Knee Pain – again

Friday 12 May 2017. It rained here in Harlech this morning but it stopped by early afternoon and is now incredibly humid. I’ve decided to take 4 days off from walking and to be a little more proactive in sorting out the knee pain which is threatening to ruin my summer.

I’ve booked an appointment with my GP for 1st June but don’t hold out much hope that he can sort the problem within the confines of the NHS. The 3 sessions of massage that I had with Ramsey Physio helped with my sciatic pain but hasn’t really done anything for my knee. So, in desperation, I’ve emailed Fit Again Sports Therapy in Cambridge to book a session with them including an ultrasound scan. I suspect that I have some cartilage/soft tissue damage, possibly runner’s knee, (don’t laugh) and this may shed some light. Their website suggests that they are well qualified and should be able to recommend/deliver appropriate treatment. Fingers crossed.

Llanbedr

Thursday 11 May 2017. I was looking for another easy walk today so I made the short drive along the coast to the village of Llanbedr. My 3.5 mile route with a total ascent of just over 600ft took me through areas of woodland, consequently photo opportunities were limited. I had downloaded a few waymarks to guide me and was glad of my GPS and digital mapping to help me find my way.

The walk had been uneventful until I came across a young lamb lent against a wall with its back legs hooked up in some wire. It struggled while I freed it but didn’t run away, giving me the impression that it wasn’t in the best of health. There is never a farmer to be seen when you need one and I couldn’thelp much more.

I’d been thinking about getting my hair cut and when I got back to Llanbedr I was surprised to find a hairdresser/barber in such a small place. They didn’t have any customers so I was able to sit down straight away in the barber’s chair. Chatting with Sophie, who runs the place, I discovered that she had won Britain’s best shave for Wales in 2017 and will be competing in the national competition at the NEC in a couple of weeks. My haircut was excellent value at only £7 and she finished by shaving the back of my neck with a cut-throat razor. It was an old-fashioned genuine men’s haircut, something that I haven’t had for many a year. Please take time to read about her here.

The weather forecast for the weekend could best be described as mixed so I took my awning down while it was dry and spent some time doing laundry using the caravan site facilities. I do lead an exciting life!

My knee isn’t getting any better, or worse, so a few days rest won’t do any harm before I move to Chirk next Monday.

p.s. I’ve been carrying and using my walking poles in order to take some of my considerable weight off my knee. I had them strapped to my pack today. Walking along I heard a click behind me. I could have quite easily ignored this but stopped to look behind only to find that the bottom section of one of my poles had worked loose and had fallen on the ground. Had I been walking through grass, then I might never have heard it fall. A replacement section would have cost me £14.

Llanbedr – walk route

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Criccieth

Wednesday 10 May 2017. I opted for a slightly easier walk today, just 6.7 miles with only 500ft of ascent. Starting from the seaside town of Criccieth, the only major climb of the day came as I made my way north to pick up the course of the Afon Dwyfor. It was lovely walking beside the river in the dappled sunshine of the woodland. The bluebells still providing a splash of colour.

I passed through Llanystumdwy, the birthplace of Lloyd George, on my way to follow the Wales Coastal Path back to Criccieth. There were some fluffy white clouds about today but there has been no rain for the last 9 days. I fear that this is about to change with showers forecast for later tomorrow and again on Friday.

Criccieth – walk route

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Nantgwynant & Llyn Dinas

Tuesday 9 May 2017. I thought that I’d give my knee more of a test today on a 6.7 mile walk with almost 1,700ft of ascent. I drove through Beddgelert for the third time on this holiday on the way to the start of my walk at Nantgwynant. I started my failed attempt on Yr Aran from here last week and followed a similar ascent route but this time, instead of using the tarmac farm access road, I took a lovely path through the woods. I stopped for coffee looking out towards Llyn Gwynant and watching other walkers coming up the Watkin Path. My route took me away from the crowds, such as they were, and out across the hills on the southern flanks of Yr Aran. I didn’t see another walker for the next 2 hours.

It was along this section of the route that I came across a fledgling Cuckoo being fed by two (parent) Meadow Pipits. I was surprised that the fledgling was so large and its genetic mother must have been an early arrival on these shores. Other Cuckoos were still calling in the nearby woodland. I have to say that the picture of the fledgling is one of the best that I’ve ever taken and it was a case of being lucky and being in the right place at the right time. I spent quite a while watching it beg for food from the Meadow Pipits.

