Tuesday, 4 February 2014

A walk, a walk, my kingdom for a walk ...

A few days ago, I wrote in a post that I was fed up with giving in to my dodgy back and wanted to wean myself back onto longish distance walking. I had some formative criteria which are reproduced below:
  1. Between 10 and 15 miles;
  2. Preferable on a good surface due to the weather;
  3. Has public transport at regular intervals in case my back goes
  4. Optionally has lots of interest to see and do.
  5. Preferably within easy access of Cambridge.
As today was a day that I could skive off, and also one where the forecast was good (it has been rare for the two to combine this winter), I decided to do a walk. And in the end, I decided to walk into Cambridge. There is a handy bridleway that runs all the way from Bourn into the city, but this is never more than a mile or two from the road and bus stops. It would be an eleven mile walk - result!

Where does the field end, and the path begin?
Yes, that is a bridleway on the right.
The first problem is the bridleway, which I have cycled along many times, had more in common with a canal. Not just any old canal, but a canal that had been allowed to silt up for a few decades. To my surprise there were no shopping trolleys in it. The wet winter has really had a terrible effect on the ground, and I merrily slipped and slid my way along. Eventually, looking more like the creature from the Black Lagoon than a human, I reached Cambridge and went into my favourite hostelry, the Baron of Beef.

I had done eleven miles (twelve including walking with my wife to her workplace), my back was aching but manageable, and everything was good. I had a couple of pints, and all I needed to do was amble through town to the bus that would drop me a few yards from my door.

But no. I am a long-distance walker, and that means that such a humdrum solution was anathema. Instead, I lifted my rucksack onto my back and headed back. The road route along Madingley Road seemed more sensible than risking the swamp once more, and so I headed off down the road, knowing that I could always catch one of those nice, warm buses that drive virtually to my door.

Yeah, right. After twenty-two miles I arrived back home overheated, dehydrated (yes in February) and with two hips that were hurting how I think buggery must feel. The good news is that although my back is aching, it has not spasmed.

So of my criteria above: I broke 1,2 and 4 (I drive down Madingley Road regularly, and know it all like the back of my hand. Therefore even the wonders of the outside of the American Cemetery or the windmill hold no particular joys).

I think I may limit my next walk to fifteen miles.

Yeah, right ...


AlanR said...

Never give up David. 10yrs ago I was in traction for 10 weeks after 3 of my discs collapsed at the same time. My spinal chord was reduced by 2/3 in width and the base of my spine is so badly worn that it cannot be repaired. I find getting out works better than not getting out. Strengthening the muscles helps me keep stable so working the back is better than letting it weaken.
Keep the good work going now. BUT! Don’t overdo it at this time, it could set you back in the recovery process. Slowly slowly.

David Cotton said...

Hi Alan,

Glad to know you've found a coping mechanism, even if it cannot be fixed.

I was rather silly with the distance I did - fortunately it appears to have had no long-term consequences. More luck than judgement, though.

Now, if only I could find somewhere to walk that *isn't* a quagmire ...

AlanR said...

Canal towpath maybe?….