress. I still have pain in the side and back of my knee and numbness in my foot, but it is manageable at the moment and I'm now hoping for further progress.
Casting my eyes around for a slightly bigger challenge, but of course, after the lovely spring, the weather is turning to s##t.
Here's hoping for happier times for everyone on Walkhighlands both on and off the hills. Stay safe everyone. Here are some pics.
by dogplodder » Sat Jul 04, 2020 9:45 pm
by gammy leg walker » Sun Jul 05, 2020 12:26 pm
by MrsOrr » Sun Jul 05, 2020 1:53 pm
- Posts: 32
- Joined: Apr 24, 2016
by Sgurr » Sun Jul 05, 2020 6:51 pm
by johnscot55 » Mon Jul 06, 2020 7:08 pm
MrsOrr wrote:Glad you got back out into the hills. It looks like a great wee hill, I will put it on my list to do now that we are allowed to travel and my days of doing big hills are done (age and severe plantar fasciitis )
It's terrible when the spirit is willing but the body not so much .
Sgurr wrote:A friend has sciatica and I would conk out if I took the amount of pain killers she is now on.
For two months on meds I didn't touch any alcohol, which, in lockdown, was quite tough to be honest, but decided to try one drink, then two, and it was from this point I got some improvement . Glad your husband is still managing to get out. Gives me hope!!!
by Graeme D » Tue Jul 07, 2020 8:14 pm