The waterfall at Afon-y-cwm wasn’t very big but it fell into a sparkling crystal clear pool which, if I had been so inclined, would have provided a refreshing dip. Needless to say, I passed on the opportunity. I stopped for lunch at the NT car park/toilets at Craflwyn Hall but gave the house a miss. The last 2.5 miles of the walk was pretty much level as the path skirted the southern bank of Llyn Dinas. My knee held up well although there were a few painful twinges on the rocky part of the descent.

Nantgwynant – walk route

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Llanberis & Dinorwig

Monday 8 May 2017. I had many reasons for wanting to do this walk today. Foremost was a desire to test my knee and to find out how it stood up to the hills in Snowdonia. Second was to drive on the Llanberis pass through the hamlet of Nant Peris where I got a speeding ticket for doing 35mph in a 30mph the last time that I was in the area. Third was to check out a new caravan site in Llanberis and finally to photograph a lone tree on the edge of Llyn Padarn.

I’ve been watching Damian Waters’ YouTube videos and wanted to try to replicate his picture in the following video:

The drive through Nant Peris was uneventful. There were no fixed “safety cameras” that I could see so I must have been caught by one of the sneaky mobile cameras hiding away somewhere. The caravan site was up to the usual Morris Leisure standards so I may stop there on a future visit.

The lone tree was easy enough to find and I had a good chat with a fellow snapper about this and other interesting photographic sites in the area.

Having ticked off all of my boxes for the day, I was free to go for a walk. The woodland on the side of Llyn Padarn was perfect as it provided some welcome shade from the strong sunshine. It was a steady uphill pull to the top of the Dinorwig slate quarries from where I had great views and could even see the steam train chugging up to the top of Snowdon. The walk was just what I wanted and although it was only 3 miles, there was about 700ft of up and down. My knee held up well with only a little pain at the end of the descent but this soon faded when back on the level.

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Sunny Sunday

Sunday 7 May 2017. It is another beautifully sunny day here in Harlech and the breeze that has been blowing for most of the week has dropped making for perfect walking conditions. It is such a shame that I’m unable to take advantage of it with a period of enforced rest to let my knee recover. I did say that I might go for a train ride tomorrow but, as the weather is forecast to break in 3 or 4 days, I think that I’ll make the most of it and go for a short walk around Llanberis instead. I had a short walk of about a mile this morning down to the beach near my caravan site. The pictures record the view across Tremadog Bay to Criccieth about 6 miles away.

It seems that the weather in East Anglia isn’t quite so good being overcast, windy and cold. I unexpectedly had a call from Sue Edwards at 10:30 this morning asking if I was out walking? She wondered if I was on Karen’s walk from Walsingham? She told me that the car park was full of Pilgrims and that she couldn’t find Karen. See what happens when I’m not there to sort them out!

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Knee Issues

Saturday 6 May 2017. I guess that I can best describe myself like Ernie Wise as being the one with the short, fat, hairy legs. I never imagined that taking a knee selfie could be so difficult but this was achieved by using an App on my phone to remotely control my camera. I wouldn’t normally put pictures of any part of my anatomy on-line but it is needed (or is that kneeded?) to illustrate my point. As readers will know, I’ve been suffering from knee pain for the last couple of months but Thursday’s walk left me with a swollen knee, to boot.

My friend “Google” gives many reasons for swelling of the knee so, as I’m away from home for another 3 weeks, I thought that I’d better get it checked out and took myself off to the Minor Injuries Unit in Porthmadog at 8am this morning. I think that I already knew what they would say and the nurse recommended a few days rest, to take Ibuprofen, to alternate the application of heat and cold and to keep my knee elevated. She also suggested that I wear a supporting knee bandage which I already have thanks to a timely return from Josephine.

I have heat and cold pads at home but had to buy some from the local chemist in order to start my treatment. I don’t mind resting over the weekend as there is plenty of sport to watch on tv and I think that I’ll have another easy day on Monday with a scenic train ride down the coast to Machynlleth. Hopefully I can resume easy walking on Tuesday with no adverse effects.

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