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Monday, 14 March 2016

Great Worm Crag - Outlying Fells

Great Worm Crag - SD 193 968


Sunday 13th March

Am I OCD?  For example, is that usage correct? One can suffer from OCD, but not be it grammatically, but that now seems to be common usage.

I have a fixed idea of how a good day walk from home, as opposed to a backpacking day should go,  and if it doesn't work out I can become frustrated.

1.Set off early and get back in time to have a relaxing evening at home.

2. A walk with varied scenery, and if possible a bit of adventure, few stiles, a sheltered spot with a good view to have a break and a munch, or a café at the end, and perhaps meeting somebody interesting rather than a cliché exchange of opinions on the weather.

3. Back home: a hot bath followed by recovery on the settee with fixzzy water bottle to hand and land-line and mobile phones (to avoid having to rise if a call comes through), and iPad and spectacles and book for a bit of browsing, or alternatively I may doze for quarter of an hour.

4. Preparation of meal, to be ready in time for  6:00 pm news on tele.

Yesterday that didn't happen exactly.

I was off to a good start at 9:00am. Wainwright makes the best of a bad job turning the ascent of  an unprepossessing hill into a round involving several rocky summits and a bit of scrambling, so I had some adventure, and challenging wilderness trekking on a more or less pathless circuit. All in all a most enjoyable hill outing.

My walk started from the fell road running over the tops from Dunnerdale to Eskdale - a remote unfenced road that used to be rarely used, but today it seems to have developed into a rat run.

Driving to Broughton-in-Furness and beyond up Dunnerdale on a Sunday, even at that early hour, is busy these days, and the return journey later in the day even more so.  Every week in the Westmorland Gazette yet another new scheme is announced to attract more visitors to the Lake District.

I had not taken food or flask intending to call at a café after the walk. Broughton Bakery was closed again and I drove on to Café Ambio at Haverthwaite next to the Lakeland Car Museum (its sister venue at the Kendal Auction Mart close to Jct. 36 on the M6 is the Ambio I usually go to with Pete after our Thursday walks).

The large car park at Ambio was nearly full. Despite Ambio having seating for a hundred or so there was a long queue and I couldn't see a vacant table. I exited and headed for home - so that was the part of my OCD routine that was scuppered. The rest of the day was fine. For retired folk like me Sundays and bank holidays are just a nuisance.

Lying in the hot bath I had no concept of the intended content of this post, but the outline formed, and here we are. One may think the Archimedean hot bath myth far fetched but I have found time and time again I have had some of my best ideas whilst soaking. I wonder why that is?

Little Crag and Great Crag. I ascended via the grassy gully shown with red dots - CLICK TO ENLARGE

This and below: close up of rock on Great Crag - faces are 30/40ft high

The Scafells from Great Crag. Not a great day for photography, but either you get this or nothing at all

Devoke Water from Great Worm Crag summit


gimmer said...

rising to the top
floating to the surface
techniques for extracting precious metals from base ores
redolent of your ratiocination
and, it seems, Wainright's winnowing,
to produce golden days on the lesser (of height only, of course) tops.

Sir Hugh said...

I"m impressed - not sure if that was intended as free verse. A breakaway from your science foundation, but surely the more valuable ores settle on the bottom? Whereas one hopes, as you suggest, for the good ideas to come to the top.

Anonymous said...

The worm has turned.

gimmer said...

at risk of being more than unusually boring, there is a mineralogical technique called 'floatation' in which a slurry of the finely ground ore is treated with carefully selected high molecular weight bi-functional polymers, one 'end' of which adsorbs only onto metal-rich ore particles, and the other forms a gel with water molecules, to form a low-density mass which then 'floats' to the surface - sometimes accelerated by air injection into the treatment tank , with the low value mainly siliceous muds settling out, as they do not adsorb these polymeric 'floatation' species - so the good (aka valuable) stuff rises to the top - just like your bath, I am entirely sure !
almost entirely the opposite to 'panning' for gold . . .

apologies - has been a chemical weekend

Sir Hugh said...

gimmer - Well, that demonstrates everything about my grasp of science - it always seems to take the opposite view of what I, in my quirky way, think of as logical, but don't aplogise. your contribution is most welcome.

Sir Hugh said...

bowlandclimber - I wonder if there are exceptionally large worms on Great Worm Crag? I didn't see any.

gimmer said...

you are right 'a priori' - it's just that chemistry (and a bit of physics) can turn your logical world upside down !

but nothing beats a good walk in the mountains - especially followed by a convivial evening in the pub if with good company !

afootinthehills said...

If you are suffering from OCD then so am I, but I don’t really think we are. I call them rituals. We have different rituals when away in the motorvan and return from a day on the hills compared with when returning home from a day on the hills. It’s part of the whole experience for us.

