It was obvious by now that I couldn’t continue until my leg was better. Because I’m not a sporty person, I have no experience whatsoever of sports injuries, so I consulted online with friends who are into running and cycling. Their very sensible advice was to see a physio, which I duly did – the lovely Sean at the Osborne Clinic in Newcastle, who diagnosed ‘tibial stress syndrome’ and warned that continuing would result in a stress fracture. On his recommendation I decided to stop walking altogether for a week, in the hope that if I rested up I would be able to restart walking without doing any permanent damage.
After nearly three months we had all had enough of caravanning, so we rented a small cottage in Rumbling Bridge, near Kinross in Scotland. This was a fantastic idea – it felt unbelievably luxurious to be in a real bed, with separate rooms, and the kids were touchingly excited about having a bath after several months of much-hated showers.
Although I was resting, we still managed to do a lot during the week – a birthday lunch in Edinburgh, Stirling Castle, the RRS Discovery and the Science Centre in Dundee, and Doune Castle (the setting for some scenes in Monty Python’s Holy Grail). Without the daily pounding of 20-mile walks, and with regular applications of heat (to aid circulation), my leg rapidly improved, and after a successful 3-mile test walk I decided to restart walking the following week. We headed back south towards Hadrian’s Wall, fingers crossed.