Outdoor Discoveries

What originally was a news section for the rest of the website soon became a place for me to write about human-powered wanderings in the countryside. Photography inspires me to get out there, mostly on foot these days, though cycling got me started. Musings on the wider context of outdoor activity complete the picture, so I hope that there is something of interest in all that you find here. Thank you for coming!

Consideration for other hillwalkers

7th May 2007

It’s amazing what thoughts pop into your head while following a well engineered track on the way up to the top of a hill. Such was the case when I was ascending Skiddaw last Friday. The track in question was a bridleway, something that was made apparent when I saw a cyclist preparing to descend it; it’s not something that I would have done and it amazed another walker going uphill like me. All that I could add to that amazement was to say best of luck to the gentleman on the bike. I wonder how he got on…

It was on the descent that the thoughts really began to roll into my head, particularly regarding one gentleman encountered by Alan Sloman on his LEJOG journey through Teesdale. My suspicion is that the walker in question may not have the muscle strength in his legs to control his speed, even with walking poles. Hence, the apparent lack of courtesy… Not only is that sort of thing not good to fellow walkers but it’s not good for tracks either and steep heavily eroded paths are no fun for those of us whose vertigo has a habit of kicking in at inopportune moments.

Speaking of vertigo, a steep track devoid of steps like that which I used for my Skiddaw excursion causes me to look for footholds to use and do not like to see them dislodged by those who are going too fast and treading too heavily. The thoughts of out of control “skiing” on gravel definitely do not entertain me. And I am sure that the same would apply to any fell runners frequenting Skiddaw; I am not trying to ban them. Nevertheless, we all have a part of play in stopping footpath erosion and I come from the school of thought where nothing is taken but but memories or photos and nothing is left except (light) footsteps. Consideration for others is not only avoiding bumping into them or saying hello but also leaving what you have enjoyed in a state for them to enjoy too. I certainly hope that I did…

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