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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'?
A moderately diffi.. by mcrtchly   (Show all posts)


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Track
12 (Listed) Bens - Revisited
GSheehy 16 hours ago.
I was drawn back by the lure of completing the 2002 - 12 Bens Challenge route. I got the details from John J. Cotter w... walk, Len: 29.1km, Climb: 2598m, Area: Benglenisky, Twelve Bens (Ireland) Ben

  
Track
Greece, Pelion Peninsula: Paou to Chorto return
Onzy a week ago.
walk, Len: 8.3km, Climb: 237m, Area: Greece, Thessaly ()

  
Track
Greece, Pelion Peninsula: Affisos to Afetes return (2)
Onzy a week ago.
walk, Len: 9.7km, Climb: 458m, Area: Greece, Thessaly ()

Summit Comment
Big Collin: Permission required?
StephenMullin a week ago.
Hi thereCan anybody tell me if permission is required to walk up Big Collin? If so, how does one go about obtaining this?Many thanks!

  
Track
Greece, Pelion Peninsula: Portaria Circuit
Onzy a week ago.
walk, Len: 14.3km, Climb: 644m, Area: Greece, Thessaly ()

  
Summit Comment
Knockroe: Where Summits relocate with No Plate Movement
CaminoPat 2 days ago.
Knockroe summit is listed as being located in County Cork. The correct location however is County Waterford. Déise abú.

Summit Summary
Anglesey Mountain: Great Carlingford views from a so-so top
Collaborative entry Last edit by: Colin Murphy a week ago.
There is enough space to park one car at 100 167, just on the edge of a wood around a sharp u-bend. Proceed north for 100m before turning NE up a gentle slope, although the terrain is treacherous ...

  
Summit Summary
Pigeon Rock Mountain South Top: Nondescript summit for baggers only
Collaborative entry Last edit by: Colin Murphy a week ago.
Usually done in conjunction with Pigeon Rock itself, but can be done in isolation if you want. Car park can be found at 234 278 A. Take the track directly across the road that follows the Rocky Ri...

  
Track
Greek Islands: Kos
Onzy a week ago.
walk, Len: 5.8km, Climb: 381m, Area: Greece, South Aegean ()

Summit Comment
Wee Slievemoughan: The ups and downs
Colin Murphy a week ago.
Approaching from Rocky Mountain summit requires a bit of up-and-down trekking, as it is necessary to first ascend Tornamrock and then drop down again to a the col to the south before ascending Wee...

  
Track
Greek Islands: Kalymnos
Onzy a week ago.
walk, Len: 1.8km, Climb: 183m, Area: Greece, South Aegean ()

  
Summit Comment
Rocky Mountain: Pony express
Colin Murphy a week ago.
Seeing a group of about 7 or 8 ponies at the top of a mountain was a first for me. I did a little research and apparently these animals are wild, (according to a NI veterinarian group.) I also dis...


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