I’m a bit (very) rusty on all this stuff now but when you are in the bath I suspect your brain is in what neuroscientists call ‘mind-wandering mode’. It is a highly creative state of mind in contrast to the central executive mode responsible for high level activities and thought – task focussed as they say. The mind wandering mode links specific clusters or populations of neurons forming a network and isn’t located in a specific area of the brain and is apparently the brain’s default mode. It’s all quite complex involving the prefrontal cortex, the cingulate, and noradrenaline neurons in the locus coeruleus.

Allowing for the current trend of ‘neuroscience-hubris’ the existance of the mind wandering-mode does seem to be well established although from what I can gather much of the neurochemistry is not well understood. Long may you continue to come up with your posts while in the bath Conrad.

I write my best blogs when in mind wandering mode on the hills. Unfortunately, when I sit down at the computer to write the post I switch to executive mode and the result is, well let's be kind, a great deal inferior!

afootinthehills said...

'existence' of course.

gimmer said...

you have indeed struck the precious lode here - we have all noticed that when your blog (and, actually, most mountain-related ones) moves into the metaphysical and reflective, the comment count rises rapidly - we all wonder why we enjoy climbing, walking and simply being in the mountains when much of the time it leads to cold, suffering and unremitting effort - and I guess that 'Afoot', if I may be so familiar about an unmet personage, analyses it almost exactly - the mind is set free to wander, mentally as well as physically, and so restore itself after the strain of 'task focussing' - although, paradoxically, task focussing of an extreme sort is required at many moments of a mountain day - not a good idea to be dreaming sweet dreams leading the crux of a severe (adjectivally speaking) climb, I recall. That is the adrenaline rush that gives the sensuous pleasure at the top !
Coming so late to party, I am only now reading your reversed gift of The Old Ways - in the early chapters Macfarlane discusses many writers and thinkers (oddly, often the same) who walked to think - and who considered their best thoughts came whist walking - Nietzsche's 'only those thoughts which come from walking have any value' being the absolute (and -ist) doctrine, as one would expect. Maybe Mallory was being deliberately obtuse to the journalist - perhaps what he really meant was 'because it frees the mind'.

Sir Hugh said...

Afoot - Thanks for that comprehensive science lesson. I read it with Bowland Climber yesterday when we were out on the hills again, and we wondered if taking my customary hot bath on returning home may free my mind irreversibly, and whether that would be a good thing or bad?


Gimmer - that is a good stab at answering a question so many people have tried to rise to in the past, including myself on several occasions. I'm off with the caravan after Easter and will take The Old Ways with me and have another dip - it has been referred to frequently in reading I have done over the last couple of years.

Phreerunner said...

Fascinating. And I now know why your words are of such a high quality compared with mine. It's all down to the hot bath, in which I tend to enjoy a short snooze, whereas others seem to be at their most creative. Conrad, I don't know how you seem to be able to snooze for a mere quarter hour after your exertions. Sue will vouch for the fact that my snooze can take most of the evening following a bit of exercise. I suspect I'm not very good company in the pub either...

I hope you are enjoying the lovely weather. Frustratingly, I've been confined to the dentist's chair today.

afootinthehills said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
afootinthehills said...

Conrad, don't free your mind irreversibly. You would need a sort of permanent balance between the inhibitory neurotransmitters and excitatory neurotransmitters, probably beyond the powers of even a hot bath I feel. I was in mind wandering mode last evening while drying some kitchen knives and now have a deep cut in a finger. Goodness knows what would happen if I freed my mind irreversibly.

As for the science lesson, it is a long time since I studied this stuff and that was before fMRI etc was available. I continue to try to keep up only in a general sort of way, but at least I feel I have the understanding to spot the bad science when I see it.

Gimmer - an interesting and insightful comment if I may say so.

Sir Hugh said...

Phreerunner - I'm off to the dentist next Wednesday (just for a check up - I hope). I don't think I will be mind wandering there, but there may be scope for a post afterwards?


Afoot - Well, I've had another hot bath after today's walk (post pending) and as far as I can tell my mind is still in order, and I did get an idea for the post

Phreerunner said...

It's the first time for as long as I can remember that I've come away with only a check-up appointment! I have a nice new crown on a front tooth though, £ouch... I hope it lasts longer than the old one.

Your post has brought good memories of my 2014 backpack with Sheila and AlanR, who sadly can't come on this year's outing due to some faulty synapses:

Sir Hugh said...

Phreerunner - I know what you mean about the £s !

Dunnerdale and its environs is certainly my favourite part of The Lakes, and I had a good read of your adventures there.