Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Bowled over!

The reason I originally planned to post today was just a catch up for the last two weeks, the healthy 'plop' on the doormat threw me completely until I realised the date... And I should have been merrily wending my way around the shelves at Tesco, if only number three child, Ciara, hadn't been off school with Laryngitis today. My children are never ill, what's happening!

Anyway, it's been a case of ups and downs over the last fortnight. Haven't had a lot of success on the walking front. Last week my foot was sore. It was the large joint on the ball of my foot below my big toe. I remembered having trouble in this area a couple of years ago and at that time I was convinced I had the beginnings of a bunion or gout! (I can be a little, er dramatic?) It took me about two weeks to decide it was an impact injury, not caused by a trip or bump, just through walking over particularly stoney ground. Soft feet or what!

This time, it took me a few hours to work it out. I'd been in Elgin, walking over the cobbled area in the High Street and I hadn't had my walking shoes on. I usually live in them, but I'd worn my thin canvas trainers because we were only strolling around the town centre. Shan't do that again. I decided to stay off my foot as much as possible because I was due to walk along the Isla Way on Sunday with the girls.

In the mean time, I won a competition over on Martin's blog! I never win prizes, I was a little over-excited, but the prize of a drink in the Park Hotel, Montrose the day after my birthday gives a good incentive to make it across Scotland. If my name comes out of the hat. That's the biggest hurdle at the moment. Thanks again Martin, made my day!

On Friday I walked the three miles home from town to test my progress and it was fine. Number two child, Aedan, started secondary school on 18th August and has really settled well. Considering the misery he suffered at primary, I'm relieved. That morning, he'd forgotten his gym kit, through no fault of his own. It was there ready, but he'd put it down to help Rhiannon look for her umbrella. He didn't pick it up again and I didn't notice in time. I had expected him to come home with a logging, but it turned out Rhiannon had volunteered her own gym kit, (which is blue, not pink, luckily...) so he hadn't been punished. Wow! If only you knew, that was stunning and I actually cried.

Another quiet day Saturday and I was ready on Sunday to put my best foot forward. This turned out to be an interesting day.

Usually someone knows the chosen route, although like all good walkers, there is always at least one map amongst us. Turns out, that doesn't always help. The Isla Way travels by the side of and along part of the old railway between Dufftown and Keith. We were planning to start the walk in Keith and catch the train back from Dufftown, but this section of the walk is, to say the very least, unclear. We faffed about for about an hour before we admitted defeat, returned to the cars and drove to Drummuir. After a minor detour, we found the station , parked, kitted up and had lunch. Everything stops for food and pee stops.

We set off and about 25 yards later, Alison's dog, Alfie, literally bowled me over! I found myself taking an unexpected lie down in a muddy puddle. Me, being me, I was laughing too much to speak or move. There was a horrified silence before Sally offered me a hand a heaved me to my feet. I still couldn't speak as my fellow walkers looked on, thinking I was crying with pain.

I am a giggler.

Good job I have a sense of humour. I had to do the rest of the walk with a muddy bum and wet pants! It was a lovely day, including drinks of cold traditional lemonade and ginger beer at a dinky little coffee shop in Dufftown, but I didn't fully dry out until we caught the train back from Dufftown. What should have been about thirteen miles was whittled down to nearer seven and a half, with the extra three miles faffing in Keith on top. We spoke to a lady at the station who told us the part of the walk we couldn't find is along the main road and she felt too dangerous to recommend, especially as we had two doggy companions, so I suppose it was a good job we never found it.

Yesterday, David and I had planned to do the sixteen mile circular route at Dunphail that I'd done in April with the girls. We set off, fully kitted with waterproofs and gaitors, after a supply stop at Tesco. Ofcourse, in England it was bank holiday, so Tesco opened late (in Scotland!?) and we were late getting started. And it started to rain as soon as we left the car park, but it wasn't heavy.

Not far down the road, I was beginning to think my heel wasn't going to loosen off after all. I must have twisted my lower leg slightly when Alfie swept me off my feet, but it hadn't hurt at the time. Now, it was sore. As I perservered, I obviously walked awkwardly and started a hotspot on my other heel. So after 3 miles, we decided on an escape route and shortened the walk to about six and three quarter miles. This was really disappointing although the most sensible option. We don't get to walk together often and I was gutted, but we have at least proved to me that we can make these decisions and my map reading is good enough to get me out of situations. As long as it's never anything more serious than a tight tendon and blister!

Another quiet couple of days and I'll venture forth. Again.

This new term hasn't got off to the flying start I'd imagined...

Onwards, ever onwards.

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