Tuesday 13 July 2010

Ouch ouch ouch

Time flies when you’re having trouble standing upright.

That’s what they say, ‘they’ being me.

The last seven days seem like 100 and have me coming over quite Rip van Winkel with the realisation that only one week has gone by.

To recap the Hadrian’s walk in as much detail as anyone is really interested in, but would be afraid to admit, could be done as follows; there was walking, a lot of it, and there was pain, a lot of it.

Day 1 passed with a bit of a blur and a haze of false security, leaving me to set out on day 2 thinking this was a piece of piss. 10 and a half hours walking in the sweltering heat, 2 naps, and one serious hallucination about a talking bottle of cider later, I arrived last back at the bunk barn to find the reward for my stupidity, lack of a sense of direction, and general shocking state of fitness, was a place to sleep on the floor.

Day 3 arrived with me cursing the fact I hadn’t been killed in my sleep by a sweat-craving poisonous rat, crushed by a falling beam, or radiated to death by one of the 215 iPhones that were recharging by my head. As if to yank me back from the depths of despair, the Gods of walking took us through some of the most stunning countryside you could ever see. It was worth the risk to lift my head from watching each footfall every now and again to take in a 360 view of, well, everything. Should someone pass that Robin Hood tree in the coming weeks and find a lung, that's mine, I'd like it back. By day 4 I was a man on a mission, striding over fields, leaving everyone in my stubby-legged-oversized-backpack wake, except for those faster than me, which to be fair, was everyone. The lanky fuckers.

That afternoon things went back down the toilet once again and my knee decided to go on strike. It turned its back on its normal duties of simple things like supporting half my body, and meant that day 5 was a wash out. Disappointingly, I spent the afternoon on my bed rubbing myself and moaning, and not out walking rubbing myself and moaning. Some good did come of it though; I discovered ibuprofen gel and the magic that it weaves on human lower extremities. Thanks to this wonderful invention, I set off on day 6 as stoned as an Iranian adulteress, happy to let my new best friend in a tube lead my way on the last day. Wind and rain fought against me for every one of those last 16 miles but Mother Nature is no match for copious amounts of drugs, and sometime mid afternoon I strolled over the West end point of Hadrian’s wall path.

Like most of Angelina Jolie’s conquests might reflect after their first and final night together, I might not have finished it off, but I survived.

Despite his bewildering lack of understanding what a mile is, Dan is owed a huge thanks for putting this together over the course of the last year or more. It’s hard to source a bottle of water on parts of that path, never mind accommodation and food for 35 whingers. A big thanks to his whole family, and his old walking mates who kept wasters like me going when throwing yourself sobbing into a ditch was an attractive option. Same goes to all the other walkers too, every one of whom made me chuckle just enough to make it bearable.

I look like parts of my body were dipped alternately in whitewash and purple paint, my flaking sunburn has left enough of my DNA behind to convict me of every crime from Bowness to Wallsend, I ache from the waist down, and the dried and dying blisters leave the smell of rotting flesh hang in the air, but it is all worth it to see that you lot have raised £700 plus, of the almost certainly reached £20,000 target.

Now the real world is demanding my attention again in the form of a little girl who found a new voice in my absence. She is constantly grinning like a demented monkey, has put on some good weight, likes to high five at every opportunity, and regularly throws her legs back up over her head.

I love seeing her progress but that last bit she can stop immediately.

Oh well, one step at a time.


River said...

You made it!! Oh, congratulations!!
(of course I knew all along you could do it).
Sorry about the blisters though. Healing is faster if you can soak your feet in warm salty water.
Do that while you're having cuddle time with Mango. That's if you can still hold on to her, what with her new found skill.

Veronica Foale said...

Annnd welcome back properly.

Jane G said...

Congrats and well done!

Dan said...

If anything I underestimated the distances. You're just a bunch of wimps is all.

Thanks for coming along Martin, your presence was a boon for everyone.

Catherine said...

That's right Dan if anything you *did* underestimate the distances :D (I jest, we had the maps to work it out for ourselves)

As for you Martin, I had to read that out loud to Richard, giggling. I actually have been inspired to start running again - just as soon as the pain in my hip, knee and back dissapates. And you have my undying respect for finishing despite the agony. That was one helluva backpack.

