It has been nearly a month since I last posted any news and the reason for this inactivity was simply a lack of anything adventurous going on. I hope to make up for the lack of update inspiration by packing 2013 full of exciting adventures.
In mid January myself and some friends will be returning to Scotland, the scene of my discovering the ability to walk in crampons. This was by no means certain to happen for an above knee amputee. We shall be putting our crampons to good use with further winter training guided once again by Des, clearly a glutton for punishment after taking us to Morocco! I really need to get a move on and sort out my boots and crampons ready for the trip…
On our final day in Scotland, if the weather is kind to us, we will aim to make an attempt on the ‘Big One’ – Ben Nevis! After several visits to the vicinity of this serious mountain I am extremely excited that I might at last get to have a go, and in winter conditions too!
Upon our return from Scotland we have walks planned in preparation for a second attempt to complete Trailwalker. This years 100km ‘ultimate team challenge’ will take place at the end of July but we shall commence training in February with the first of a series of mammoth one-day walks.
March & April
One of the bigger adventures for 2013 will be to negotiate the 84 miles of ‘Hadrian’s Wall’ with a group of amputees, raising money for the disability sports charity LimbPower in the process. I am proud to have been asked to lead the trek and hope that we can fit in some training walks during March and April. I shall also be continuing with my preparations for Trailwalker with some unfeasibly long single-day walks throughout the spring.
The month of May sees the training miles put in during the early part of the year pay off as I participate in the first multi-day trek that I’ve done for quite some time: Hadrian’s Wall. Walking coast to coast across the 84-mile width of Britain is an enticing prospect which I am looking forward to immensely. Undertaking this sort of activity would have been unthinkable for me prior to ITAP but the lack of soft-tissue interaction in the prosthetic / human interface resulting from a bone anchored prosthetic means I can not only contemplate walking an average of 14 miles a day for 6 days but look forward to it!
Soon after a hopefully successful conclusion to the Hadrian’s Wall trek, I am hoping to participate in the LimbPower ‘Amputee Games’. This is an annual event that allows amputees and the ambulant disabled to participate in sports they might not otherwise have the opportunity to try. Power-lifting anyone?
Last June I had intended to take part in Nightrider, a 100km cycle around the streets of London at night, but had to pull out as my wife and new-born son were discharged from hospital on the day of the event and I was a little tired! I hope to make up for this lack of participation by taking part in this year’s Nightrider. Although I will clearly have to do some preparation rides to get my legs used to cycling this distance, my daily cycle commute will help with this significantly and I’m looking forward to seeing the sights of London from a different perspective.
With Trailwalker drawing near, our preparations will step up a notch as we take part in the annual round Jersey walk. This 48.1-mile non-stop stroll was an integral part of the team’s preparations last year which I also missed to be with my new family. Completion of the Jersey walk will break my current longest walking distance record and reports from the team suggest that they are reasonably tough miles due the number of steps and ascent/descent combinations along the coastal paths.
July will see us completing a relatively gentle mid-length walk in the countryside as we taper our training for the main event near the end of July: Trailwalker! After the disappointment of last year I am seriously hoping that we manage to complete the distance this time and good weather will certainly help.
August & September
Our main adventurous plans will mostly have been completed by August but there is a chance that in October I shall be involved in a second amputee-orientated ascent of Mount Kilimanjaro! After being only one of two amputees that summited in 2010 from a group of four that set out to conquer the mountain, it will be interesting to see if we manage a greater success rate this time! If the trip does go ahead I imagine that August and September will be busy with Kili preparation and training.
As mentioned above, I may be journeying to Tanzania once again in October to undertake a second trek up the volcanic slopes of Kilimanjaro. The summit day on my first trip up Kili was the hardest walking I’ve ever done so repeating the experience should be interesting.
November & December
For two whole months I have nothing specific planned. I’ll keep on putting in the miles though, as hopefully in early January I’ll have an opportunity to add to my winter mountaineering experiences…