VIDEO: Lancaster dad climbs down Clougha Pike with broken ankle
Dad-of-two Andy Makin made his own way more than 1,300ft down Clougha Pike after breaking his ankle at the top of the hill.
Andy, 40, snapped a bone in his right ankle after stumbling while taking a photo at the peak of Clougha on Saturday morning.
However, he said he felt he couldn’t justify the cost of calling out the air ambulance to rescue him – and so managed to get himself down the 1,355ft (413m) high hill before driving home.
IT account manager Andy said he talked and sang out loud to keep his spirits up as he stumbled down the fell.
Andy, who lives in Lancaster with his wife Kate and their two daughters Minnie and Amber, felt sure his ankle was broken after hearing a loud crack as he fell.
He had planned his early morning walk after admiring Clougha in the sunshine as he took Minnie to Quernmore School.
“It always looks beautiful,” he said. “I woke up at 4am on Saturday to get up to the fell and have a walk.
“When I got to the top at about 6am I stopped to take a photo of the view, it looked so lovely.
“I was standing still and there must have been a rock next to my foot, because as I turned to my side I just stumbled and went off the edge of some rocks.
“My left foot landed on a rock and my right foot went a bit further down. I heard a crack as I fell; I didn’t know if I’d broken it but I knew I had done something. It felt like nothing I had felt before but I was able to move around.
“It was the crack that made me think I had broken it.
“My phone had gone flying as I fell, but luckily I found it and it wasn’t broken.
“I had a bit of a panic about what to do, but then I thought that if I rang the emergency services they would send a helicopter and I thought I could probably get myself down instead.
“My mum used the air ambulance to get down from Rivington Pike a few years ago after she broke her leg, and I know they cost so much money and they’re only a charity and I just couldn’t justify asking for it.
“I just decided to get on with it; I could see the school in the distance and it looked miles away but I just needed to find a direct way to get down.
“I mostly hobbled and shuffled along in some places, and I had a couple of falls on the way. At one point I lost the track and had to go across barren heather and a little stream until I found the path again.
“The pain was horrific if I put my foot down for too long.
“I was trying to occupy my mind as much as I could. I was talking to myself and singing about what I had done, to keep the adrenaline going.
“It was almost funny really.”
“I thought about ringing Kate but the kids had been ill in the night so I didn’t want to disturb them or worry her, so I waited until I got near the bottom to call her.”
It took Andy more than two hours to get back down the fell.
Incredibly, he then drove himself slowly home before taking a taxi to the Royal Lancaster Infirmary.
There, x-rays showed he had snapped the medial malleolus in his right ankle, and was told he would have to remain in hospital for surgery.
On Monday Andy underwent a short operation, during which two 4.5cm screws were inserted into his ankle.
He is now in plaster for around six weeks.
“They were all really good at the hospital,” he said. “I couldn’t rate them higher.
“They said it was such a clean break that I hadn’t made it any worse.
“All I had done was make it more painful.
“They were pretty surprised at the hospital that I had managed to get myself down.
“Looking back on it now it was quite an adventure. I think it’s just the way I am.
“Everybody is capable of so much more than we know, but I think it just happened so quickly that I couldn’t let the panic set in.
“The only real moment of panic I had was when I couldn’t find my phone.”