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The following mess.. by simon3   (Show all posts)
Go bag some wicked.. by BleckCra   (Show all posts)
Peter Walker
2013-06-12 14:49:22
Rain down...
The good Capn's lovely post made me recall another instance of the mind associating music with mountains. It's a bit of an anecdote...please forgive the indulgence.

Years ago I did charity walks. Not big, organised things, but self-devised-then-soloed routes in the Scottish Highlands. (As my sister put it: 'Mad **** in the mountains? People will sponsor you!'). This tended to focus my attention on a form of hillwalking that had interested me for years; how much can you do in a single day? (I'm sensible and I hate camping, so multi-day trips were a no-no). So in June 2003 I found myself in Glen Carron at Stupid o'Clock, stepping out into the rain.

I felt under pressure at that moment with £1500 of sponsorship to honour, but I also had my own desire to go longer and tougher than I'd previously managed. 33 miles, 4000m of ascent, river crossings, scrambling...on last day of the holiday I'd booked. It had to be today. So, over the railway, over the bridge, up the Allt a'Chonais track, towards the wilderness. Rain persisted and the clouds clamped themselves to the mountains with a limpet's devotion. I was fitter than ever but conditions were making a positive attitude a tough thing to maintain.

Alone with my thoughts (not unusual in the hills when you're from the mountain wasteland of Cambridge) I let my mind wander, and allowed my internal jukebox to settle wherever it felt like settling. It chose to settle upon a Radiohead album track called 'Scatterbrain', a song of golden guitars in minor keys, pitter-pat percussion (just like the rain bouncing off my hood), and sporting a gorgeous, ghostly vocal.

It's also a song where a man goes out in a storm and gets killed by lightning. And as I forged on up the glen, its refrains repeating in my head, I started to let situational realities infect my 'you can do it' internal urgings. After four miles of steady uphill I reached the point where the stream had to be crossed; here the safety of valley would be left and commitment would be absolute. What confronted me was a seething torrent, spanned optimistically by a two strand bridge. I've always been too gangly to deal comfortably with such constructions, and (to borrow a joke) I'm not as good a swimmer as I once was thanks to evolution.

I thought of the knife-edge sections I would have to do, slippery and cloud-blinded. I imagined teetering across those gossamer steel threads, water ravenous beneath me. My internal jukebox cranked itself up to full volume.

"I'm walking out in a force ten gale,
Birds thrown around, bullets for hail...'

I realised I was doing the wrong thing.

So, Radiohead stopped me from basically committing suicide; the opposite of what most folk think their music does. What might have happened if the IJ had selected the other album that I'd had on heavy rotation that week: Fountains of Wayne's 'Welcome Interstate Managers'? Are any insights into survival situations contained within the lyrics of 'Stacy's Mom'?
A moderately diffi.. by mcrtchly   (Show all posts)
We descended a st.. by simon3   (Show all posts)
The Annalong track.. by BleckCra   (Show all posts)
...message on Cron.. by Conor74   (Show all posts)
Ahh Verty. In da g.. by BleckCra   (Show all posts)
I got up the noses.. by CaptainVertigo   (Show all posts)
ah well it was bou.. by jackill   (Show all posts)

RECENT CONTRIBUTIONS 1 2 3 .. 14 Next page >>
Summit Comment
Mothaillín: Fabulous views to the west from the summit.
hivisibility 10 hours ago.
Fine view towards Broghnabinnia and Caher from Mothillín summit.

Ott Mountain to Slieve Meelmore
Aidy 11 hours ago.
Started at the Ott/Blue Quarry car park on the Moyad Road, and took a route taking in six summits, going over Ott Mou... walk, Len: 10.9km, Climb: 730m, Area: Ott Mountain, Mourne Mountains (Ireland)

Summit Comment
Mothaillín: Summit area as seen from Crossderry.
hivisibility 10 hours ago.
Mothillín summit from Crossderry.

Summit Comment
Crossderry: Towards Knocknabreeda and Stumoa Dúloigh
hivisibility 10 hours ago.
The view towards Knocknabreeda fro Crossderry summit. Stumpa Dúloigh in the background. Knocknabreeda summit is located over to the far left of the ridge.

Glenbeigh to Galway's Bridge
GSheehy 20 hours ago.
I?m putting this one up because it was a club walk and I was thinking about the other day. There aren?t too many clu walk, Len: 40.5km, Climb: 917m, Area: Glenbeigh Horseshoe (Ireland)

Forum: General
Cable Car to the Hellfire Club - 20/10
cave-dweller 2 days ago.
Hello, There is a meeting being held in the Yellow House Pub in Rathfarnham in Dublin 14 tomorrow night at 8 pm about some proposed "redevelopments" in and around the Hellfire Club/Montpelier Hill...

Summit Comment
Crossderry: Summit looking East.
hivisibility 10 hours ago.
Summit of Crossderry with view back towards Mothillín.There are 2 similar heights at the summit area. The summit is the one nearest the Eastern Reeks.

Peak bagging in The Sperrins in autumn
peter1 a day ago.
Again, the use of a mountain bike is highly recommended for this route, if you are a solo walker. I left my bike in a... walk, Len: 16.2km, Climb: 1048m, Area: Mullaghclogha, Sperrin Mountains (Irela

Summit Comment
Stumpa Dúloigh SE Top: Fine views to the East...
hivisibility 11 hours ago.
The view to Knocknabreeda, Crossderry and Mothillín as seen from the aooroach to Stúmpa Dúloigh SE Top. Torc in the centre with Mangerton rising over to the right.

Summit Comment
Knocknabreeda: View of Carrauntoohil from the summit.
hivisibility 11 hours ago.
Carrauntoohil from Knocknabreeda summit.

Forum: General
Quad bikers in the Mournes
mcrtchly 2 weeks ago.
Whilst out in the Mournes on Sunday 2nd Oct, at about 8.30am we were shocked to see a group of half a dozen quad bikers powering up the track from the Banns Road towards Lough Shannagh (below Doan...

Slieve Foye
Onzy 6 days ago.
Sunday route over Slieve Foye and along the ridge for a bit... walk, Len: 9.9km, Climb: 439m, Area: Slieve Foye, Cooley/Gullion (Ireland) Slie...

RECENT CONTRIBUTIONS 1 2 3 .. 14 Next page >>