Saturday 30 November 2019


A few photos from a couple of days camping in Borrowdale. Many thanks to Mike for all his help.
Over the last few months my Parkinson's condition has worsened. A nasty side of it is something  that goes by the term of dyskinesea. basically involuntary and uncontrolled body movements. It is something I have been experiencing much more recently That is a dark and scary place to be.  It is beginning to make life difficult.
Mike very kindly took me down to Borrowdale for a couple of nights camping at Chapel Farm campsite. It was a bit of a struggle getting the tent up. However, it was fantastic just to get away for a few days. The weather was a wee bit dreich, but that was no problem.

Thursday 19 September 2019

Trial and error

Really the first tottering steps of trying to get back on my feet. Pushing boundaries a little, trying to define what I can actually do. This post is just a mixture of things that have been happening over the past few weeks.
Gradually, in slow, hesitant steps, I have resumed my swimming, or at least have had a few dips. The Panama Swimming club members are a wonderful bunch of folks.  They have been continually supportive. One club member, Emily and her husband, Will, own a small area of woodland. They generously invited me to spend a weekend with them camping in the wood. It must be admitted, I was in faff mode when putting up the tent. However, I got there. It was a good weekend though, most enjoyable.


There was a visit to Druridge Bay, for a day on the beach and some dipping in the sea.

Mike had put forward the idea of a two night wild camp. His proposal was to find somewhere that did not involve a long walk in. The idea was that he would walk in with me, carrying my pack, help me set up camp and then return to the car for his own rucksack. It is so frustrating but Mike was right, I could not have managed with a full rucksack.
Things began well, tents set up on about the only fairly level and dry spot in the whole area. That night I experienced a few problems. The following morning saw us storm bound with strong, gusting winds and heavy, driving rain. It was no problem though, we were well battened down and snug. Some extra medication in the morning appeared to bring some relief. Late that night though I was ill and getting worse. Kirkby Stephen MRT stretchered me out. To them I owe many thanks. Special thanks too to Mike for all his help.
The North East skinny dip looms large on the horizon. All money raised is donated to Tyneside and Northumberland MIND. A worthy cause. Last year saw just over six hundred people taking part. As we have done previously, Mike and I will bivi on the beach Friday night to allow for a few wee pre dip sessions. On the Saturday night we will be camping at the visitor centre.

A gray day viewed from the tent.


Much water!
Frothy, tumbling water in spate
Water close to the edge of Mike's tent.

More watery bits!

Very wet, churned up ground. Large logs installed, flood prevention by restricting the flow of water

Evening  skies.

Evening clouds.
Storm clouds drifting away. There was full moon and frost that night.

