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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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Summit Comment
Corraun Hill: Views! what views?
Harry Goodman 13 hours ago.
Climbed this hill on Wed. 12 Oct 2011. Our intention was to start from Belfarsad Bridge but the blanket of thick mist covering the Plateau made me opt for the simpler climb from Burnanioo Bridge s...

  
Summit Summary
Corraun Hill: Western summit on plateau above big corrie lakes.
Collaborative entry Last edit by: simon3, Harry Goodman 13 hours ago.
(1) Bunannio Bridge Route: Start around L737 943. Take the well made track E up to a T junction L751 948, turn left and follow track to its end L749 950. Go NW up the hillside for some 1.2k over s...

  
Track
molls gap loop walk
strangeweaver a day ago.
From the car park at molls gap follow the narrow country lane down to the pass between to stumpa duloigh and Knocklome... walk, Len: 17.6km, Climb: 985m, Area: Dunkerron Mountains (Ireland) Knocklome

Summit Comment
Kilfarrasy Hill: What Lies Beneath is better than What Lies Up Top
Pepe 2 days ago.
You can drive over this. A very minor public road connects Kilfarassy with the R675 northeast of Annestown. This road crests the exact top of Kilfarassy Hill. A much better way of doing it is to p...

  
Track
Simple ascent of Minaun.
simon3 a day ago.
An easy way up starting from the carpark. walk, Len: 3.6km, Climb: 121m, Area: Minaun, Achill/Corraun (Ireland) Minaun

  
Summit Comment
Westtown Hill: The Folks Who Live on the Hill
Pepe 2 days ago.
Curiosity made me investigate Westown Hill, having blissfully passed within a hundred metres of its ‘summit’ many a time on walks, drives and cycles. The top lies up a tarmac road leading west off...

Track
Puglia: Circuit south of Otranto
Onzy 2 days ago.
walk, Len: 11.1km, Climb: 215m, Area: Italy, Apulia ()

  
Forum: General
Reviewers wanted.
simon3 3 days ago.
Interested in reviewing either of two new books?Mourne and Cooley Mountains is by Adrian HendroffThe Comeragh, Galtee, Knockmealdown and Slieve Bloom is from John G. O’Dwyer. Let us know at admin@...

  
Summit Summary
Slievenashaska South Top: Fine ridge peak amongst wild land and lakes.
Collaborative entry Last edit by: simon3 5 days ago.
This is normally done in conjunction with Coomcathcun, but may also be completed in isolation. Take the road to the NW of Sneem (following the Sneem River), turning left at point V672 698 and foll...

Track
Puglia: Trajan Way to Ostuni
Onzy 2 days ago.
walk, Len: 10.9km, Climb: 264m, Area: Italy, Apulia ()

  
Summit Summary
Buckoogh: Somewhat separated peak, great sea views, boggy top.
Collaborative entry Last edit by: simon3 5 days ago.
Currently the easiest route is from the SE. Park at the gate at G015 002 and follow the line of an old wall beside the forest up the hill. The route from the east starts by parking at G014 015 at ...

  
Forum: General
Morocco
spiider28 a week ago.
Thanks for the detailed advice @kernowclimber, really appreciate it


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