Kim (frogpondsrock) said...

Welcome home Martin. Welcome home. Well done You!

Insomniac Mummy said...

Miss you man, miss you!

Us short arses had to take at least 3 times as many steps as those aforementioned 'lanky fuckers'. We made it though, all the same!


Liz said...

I will never forgive you for tweeting a photo of your blisters that I unthinkingly clicked through to see.

I may never eat again.

Jo said...

Well done!

Something tells me you didn't work up to this at all, did you?

Marylin said...

Well!! Done!! You!!!!!!

Hockeymandad said...

Nice job sir. Now get back to work!

Ian Newbold said...

Were you the little Irish fella?

In which case it was nice to have walked passed you ;-)

Ms. Moon said...

This just makes me love you all the more. Is that okay?

WhatAboutNovember said...


Saw the new pics of your gorgeous girl on facebook. I still don't know how you stand it. She's precious. :)

Oli said...

It was a pleasure to meet you, and if I'm taking one thing away from the walk, it was your comment in front of the mirror on the third morning, "My God I'm a peculiar colour".

You may be pleased to know that my legs have finally started complaining, and that my office now reeks of deep heat.

AnnB said...

Well done - nice hot bath in Epsom Salts should see you right... well that and industrial quantities of alcohol!

PlayPennies said...

Well done on the £700... and the £20k is excellent!

AnnD said...

Congrats on an INCREDIBLE accomplishment! We are so proud of you!!

I would have been crying! I'm such a wus!

Ed said...

Of course you're knee gave out -- you were carrying a backpack as big as you are. Wait, that's really not that significantly large is it?

Heather said...

Well done.

My favorite aspect of finishing physical feats such as this is to eat and drink with impunity for a few days. Enjoy!

Ro said...

Congrats and well done!!!
Well done on surviving, of course :P
Ibuprofen gel?
Always knew you were a cheap tart :P

Kelley @ magnetoboldtoo said...

regularly throws her legs back up over her head.

Awwwww, Daddy's little pole dancer.

I will get that printed on a shirt for you.

Glad you survived.

Martin said...

@River - She is very wriggly!

@Veronica - Thank you

@Jane G - CHeers Jane

@Dan - Yes, every walk needs a short fat bloke to laugh at

@Catherine - Heh, yourself and Richard did a great job of helping people along, when ye could ave easily finished with ease.

@Kim (frogpondsrock) - Thanks for all the support Kim, great job.

@Insomniac Mummy - I'd like to know how many steps we took versus some of the longer legs on the walk for sure! You did fantastic.#

@womb for improvement - lovely on a cracker!

@Jo - Heh, what gave it away!

@Marylin - Cheers

@Hockeymandad - 3 weeks with my feet up!

@Sócrates Newbold - feckin Bambi

@Ms. Moon - No objections here!

@WhatAboutNovember - She is, no doubt!

@Oli - likewise Sir, and well done for being a great sport and helping the stragglers out.

@AnnB - I fancy a beer I must say

@PlayPennies - yes it is pretty good!

@AnnD - cheers!

@Ed - Behave yourself. Great to meet you Ed, a legend!

@Heather - Oh I did that along the way!

@Ro - It's my new best friend

@Kelley - No you're not, bitch.

Susanica said...

Do you feel self actualized? Maslow would like to know ;-)

Barbara said...

Bloody well done you.

Jenni said...

Hey, way to go!

steph said...


More pictures of Mango, pretty PLEASE!

btw WELL DONE! on the walk

darcie said...


You make the rest of us look like real slackers here ya know.

So, you gonna do this again next year?

Jo Beaufoix said...

Ahhhh Martin, you're a star. I haven't even been able to write a post yet I've been so knackered. 2 toenails down and a clicky knee but I'd do it again...

(NB Sometimes I lie).

Wicked to meet you. Hope we'll meet again and hope you're getting some cuddles in with your two ladies. I'm getting huowge cuddles from mine. x

Martin said...

@Susanica - I feel knackered, if that helps him.

@Barbara - heh.

@Jenni - Thanks.

@steph - look up !

@darcie - excuse me, someone's at the door....

@Jo Beaufoix - Plenty of cuddles. It was indeed a pleasure to meet the befamed Ms Beaufoix. (I'd do it too)