Enjoy your trip
The first flurry of snow here in Armagh. A biting wind. Antenna whiskers taste the chill air and the prospect of picture postcard winter days. In no time at all, the Cairngorm Mountain Rescue will be airlifting some foundered ingenu off Cairn Toul. In
There is something about the word "accident" that draws people, like fools into a damp gully in March.
If you are driving your children to school in a small car and a man coming the opposite way in a Volvo estate becomes ill and runs into you, busting up your leg bad enough that you will never work again, as happened to a colleague of mine, that is an accident.
If a man falls off Howling Ridge, the cliffs of Belbulben or off the face of Ben Crom ..... well ...., to be discussed.
I have never killed myself on a mountain (that I know of) nota bene the phraseology - "killed myself"- my phraseology although perhaps not yours, but in the hills, solo, I take all responsibility for living or dying on my own shoulders. There is no complicated kit to go wrong and blame, there is no unconscious man in a Volvo estate hurtling towards me to blame, there is no accident to blame.
... and for me, that is at the very heart of hillwalking: my decisions, my smarts and often enough my own very stupids.
Every life threatening situation I have ever got into, (phraseology again) has been got into by me and it has been me that has had to get me out of it. Running off An Stuc in black mist on to the naked crag. Lost off Slieve Bearnagh in nil vis and hanging above Crom Reservoir. Off desolate Macaterick, 180 to the correct bearing, in 2m cloud base, January. On Douglas Crag out of gas at the top of the gully - one step to heaven or hell. And only last year, pretty well done for, trapped at the edge of nightfall between torrential floods off the Glen and Blackstairs rivers.
My demise in any one of these circumstances? Not an accident in sight. All and every one my own doing. Bad planning, bad navigation, inexperience; and far too much bollocks in my head.
This impending winter we can imagine someone might take a skite off some emminently skiteable place or other and we as a community will hold and publicise our awkward and uncomfortable vigils and talk about accidents.
When the day comes that a bad decision launches me, arse foremost, into eternity, I know my friends (because they are my friends) will engage in a raucous debate about about WTF he was doing there, eejit? - and "accident" won't even come into it.