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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'?


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Forum: General
MOUNTAINVIEWS MEMBERS MEET APRIL 2018
liz50 20 hours ago.
It is this Saturday 28th April! Visiting some of the lesser know summits in the Galtees, including Temple Hill and Lyracappal. If you would like to join us please contact Liz at elizabethashton201...

  
Summit Comment
Galtybeg: One of those rare perfect days
jackill a day ago.
Every once in a while comes a rare day when everything just works, even though it shouldn't.Dodgy back, banjaxed knees, starting time silly o'clock, have to be home by noon to evict the crows from...

  
User profile
derkelly274
derkelly274 a day ago.
Enjoy climbing the odd hill. Hope to visit more and more.

Track
Nephin from the North....stunning views.
derkelly274 a day ago.
First time climbing Nephin for both myself and my friend. We decided to go at it from the North as it seemed like a more walk, Len: 5.3km, Climb: 644m, Area: Nephin, North Mayo (Ireland) Nephin

  
Summit Comment
Lugduff: A high point on long ridge separating Glendalough from Glenmalure
Bunsen7 a day ago.
This picture is taken pretty much directly to the west of Lugduff across Glenmalure on an approach to Camenabologue SE Top.Most people will probably take in Lugduff as part of a circuit of Glendal...

  
Forum: General
An Alp for OAPs...
Colin Murphy 5 days ago.
If you an ageing hillwalker like myself who might have liked to bag an ‘Alp’ but are too long in the tooth to contemplate such an adventure, fear not, there is a simple little Austrian Alp you can...

Summit Comment
Camenabologue SE Top: Direct Route from Glenmalure
Bunsen7 a day ago.
Followed directions posted on MV to find the forest ride up from Glenmalure. See track 3766.The first section of forestry SW of the forest track has been felled, making the forest ride more obviou...

  
Track
Camenabologue SE
Bunsen7 3 days ago.
This shortish alternative track makes use of a forest ride (as heralded by Simon3) from Glenmalure to reach Camenabol... walk, Len: 10.6km, Climb: 664m, Area: Camenabologue SE Top, Dublin/Wicklow (Ir

  
Summit Comment
Bealick: Between two counties
Wilderness a day ago.
I approached this mountain from the North East ,coming from the Coomataggart mountains. When I got to the top I had to walk around for a few minutes to pinpoint the true summit; which I'm sure is...

Track
Mullaghcleevaun circuit
osullivanm 3 days ago.
A very pleasant circuit although some difficult ground between Duff Hill and the return to start of hike. walk, Len: 17.3km, Climb: 792m, Area: Black Hill, Dublin/Wicklow (Ireland) Blac...

  
Forum: General
MOUNTAINVIEWS MEMBERS MEET APRIL 2018
liz50 6 days ago.
Not long now until the first Mountainviews members meet of 2018. We will be walking in the Galtee mountains on Saturday 28th April. If you are thinking of joining us and would like more details pl...

  
Summit Comment
Nephin: A looped climb from the North. Stunning views all around!
derkelly274 a day ago.
First time climbing Nephin for both myself and my friend. We decided to go at it from the North as it seemed like a more interesting prospect. There was access to the woods on the northern slope o...


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