Sunday, 28 December 2008

To quote a wise man...

..."Just One More Thing"

As I was striding across the fells today, I was thinking about why I love being in the hills/mountains so much. "Ken, Ken, impart to us your well-considered musings", I hear you beseech. Well, if you insist...

I think primarily it is a feeling of self-reliance. So often today we are spoon fed; go here, do that, have this, watch out, don't touch that, don't touch that, cover that up, etc., etc. When you go out to high and/or remote places, as a group or as an individual (where the feeling becomes even more acute) you are responsible for yourself. Your decisions, which may be made in difficult, perhaps even hazardous, situations must be good ones. Before you even leave the door, you must consider where you are going, what equipment and clothing will that require, what will the weather do for the duration of the walk, how does that impact on the clothing and kit I require, what are the escape routes should the weather close in, what about injuries and other unforseen emergencies, and many others. Then when you start your walk, situations change, ground conditions may be different from those expected, the weather could be hotter/colder/wetter/windier than you anticipated.
Who decides what you do?
You do! You rely on your abilities and skills, abilities and skills that you have developed and honed over time. There is no "Nanny State" to tell you what to do or how to behave (although of course, in the worst-case scenario, brave men and women, volunteers, of the Mountain Rescue Service will put themselves on the line to get you out of trouble. Thank You!).
When you get it right, it feels fantastic. Knowing that whatever happens as the day unfolds, you've got it covered is a wonderful point to get to. (Of course, you then push it a little further to develop the next level skills, that's also a cool thing.)
When you have one of those days you feel like you don't want to come down, that you could walk on all week. It really makes your spirit soar.
One other reason I love being in the mountains so much is that they are awesome, beautiful, majestic, moody, menacing, enchanting and stunning places to be. That makes your spirit soar too!
There you go, some of my thoughts on mountains. In all likelihood there will be more.

Don't wait up!

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