Footsteps

20130602-203614.jpg As can be surmised from my various profile images
across different accounts, I like walking and in particular up (and
down) hills. Mid Wales would be my preferred location. This is not
a pastime I have a great deal of time for at present – the
influence of such things as a young family can reduce the
opportunity to go and get lost in Snowdonia. Although I did attempt
to persuade my nearly 12-year-old daughter to come up Scafell Pike
last week…I’m glad I wasn’t too persistent as it turned out. We
visited the Lake District over half-term this Summer. Finding
ourselves at a cottage a short drive from Wasdale, I was not going to return
south without walking England’s highest peak. Of course, as
a family of four, there were certain other priorities consisting
mostly of Beatrix Potter (Wife), throwing stones into mountain
streams (4-year-old) and finding the Lake District’s best tea shop
for Chocolate Cake (I’d say my 11-year-old but that would not be
fair as tea and cake are quite important to all of us!). Therefore,
taking my paternal responsibilities seriously, I took myself off at
5.30am last Thursday to walk Scafell Pike so that I could return in
time and not disrupt the family’s day. Leaving at that time of the
morning, starting out on the walk so early, ensured I was the only
human on the mountain at that time. That was once the 4 guys
completing the Scafell Leg of the 3 Peaks Challenge passed me as they
came down to make their way gingerly on to Snowdon. Being
therefore a) on my own b) well provisioned with Kendal Mint Cake and Soreen Malt Loaf
and c) certain of no company, the experience became far more of a
spiritual experience than I had anticipated. It lead to the
inevitable wandering of the mind, the thinking of great thoughts
and a profound insight into the meaning of it all. Those last
two are not quite true as I was too busy trying to summon the
energy to walk up the bloody thing. However, reaching the
very windy summit on the clearest day of the week did give ample
opportunity to reflect for a little while. Until I got too
cold to to have my epiphianic moment. Here, for the record, are my
idle thoughts.

  • Mountains don’t have adjustable
    settings. Its just you and it and it is
    not going to do you any favours
  • Everyone, given a reasonable level of conditioning, needs
    to experience the awesome majesty of being among very big parts of
    the natural world. It puts you in perspective
  • Everyone, given a reasonable level of geographical and
    geological knowledge, needs to experience the sense of your
    humanity when measured up against the history of our
    landscape
  • Being drawn to the mountains is
    simultaneously all about you and about you as one of many thousands
    who have been similarly inspired by landscape.
  • In the physical endeavour, you can experience the sense
    of achievement and pride while being humbled by
    the natural world that has given you such challenge and
    opportunity

That, and Kendal Mint Cake works
wonders! Now for Ben Nevis.