I stopped walking my Lands End to John O'Groats adventure just south of Byrness, Northumberland in early August 2022. Having been brought home by our lovely friends the Tryons, I had an MRI that showed all sorts of trouble in my right knee which looked quite dramatic, but the main problem was in fact a less glamorous ailment. Tendonitis is, as my lovely physio Sarah Gerrie told me, a 'heart sink' issue. It is very slow to recover, especially when one is hovering over 60. But with dedicated help from her and steady work from me, my right leg is now pretty much back to normal. Sarah gave me the go ahead to start training again in January, and so the winter and spring were spent trudging with my back pack over increasing distances, always checking in with Sarah every few weeks to be sure that things were progressing as they should. I am very keen to finish the walk, but I'm also keen to not damage myself.
And now I'm a week away from starting back where I finished. Last night I kept myself up looking at my route plans, our house is cluttered with important piles of clothes and equipment, I've started saying goodbye again. People have asked how I'm feeling about returning, and I would say that it is a mixture of huge excitement, because I know what it's like from last year, coupled with some anxiety, because I know what it's like from last year. But the excitement is currently vastly exceeding the anxiety.
I am going to follow a slightly amended route initially, to give me a chance to do shorter mileage in the first days, and David will be with me for the first week, which also spares me carrying the whole rucksack. This is not about punishing myself, if there's a chance to make it easier I'll take it!
I'm looking forward to getting my boots out on the trails again, and to be writing this blog. Last summer, when having to stop so abruptly was so hard, I remember feeling that what I was meant to do was walk and then write about walking. It can't wait to see if it still feels like that next week.