Or perhaps the question should be, are you carrying a camera?
When one peruses these august pages, one could be forgiven for feeling inadequate when learning that Hillwalker A only took an hour to reach this peak, or Hillwalker B completed X walk in 2 hours. And God forbid you should dare to look at the statistics for some of the gps tracks (At over 2500 MV easily has the biggest repository in the country). Seeing that Hillwalker Y or Z walked for 48km non-stop results in a sharp intake of breath or an explosive exhalation (often simultaneously with curious results)
In 1892 William W. Naismith devised a guide that became known as Naismith’s Rule. In metric terms it states one should allow 12 minutes for every km of distance plus 10 minutes for every 100 metres of ascent. For those like me who have found themselves mentally counting the contour lines as you gasp your way up some hellish incline, it means that you add on one minute for each contour line you will cross.
Between Naismith and Hillwalkers X, Y & Z I have come to realise my own pace doesn’t necessarily match up with convention. My speed of putting one foot in front of the other is reasonable enough, however the time taken to get from A to B is longer. This only increases the more dramatic the location of the walk or the more beautiful the scenery.
And so on my recent first-time visit to Ben Creggan I found the curse of Hillwalker Z struck again. The Honourable Gentleman suggested 1 hour 45 minutes to reach the South Top via Ben Creggan from the east. Yet 2 hours later found me still languishing somewhere on the upper reaches of the approach to Ben Creggan. The South Top was like a mirage that retreated with every step I took.
Oh I completed the hike alright, and I even found a new way down by descending from the col between Ben Gorm and Creggan South Top into the Glendavock Valley. However it all just served to remind me that ‘time taken’ is a very individual thing, and that each person should also factor in the myriad of times they will stop for 10 seconds for a photo, gaze at the views or simply catch their breath. For example I spent considerable time studying the fault line mentioned by Simon3 in his post on Ben Creggan. I also took copious photos of the views which easily accounted for an hour of my hike.
I can only add that the hike was amazing, views were outstanding and the feeling of accomplishment was very satisfactory. Similar to the divergence between my hike speed and my contemporaries is the divergence between my comfort on steep ground and theirs. I would describe the final approaches to Ben Creggan as requiring care and concentration in places, and even the route up to the more benign South Top was very steep in places even though it is mostly grass with some patches of scree. Naismith and others might complete such routes much more quickly, but it’s ok to take longer too. Linkback: https://mountainviews.ie/summit/128/comment/20647/