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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)
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Boy breaks Scottis.. by ahendroff   (Show all posts)


RECENT CONTRIBUTIONS 1 2 3 .. 23 Next page >>
Track
Quick up and down Knockakishaun
markwallace 6 hours ago.
Starts from layby opposite a house about 1km before the road crosses the bridge over the Bunowen River.Short traverse ... walk, Len: 4.4km, Climb: 308m, Area: Knockakishaun, Croagh Patrick (Ireland)

  
Forum: General
MOUNTAINVIEWS MEMBERS MEET SEPTEMBER 2018
liz50 a day ago.
Traverse of Brandon Ridge is scheduled for Saturday 8th September. The walk from the Connor Pass to Brandon Creek is around 18km with 1300m ascent taking around 7 hours. There is a slightly shorte...

  
Track
Near Slievanea, Central Dingle (Ireland)
simon3 19 hours ago.
Important note. The end of this route is at Ballyduff Graveyard around Q54076 10104. We no longer recommend finishing ... walk, Len: 16.5km, Climb: 849m, Area: Slievanea, Central Dingle (Ireland) Sli

Summit Comment
Crocknafarragh: The High Route around Glentornan Lough
jsramsey1491 3 days ago.
Last Thursday (16/08/2018) a few friends and I decided to do a recce of a walk around Glentornan Lough. We started close to the Gaelic pitch on the southwestern shore of Lough Nacung Upper, passed...

  
Summit Comment
Knockakishaun: Bunowen River can present problems
markwallace 2 days ago.
Parked at a layby further up the valley from the crossing point mentioned in James Sheerin's comment to do a circuit of Laghta Eighter and Knockakishaun. Access to Laghta Eighter was easy from hig...

  
Summit Comment
An Bhinn Bhuí: Benwee Head Loop.
sandman 4 days ago.
As already stated Benwee Head has some of the most dramatic costal scenery in Ireland and with this in mind i decided to enjoy on a clear sunny day the joys of walking the 12.4km of the Benwee Hea...

Track
Burrane Upper
conormcbandon 2 days ago.
walk, Len: 0.8km, Climb: 43m, Area: Burrane Upper, Clare Coastal Hill (Ireland)...

  
Summit Comment
Knocknanacree: Storm Beach and Cliffs at lower western reaches
Bunsen7 4 days ago.
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Track
Kilmore
conormcbandon 2 days ago.
walk, Len: 1.0km, Climb: 26m, Area: Kilmore, Clare Coastal Hill (Ireland) Kilmo...

Summit Comment
Knockafeehane: From the horse's mouth
Bunsen7 4 days ago.
This is the trail description post at Q59652 00497. It summarises the route if taken from east to west, as per track 3881.Vastly superior to my own garbled efforts!Annascaul obviously is a very we...

  
Track
Oileán an Bhromaigh
conormcbandon 2 days ago.
walk, Len: 1.1km, Climb: 21m, Area: Oile?n an Bhromaigh, Galway Islands (Irelan...

  
Summit Comment
Knockafeehane: Easily Accessible and not overly demanding
Bunsen7 4 days ago.
There is a waymarked trail to the summit which loops over the ridge leading west from this hill. See track 3881.The quickest route to the top would see you park in Annascaul village and walk up th...


RECENT CONTRIBUTIONS 1 2 3 .. 23 Next page >>