Those amongst our congregation who visit other places in the blogosphere will have no doubt learned the reasons why this organ has been unusually quiet of late: I took part in a very uneven contest with a barbed wire fence on the Peebles to Moffatt re-match stroll some three weeks ago, resulting in visits to two major hospitals in the north of England and another in the flatlands of East Angular. Even now, I am still bandaged up and typing is pretty awkward.
Those with long memories (I suppose that won’t include you, of advancing age) will recall that four of us were repelled by the Southern Uplands back in April of this year, facing knee and sometimes waist deep snow in pretty poor conditions. So, the Pieman organised a rematch; this time with an appropriately large assault party of nine intrepid souls. He obviously thought that the expedition would be more successful this time around, with the addition of far ‘Arder Members.
This time around we actually left the pub in Peebles at a reasonable hour and, joined by his Holiness the Incredibly Irreverend Dave, we set off in search of a place to flip up the tents, somewhere close to the target.
Amazingly, we actually found a pretty good place to stay quite close to the target. Others have told the story jolly well, so I won’t bang on about it. Here are a few pictures though from the second day:
The second day’s walking was toughish but the weather was kind to us and we made the Megget Stone to camp, quite tired. We managed a little party fuelled by the Pieman’s genius of having left a cache of supplies. Splendid Chap.
The third day was quite hard work (well, in truth all walking in hilly places is quite hard work for a chap who lives on the edge of the Fens…) but this time in lots of clouds. We lunched at the appropriately named Rotten Bottom, a slough of a joint that ensured wet tootsies for the remainder of the day.
The next two pictures are from the third day. The first is just after we had dropped out of the clouds for the first time quite near the end of the day – glimpsing our destination, Moffatt down below us. But be warned, the following picture is not for the faint-hearted – it’s a picture of my left ring finger taken in the Casualty Department in Carlisle Hospital.
Eighteen stitches under general anaesthetic at Newcastle RVI left me a trifle sore, but amazingly the prognosis is quite good – there was no significant damage to the tendons or nerves. The stitches are now out but I am still swathed in bandage.
So what is there to be learned from this tangle with a barbed wire fence?
For years I have always carried a pretty comprehensive First Aid kit and have only used it in anger on other walkers. For the first time in forty years of carrying the thing at last I have used it on myself! I had everything I needed to sort it out – melonin dressing, crepe bandage and lots and lots of tear-able sticky plaster on a roll to hold it all together. There were also steri-strips, but in this case they would not have been up to the job; I could see the bones in my finger.
Interestingly, it was not incredibly painful – but it was a bit “stingy”. Shirl did a magnificent job putting it all together so all the loose hanging bits of flesh stayed together and hardly any needed to be cut away by the hand surgeon at Newcastle. He was very complimentary about Shirl’s skill in keeping it all together and in such a fine state.
I have seen loads and loads of walkers’ first aid kits over the years that would have been woefully inadequate in this instance.
I would urge everyone reading this right now to have a cold hard look at their kits and ask themselves if it worth the risk just to lighten their load by a few paltry ounces. Trust me. It isn’t worth it.
Oh – and take wire cutters with you as well…
Not nice… Rebuild those First Aid Kits, Right Now!