The day started well. I had a substantial breakfast, the weather forecast was good and I had found a much better route to take, by following the Cross Border Drove Road.
I left Peebles at 8.30 and climbed up from the valley floor over a ridge before descending and climbing another hill.
By this time despite the forecast it had started to rain. I stopped around 10.00 as my lower abdomen was painful with what I took to be trapped wind. I took some tablets but they had no real effect. The rest of the day was not very pleasant and it was with great relief when I arrived at The Gordon Arms at 3.30. I went straight to my room, dumped all the wet kit and jumped into the shower. It was then that I discovered that I had a lump in my abdomen, near where I had had a hernia a few years ago. To cut a long saga short, I ended up being taken to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, just before midnight, where they confirmed that it was a hernia which needed treatment. When the registrar arrived from theatre, he managed to reduce it, and I was admitted. He tried to get me on the list for the following day, but this proved impossible. After X-rays and blood tests, they decided yesterday that I could return to Wantage and get things sorted out there. Alan kindly came and picked me up and I will be returning to Wantage tomorrow.
I cannot overstate the kindness and concern shown by all the staff at The Gordon Arms at West Linton. The owner, Seonaid Mann, took me first to Bonnyrigg and then on to Edinburgh Infirmary. She also very kindly picked me up yesterday ,and could not have been more helpful. I do not know how I would have managed without her assistance. The nurses and doctors at Edinburgh Infirmary were also very attentive and kind.
I think that I knew from the moment that I saw the hernia that my trip was over. The doctors all confirmed that it would not be possible to continue. This is obviously very disappointing, but I am glad that there was no uncertainty about what has to happen. The walk is over for 2018.
I will need to decide whether I can complete the trip next year. Whatever happens it would need to be a different ending. I will now not risk carrying a rucksack with camping gear – and without camping gear, I cannot go up the Cape Wrath Trail. Anyway that is for the future. For now I just need to get home and sort things out with the doctors.