Back to Wales
It was a weekend of Rugby, catching up with friends and one giant walk. The need to really test myself had been bubbling up for a while now, and i felt like I was ready/needed to have a crack at something tough. Something that was going to challenge me, something that would really give me a sense of achievement. We chose the ‘Blorange’ (a peak overlooking Abergavenny in the Brecon Beacons), for a few reasons. Firstly due to tone issues we needed a peak that we could go up but didn’t have to come down. Seeing as the Blorange has a road over the top it allowed us to leave a car at each end and do exactly that. Secondly, I had climbed this peak the summer before so had a good benchmark to work off. Thirdly and most importantly, there’s a good pub at the bottom.
Lois and I were joined by my big welsh physio Wyn, a couple of other friends and of course the dogs. As well as us lot there was Wyns bag, which was so big it may as well have had a name, and a postcode. It was roughly the size of your average family saloon and contained about six months worth of provisions. Wyn has the reputation of being a little bit sketchy and to be fair if there was a zombie apocalypse whilst we were up there, we may have been able to out live it, so who am i to argue….
After rigging myself up with an AFO on my left leg and two walking poles, we set off to attack the 7kms to the top. Now my previous longest walk was about a mile on tarmac, and certainly not all uphill, so this really was unchartered waters. The first km was a steep climb through woodland. The reds and oranges of autumn overhead were a dangerous distraction from the fallen branches and scattered rocks trying to catch me out below. It didn’t take me long to realise that id really thrown myself in to the deep end…. I have to really tense my core as hard as I can every step in order to pick my left leg up high enough to clear the ground. Its achievable for a few steps but doesn’t take long before it takes its toll. After about half an hour of graft the task was starting to seem more and more insurmountable…..
Thankfully right on queue I peered up to meet the gaze of a walker heading down in the other direction. He looked me up an down and said.. ‘you’ll struggle up there mate’. Happy days, that’s all I needed, there was no way I wasn’t finishing this now.
Three and a half hours, a few falls, and a lot of coffee later we hit the top. I would be lying if I said it was the perfect assent, it was tough, really tough, but my god it was worth it. I had proven to myself that even though I didn’t have the physical capabilities of before, there was nothing wrong my head. I was still the same stubborn bastard that had romped up there in just over an hour eighteen months ago.
We weren’t sure what the physical effects would be, but thankfully I have experienced relatively few repercussions in terms of tone, spasms etc. In fact, this week I have actually felt great physically. It may be because I had a complete rest on Sunday and a relatively low key day Monday, but I think its more to do with the fact I have achieved something. I challenged myself and won. I have no doubt that the mind and body are linked. Every now and again you have to test yourself. You will be surprised what you can achieve with a bit of determination.
P.s. Thanks to you lot who came with me. Especially big Wyn for catching me a couple of times and safeguarding us against a surprise famine. Oh and Charlie is putting together a little video which I will share later this week.
To view video of the walk please see instagram or facebook: edjackson8