This photograph of me was taken in 2016, on an unsupported, 8 day trip in Arctic Sweden. It has something about it that I really like.
But the woman in that photo no longer exists. Since January of this year, plantar fasciitis in my left foot, has steadily erased both my fitness and confidence.
Sure, I can still manage easy day walks and short backpacking trips and I do know that things could be a lot worse, but nevertheless I currently feel my Outdoor Future and all its associated dreams, has gone. I can see no end to this.
Sports Physios don’t come cheap either. And my faith in mine has gone. I religiously do the exercises – nothing changes. I’m encouraged to keep on with anything I want to do, after all walking is physio in itself, but still nothing changes. I’ve even tried doing very little for a few weeks – nothing changes.
I discuss the Challenge with my physio. He’s definitely of the opinion I should still go for it.
‘It’s only pain,’ he says ‘it’s bound to ache, but your fascia isn’t suddenly going to fly off your foot or anything. Do it, have fun!’
And so I travel on up to Oban. I have a high pain threshold anyway, I’m stubborn, have the ability to generally put on a smiley face through stuff and armed with plenty of ibuprofen I’ll be fine.
But after the first couple of hours on the first day, the pain was excruciating. Somehow, I manage to walk 18 miles to the first night’s stop, but I suspect this is largely due to the company of my good friend Rich Flint who, coming upon me in the early afternoon and realising how much pain I was in, changed his plans so that he could walk with me and keep me company for the rest of the day. He’s a star.
Well, maybe I could have gone on, maybe I could have even completed it, but in the middle of that first night I had to admit to myself that that amount of pain every day for 14 days, was just too much for me to put up with.
I’m gutted and not sure where to go from now. I’ve lost all vision of my future in the outdoors.