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Author: Barbara Smith
Title: Leader of the Kingston Fortnight

Why dont you get it done?

For many years, as the arthritic limp became more pronounced and the mobility struggles more obvious, I gritted my teeth and made a polite reply.

'Done' indeed. In 1971 I discovered Kingston and Nature Cure; I began to find out more about myself and my health - and to develop, alongside greater faith in the body's power of recovery, a fear of medical intervention. Arthritis manifested itself about 1980. For twenty years I saw no need of such intervention. The pain seemed much less than that suffered by other folk. I would continue to walk the hills, though not so far or so fast. Interestingly I found that I could walk through the pain barrier: if towards the end of a walk, the hip declared that it had had enough, walking on meant that the pain would soon recede and I could finish the walk in reasonable comfort.

Then came the time when, after such a walk, I woke up in the night scarcely able to move. Contemplating much reduced ability, I remembered Dr Hay's suggested way of eating, separating protein and acid fruit on the one hand, from starch on the other. Eating a Nature Cure diet in this way improved things dramatically and gave me several more years of hill walking.

From 1987 onwards after the Kingston Clinic in Edinburgh closed, the Kingston Fortnights ( twice a year at Boat of Garten) afforded contact with like minded people and of course with Alec Milne, Sheila Wallace and Jean Lapsley who all worked themselves to exhaustion on my limbs. But the environment heals too; there is the peace of the path by the river Spey, ways through woods and over moors, and - for me the highlight, the steep climb of Meall a'Bhuachaille ( the hill of the Shepherd ), with its views of the Cairngorm and the lochan gleaming below. That climb became a symbol of my ability to move, to live, rather than to just exist.

But in 2000, I became aware of the risk of a fall and probable break, as the hip began suddenly to let me down. The great gift of Nature Cure is the feeling that we are in charge of our own health; we may turn on occasion and reluctantly to a doctor, but ultimately the decisions are ours.

So I had a replacement, rejoicing in the surgeon's comment......
We've given it for you to USE.

I have gratefully continued to walk and to enjoy - and the Nature Cure learning curve continues.

Barbara Smith was a Co-Founder of the 'Kingston Fortnights', Boat Of Garten.