Sunday 18 August 2019


There has been a long period of silence here. As mentioned in my last post, I have been experiencing difficulties in relation to my Parkinson's. Toward the end of May, through June and July until the start of August, things took a severe downward spiral. To digress a little, let me explain a few factors regarding Parkinson's. Having the disease affects people in a variety of different  ways. Some folk experience symptoms that others have very little difficulty with. It is the same regarding medication, some of us require higher and more frequent dosages than other sufferers. One common symptom is constipation. It can be severe, with all the complications that are associated with it. For me, an added problem that I have experienced for a long period of time are continuous spells of bladder infections.
That, in many respects, was the root cause of of the severe illness I recently experienced. In a nutshell, to combat the infection, I was prescribed a variety of differing antibiotics. One or two brought on a rapid negative reaction  which made me quite ill. Eventually there was a severe clash between the the high dosages of antibiotics and my regular medications. It was a frightening experience. Everything went haywire. A variety of alarming and sometimes bizarre things were experienced. At one point my whole body began twitching, convulsing with violent spasms over which I had no control. With some difficulty, I dialled the NHS non emergency number. It was surprising that the phone survived. It was dropped a few times. An added problem was that my speech was slurred and and disjointed, making it difficult to communicate with the doctor. An ambulance was sent and the paramedics promptly put me on oxygen as by then I was struggling to breath. Apparently all my vital signs where way out of kilter. Doctors were somewhat baffled. The diagnose given was a reaction due to a chest and bladder infection?
Over the next couple of months other strange things were experienced. Nightmares, hallucinations, feeling I was going be sick at any moment, with dry heaves that, at times, went on through the night and well into the next day. My balance went out of sync, totally at times. Needing some shopping, I struggled over to the local supermarket. People stared at me, obviously assuming I was drunk! Being a regular at the shop, most of the women working at the tills recognise me. Blurred speech  made thing even more difficult. One of the ladies, finally realising it was it was a Parkinson's problem not a drink one, quickly put my stuff through checkout and sorted out my cash. It would be another full week before I left the flat to try shopping once more. Again with difficulties. At one point I was really concerned that I was heading for some kind of a breakdown!
Three trips to hospital and admittance to an old folks ward (geriatric!) for a week, a review of my medications and finally an acknowledgement that one of the root causes of all this had been the antibiotics, has seen a very slow improvement in things.
Apologies if all that seemed a little long winded. Hopefully though it will clarify a little of where things are at in regards to my outdoor activities!
Just recently I finally let most of bushcraft  and wood carving stuff go. That hurt, some things were like old friends, we had done much together. Not in a Bear Grylls, madcap survival sensational sort of way. More in a Ray Mears manner of things. Going solo, spending the night in woodland under a tarp and being barked at by a Muntjac deer standing close to me. Waking up in the early hours of a winters morning in the New Forest, surrounded by sleeping and dozing ponies. Foxes walking unconcerned, past me as I sat by an old tree. Having badgers almost stumbling over me as I sat quietly blending into the scenery under a full moon. Waking up in a Highland glen and looking out from  under a tarp to find myself surrounded by grazing deer. Every so often, heads would turn in my direction, ears flicking forward, checking me out. Obviously I was no threat to them. Visiting various Scottish islands, cooking over a fire on the beach. Those days have passed. It is obvious  I am now much more limited in my abilities. The tools have gone to a good home and hopefully they will give someone else much pleasure and enjoyment!
Mike recently spent a few nights at an almost deserted  small campsite in the Scottish Borders. As much as I wanted to go, there was no way I could have managed it. Desperate for a break and having consulted with Mike, a lodge situated next to Loch Leven was booked for the second week of August. With continuing bowel and bladder problems, I was limited in what I could actually do. Often it was just a case of sitting on the terrace and doing a spot of bird watching. Being right next to a loch, swimming was high on my wish list. Unfortunately, notices warned of blue and green algae blooms that posed a threat to health. A line of thick, grey scum along a sluice outlet wall also looked  a wee bit discouraging. Given my internal state of affairs, I decided it was best not to take to the water. On the Thursday, I really wanted to go for at least a short walk. Against instructions not to take Imodium unless it was an emergency, I took one to settle things down a bit. Mike had suggested a flat, easy walk around Loch Ore, part of the Lomond Hills regional park. A cafe half way around allowed me a quick dash to the loo and to pick up a bar of chocolate for a quick energy boost. Mike estimates we covered in the region of four miles. On the last wee bit I was rapidly running out of steam. However, it  is more than I have done for a long while. Things have levelled out a bit, it is now a case of managing the ongoing problems. Currently I am waiting for an appointment to have yet more tests carried out.  Hopefully I will be able to spend a night or two at a campsite before too long?

A few photos from the trip.
It was raining on arrival.

What a difference a day makes!

Evening sky

River Leven sluice house

Swans, Loch Ore

Loch Ore


Wednesday 1 May 2019

Cross roads

Recently my blog has gone very quiet. The last few months have been difficult. My Parkinson's is slowly affecting my life more and more. There has been no major, significant changes, as such. it is more a case of several areas of my life where things are becoming increasingly difficult. Bladder and bowel problems are increasing. Sleep is badly disrupted. Tiredness really hits me at times, feeling fatigued is a regular thing. Ironically, despite going to bed feeling totally drained, I still find it difficult to sleep. Balance is going out of sync a bit as well. Occasionally, when walking I stagger a little. It can look as if I have been on the booze. A very severe allergic reaction to a type of antibiotic, followed not long after that by a fall down a flight of stairs, resulting in a cracked rib and a badly bruised kidney, has not helped things. Of more immediate concern to the doctors are the increasingly number of bladder infections I am experiencing. Each appears to be a tad more severe and more painful.
In turn this has had significant impact on my backpacking. In a couple of earlier blogs it was mentioned that I experienced difficulties on a few backpacking trips. It is quite possible that my backpacking activities may now be seriously curtailed. That hurts, it is so frustrating. There are other options to consider. Much shorter distances. In the warmer months pack weight can be reduced, so hopefully I can still get out a wee bit! Possibly finding a few quiet spots for a wild swim?  Hostels, bunkhouses, B&B's and campsites are other alternatives.
Mike has been very helpful. Despite his busy schedules he has managed to come and collect me me for a couple of short wee walks. A few photos from those walks are shown below.

Following a short section of the Salters Road, Alnham
Ancient church, Alnham

Bewick Hill, an ancient hill fort. A superb wee walk in glorious sunshine.

cup and ring caving on rock

One more thing, some of kit will be up for grabs. This includes a superb pair of brand new Aku Alp GTX four season boots.

Thursday 21 February 2019

A few days in Wales

It has been a while since I have been away. With cabin fever setting in, I was glad to to spend a few days in Wales. Mike and I had managed to rent a cottage near to Corwen in North Wales.
For me there was not a lot of walking, although I did manage some.
Here are a few pictures from that trip.

We diverted on the way back  to spend a couple of days in the |Peak District.

A pleasant week, mainly pottering, although I did manage a couple of nice wee walks.