I was somewhat dazed as I arrived down at the scout hut, not really knowing what to expect and frankly needing a little help. After attempting to clean my shoes and waterproof trousers in the water tub I went inside and took off my shoes, and waterproof trousers and left my poles in a heap and followed the kind man through who was carrying my drop-bag. There was no way I could carry it myself. I went into the bathroom to change and clean myself up after informing the CP staff that I needed to see the medics. I said I would eat first. I took my time changing my tops and changed out of my first pair of long waterproof socks which had served me well so far. Apart from being sore from the pounding they didn't feel like I'd done too much other damage to them. Here I made my only mistake of the race - I should have swapped to my second pair of long waterproof socks but for some inexplicable reason I switched to the short ones and didn't even put the long ones into my backpack. I was going to pay for that later.
After I repacked my bag, got myself dresses and repacked my drop-bag I headed for some food. This was where I met my Hebden angel Olivia. She was a complete blessing, getting me some food, checking on my drop-bag, making sure the medics knew I was on my way, making me a cup of tea, trying to get me to eat more food and then sending me up to the medics.
The Exile Medics were brilliant with me, assessing my shoulder to make sure I didn't have any broken bones and had a quick look at my feet, finding a massive black bruise on my right achilles. Then I got a massage from the lovely lady from the sports massage company (that I just cannot remember the name of, maybe North Lakes or something - she was from Penrith). She massaged both legs focusing on releasing my calf (and try and stop my achilles tendon from destroying my race) and worked on my shoulder. Once she was finished, I went back to the medics and I had a couple of tiny blisters burst, webbing and tape put on. My emotions almost got the better of me when the doctor advised me that the best thing for my shoulder was to rest it, i.e. pull out of the race and o to A&E for a precautionary x-ray. I was utterly exhausted and felt beaten. They advised a short sleep at the very least. I hadn't planned on sleeping here. But considering I had had between 2 and 4 hours sleep every night for the previous week since my daughter's surgery, I knew it was the only thing to do at that point. The lovely Olivia brought all my things upstairs that I would need and I somehow managed to climb onto a top bunk using a stool in a room full of snoring men. I set the alarm on my phone for 30 minutes, tucked it inside my buff so it was right beside my ear and tried to fall asleep.
Two whole seconds later my alarm went off and my mind was made up. I wasn't giving up this easy. So I crept out of the room of cosy and comfortable snoring men and started sorting myself out to head back onto the trail. I got some more help with my bags and headed back to the dining room for more food. Only an hour and a half since the chicken and rice, I wasn't particularly hungry but forced down a bowl of porridge as I knew I needed fuel - there was still 65 miles to cover. Oliva sorted me out with tea as well and refilled my bottles for me. She was an angel - just the right amount of sympathy and 'kick-up-the-bum' I needed. I was so grateful for her help I gave her massive hug, was guided outside by another volunteer and was guided back to the start of the path up the mud luge. I left the checkpoint at 5:40am, 3.5 hours after arriving.
I made my way back up the hill. It was easier than coming down - less chance of slipping and falling on my backside. But just as I was approaching the top of the path, I heard a shout from behind. Turning I saw the volunteer who had guided me out of the scout hut. He shouted to me asking if I was Vicky and if I was ok? I said, yeah, I was as well as could be expected. It turns out that when I had hugged Olivia we had accidently set off my tracker SOS so my wee alarm was going off at race HQ and the poor guy had been sent to chase me down and check I was ok!! Oops. Luckily I was allowed to continue.
I tramped my way back up the road. The night air was cold. There was a strong breeze. It certainly felt colder than when I had gone into the checkpoint. Soon I was reaching the turning back onto the Pennine Way.