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Dovedale. Low level walk along a lovely river valley. Some rough bits, some muddy bits, the usual steps designed by a bloke, and therefore far too high. Seven miles there and back, or so the NT guide tells me. Coming down Snowdon was about 4. Tired by the end, but only using one stick, not two poles, and nowhere near the "cannot stand without help" level of fatigue I reached then.

AS a bird-watching day, by the way, it was characterised by the duck food for sale in the little shop, and the number of children using it in an enthusiastic manner.

We worked out some interesting things on that walk. It looks as if when I described my recovery as "I need to learn to walk again", I was more right than I knew, and I'm still learning. One thing I hadn't done, because there's been no reason to do it, is to take a stride so long that I no longer have either foot under my centre of gravity. I had to do this to get over those stepping stones (see pics below under the cut), and balanced over a rapidly flowing river wasn't the best time to realise that I wasn't sure I could do it and was pretty scared to try. Also, the idea of going down rough ground or steps by "keep moving", rather than one step to a stable position, then another step to a stable position is another thing I haven't done for years, and again, I'm not sure I can. I can't rely on either leg to take my weight reliably, either may decide to give way under me for no apparent reason (oh, the joys of a lymph system that doesn't, and therefore muscles that don't either), so the idea of what's effectively a fall forwards where the next leg has to get forwards quick and be there to take my weight as the next one slides off the wet rock it's on - no. Not a good idea. Adding a stick that I can rely on (as long as it doesn't slip too) helps, but that means finding somewhere that'll support that...

Also, my "boots" aren't up to the job. The side-wall's too soft, and when I'm on a sideways slope, it bends and my foot ends up well outside the sole of the boot. Not enough ankle support, either, and not good enough grip on wet rock. We'd got these things back when I was having real problems with swollen feet and ankles, and couldn't get into real boots. I think I'll have to try again with my proper ones - my feet are a lot more foot-shaped these days.

Photos under the cut, and more over on Flickr in the "Dovedale" set.

Right at the start, there is a little stone hut where the National Trust sell things. Or so it seems... we'd just seen it being towed up the road by a tractor, so we knew better.
NT info hut on wheels

Then there's the weir

Weir at start

and a bit further on, the stepping stones
Stepping stones

An old tree trunk by the side of the path with coins embedded in it
Coin tree

Ilam Rock is a very big rock indeed

Ilam Rock
and from the bridge across the river to it, you can see exotic birdlife
Dabbling ducks

Dave then decided he needed a photo of the little cave over there, but his camera wasn't up to the job, despite having a Bear to supervise.
Ilam rock cave

The river Dove itself was very scenic
River Dove (1)

and there were flowers, some of which I could identify, and this one that I couldn't. Dave thinks it's a thistle. I think not.
Flower macro
The walk ends at a rather lovely packhorse bridge into Milldale
Vaitors bridge Milldale
where there is also a look, a shelter from the rain (important today!) and a tiny coffee shop (takeaway only).


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September 2017


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