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The Irish Times ha.. by simon3   (Show all posts)
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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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Track
Really getting away from it all!
peter1 13 hours ago.
This group of mountains is probably best approached from Dalwhinnie. Parking is available at the petrol station and th... walk, Len: 18.7km, Climb: 926m, Area: Loch Treig to Loch Ericht (Britain) Bei

  
Track
4 Munros in 2 days, part 1
peter1 14 hours ago.
I went back to Scotland to climb more Munros after an absence of nearly 15 years. This group of 4 can be done in a da... walk, Len: 11.2km, Climb: 1126m, Area: An Socach, Killilan to Inverness (Brita

  
Track
4 Munros in 2 days, part 2
peter1 14 hours ago.
walk, Len: 9.8km, Climb: 480m, Area: Sgurr na Lapaich, Killilan to Inverness (B...

Summit Summary
Bencorrbeg: Shapely outlier, serious scrambling.
Collaborative entry Last edit by: simon3 5 days ago.
Bencorbeg dominates views from the mouth of the Gleninagh Valley. Although only 577m, the full extent of this height is seen when the mountain is viewed from north or east, as the mountain plunges...

  
Summit Summary
Binn Charrach: NE finger from the Twelve Bens offers a way in.
Collaborative entry Last edit by: simon3 5 days ago.
Knockpasheemore (Binn Charrach) is a small summit at the end of a 2km ridge heading NE from the lower scree slopes of Benbaun, and makes a worthwhile climb either in its own right, or as a diversi...

  
Track
Cadamstown to Kinnitty - Slieve Blooms
jgfitz 2 days ago.
We commenced the hike along the way-marked Silver River eco-walk. The well-illustrated information boards along the gorg walk, Len: 13.3km, Climb: 341m, Area: Slieve Bloom (Ireland)

Summit Comment
Inis Leacan: Island south of Roundstone.
simon3 a week ago.
Inishlacken is a small island south of Roundstone. Here it is viewed from Inishnee.

  
Summit Comment
Oileán an Chlaí: Island in Bertraghboy Bay
simon3 a week ago.
Oghly Island is around 250m from the driveable Inishnee island.

  
Track
The Heights of Malta
madfrankie a week ago.
When you're considering hiking trips abroad, Malta is not likely to be high on anyone's list. It's small and the human f walk, Len: 8.4km, Climb: 40m, Area: Malta, Dingli ()

Summit Comment
Lettershinna Hill: Grass top, distant heights.
simon3 a week ago.
As paddyhillsbagger found, the Bens form a backdrop to the top of Lettershinna. This picture was taken during a generally mist covered period one May day.

  
Summit Comment
Benbulbin: donieg on the summit, 2008
donieg 4 days ago.
Thursday 29.05.2008 a beautifull sunny day I decided to take on the three peaks challenge of Benbulbin followed by Benwiskin and finally Slievemore. I found 'eflanaga' comment of 15.03.06 helpfull...

  
Summit Summary
Benglenisky: Southern Bens easiest way up.
Collaborative entry Last edit by: simon3 a week ago.
Driving towards Clifden along the N59, go 2km past the Benlettery Hostel and take the minor road on the right. I.5km along this, at point L750 499, there is a large space for parking on the right,...


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