Monday, 10 March 2014

My Tarn Hows Challenge

Last week we were in the Lake District at long last. It was third time lucky.Twice over the last few months we have packed and been ready to go, then weather forecasts of gales have stopped us in our tracks. It is already a long journey there and as I'm still recovering from my transplant we didn't think it very sensible to be travelling in gale force winds and heavy rain. 

I have been carrying a dream of being able to walk around Tarn Hows once more since I have had my transplant. Walking in the Lake District was something I had done all my life up to the last four years. I had already come to terms and accepted that it was something I would never be able to do again and then came the chance of transplant and hope. 

As soon as I began to recover and the physios got me up and moving I began to realise that the possibility of going for a walk again was very real. The dream of doing this and walking once again in the Lake District gave me the motivation to try really hard with my physio, even on days when I didn't really want to  do it, as I knew my dream wouldn't ever come true if I didn't. I kept thinking of the beautiful walk that trails all around the scenic Tarn Hows and had it firmly fixed in my mind that that was the walk I was aiming for as soon as I felt fit enough. 

So I focused all my efforts to build my fitness up and trying to build up my strength again with Tarn Hows and it's stunning walk always in my mind and motivating me on. 

The forecast was rain for most of the week, but there was no way that was going to put me off. It was a very bleak, cold and dismal looking day, but I was well prepared with all the usual gear. I even had my waterproof 'over' trousers and a waterproof over my coat, so I could stay warm and dry. I didn't want catching out with getting too wet or cold half way round. I'm fiercely protective of my new heart and lungs - especially my delicate new lungs. 

I have built up my walking to two or three kilometres now and use a pedometer to measure what I've managed. The walk around Tarn Hows is about three kilometres, but there are also a few steep gradients, which make it a little more difficult to what I've been practising. 

Here I am all set and prepared! Laden down in waterproofs, but I'm confident I can do it. 

There are lovely views even in the dismal rain and cloud. 

There was a bit of a wind blowing up and the trees were having a good old creak. I wasn't sure whether some were that safe after all the gales we have had in winter. It did cross my mind more than once, that I've been through all that illness and then a huge transplant operation and now I'm going to get knocked down by a tree! 

You see what I mean? There was lots of evidence of all the storms we have had. 

Half way round and time for a five minute stop and to take in the view down the tarn. 

Up the hill and through the woods, working our way round we go! 

Still a way to go, but on the homeward stretch back now! 

Back to base, I've done it! Dream achieved! 

I had believed I would never be able to do this again over the last few years and here I am home and dry - yes dry, the rain held off, it was that blowy! The only thing that was missing was the sunshine - it was always blue sky, fluffy clouds and sun in my dreams! 

It is a very strange and surreal feeling to find yourself doing things you believed you would never do again, it is a feeling I just can't get used to or really quite believe. I can't help but wonder if this feeling of amazement will ever cease to go away, I'm not sure I want it to either: while I have this feeling I know I appreciate every minute of the new life I have and every step I take! 

Completing my walk and my dream on this day was simply in honour of my donor, who has given me the wonderful chance of having my life back again. 


  1. Congratulations, what great achievement, and in such a relatively short space of time after your transplant. Makes me think twice about moaning that I have to get up this morning to take the dog for a long walk!
    I'm sure your donor's family would be very proud to see you doing so well
    Nicole, VIrginia USA.