MANAGING DISABILITY AND THE PHYSICAL DEMANDS OF THE SCOTTISH MOUNTAINS

Since I began writing my Disability Travel and Sports Blog over a year ago, my motivation to go out and have fun has gone through the roof. One of the things that has really come back for me, is my motivation to go hillwalking in the Scottish Mountains. Having cerebral palsy has of course made it more challenging. Although recently I discovered that my love for the mountains is as strong as ever. Unfortunately, I have run into a few barriers in this area. I find it very physically demanding and as a result experience excruciating pain in my joints. Whether the joy of the experience outweighs the discomfort is something I have yet to answer.

 

In the Past

I’ve always loved the outdoors and being in the hills. I was taken regularly into the countryside by my parents when I was young and I continued my fun in the outdoors with the local Scout Troop. When I got to university I joined the hillwalking society and started climbing Munros. I quickly made friends with others in the club who were a bit more patient and happy to proceed at my pace. We would regularly leave in the early hours of the morning to go and climb a particular mountain.

I became a post graduate student in Manchester where my hill walking career seemed to grind to a halt. I walked a little in the Peak District but my studies and career soon took over. When I retured to Edinburgh in the late 1990’s I joined a local club. However, I didn’t persevere for a number of reasons and I assumed that this was the end of my walking career.

20 years on

Recently I have taken the opportunity to go hill walking again and I have regained my passion for the wonderful mountains. Among other activities I have,

  • Joined ‘Walk Highland’, a fantastic Hillwalking community
  • Been on a ‘Walk Highland’ weekend
  • Been walking with friends in Fife and the Pentland Hills
  • Climbed a Munro in the Cairngorms

Although I enjoying being in the hills very much, there always seems to be a cost to pay. Each time I go walking I usually end up in excruciating pain. Much as I love being in the mountains I have to ask myself if it’s worth it. I find it very frustrating indeed for the following reasons:

  • I used to be able to do it, why can’t I now?
  • It wipes me out for a few days afterwards
  • The pain is too much and more than I am able to tolerate
  • I find it mentally draining

Things came to a head recently when I took on more than I could handle. Experiencing so much pain and being at least another 2 hours from the car, I called for help. The Breamar Mountain Rescue sent out a Landrover and picked me up  in Glen Callater. This is not a scenario I ever want to repeat. The physical and mental affects have a long impact and,  I can’t disregard them.

Onward and Up the Mountains

I would like to work with a therapist to get to the source of my joint pain. Regular physiotherapy might really help. I am aware that I could go through my GP and get referred to the NHS but there are two problems with that. First, I’d wait a very long time to be seen and secondly it wouldn’t be a long term thing. After a couple of visits I’d be discharged and back to square one.

If anyone knows of a physiotherapist in or around Edinburgh who may be prepared to help me then please get in touch. Thank You.

One Response to MANAGING DISABILITY AND THE PHYSICAL DEMANDS OF THE SCOTTISH MOUNTAINS

  1. Rose Hakin says:

    Wishing you success in your search. A sports injury clinic might be the answer and the one I went to in Newcastle wasn’t very expensive

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