|The nearly empty camp site at Barcdy|
When I had been packing up on the previous day, ready for my walk, I had a bit of an achy sore back. I hadn’t thought much of this at the time and it hadn’t troubled me on the walk or in the evening at Barcdy Camp Site. However, during the course of the night it became really painful. Now I am the world’s greatest expert on bad backs. In the late 1990s I went through four years of increasingly excruciating pain in my back with accompanying sciatica. I had lots of visits to the doctor and the physio, all to no avail. My GP eventually explained to me that back pain can be psychosomatic and brought on by stress. As you can imagine that explanation went down very well with me. A new GP, and at last an MRI Scan, and I was told I had a tumour growing on my spinal cord, and that if it had gone unchecked for much longer would have left me paralysed. Not quite all in my mind then? The subsequent operation was like a miracle cure, though I was left with permanent weakness in one leg. because of nerve damage. Ten years later, in the mid noughties, and I was suffering again. My record drug intake was 26 prescription painkillers in a day to try to control the agony. I was a living zombie for several months (some might ask what’s changed) until another operation sorted me out. So I am a bit nervous about my back.
Anyways, I slept very badly, and when I came to get up I could barely move. My back was locked, very painful and I could hardly bend. My efforts to dress in the Oookstar inside the Trail Star would have been comical to an observer. After several attempts I sort of managed to lasso my feet with my trousers to get them on to make myself decent. But I couldn’t reach far enough to get my socks on, or my trail shoes. Fortunately, I had thrown the Hi Tec Zuuk camp shoes into my backpack when getting ready for the trip. These are slip ons and with an effort I managed to get my sockless feet into these. After a miserable half an hour or so I got my gear packed up, but there was no question of making a brew or getting any breakfast. It was clear that my trip was over. I had a spine jarring walk of a couple of miles in the Zuuks to a railway station and a ticket home. This was really frustrating as the sun was out, no rain was forecast for days and the best 50 km of my planned walk was coming up. A week later and my plan to join up with Mad 'n' Bad, Carl and Lynsey in the Yorkshire Dales has also been cancelled. “C’est la vie”, as an old Frenchman once said, and “ donnez moi des Ibuprofen, s’il vous plait”.