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Friday, 6 January 2017

Fellow travellers?

Whilst backpacking most people met provide pleasant chat and sometimes much more - I met Mick and Gayle in 2008 on our respective Land's End John 'o Groats walks and we have been friends ever since, but...

...there are others!

"Where are you heading for?"

"Haye-on Wye"

"Oh! It'll be all booked up there, you'll not find any accommodation"

The first b and b I tried had vacancies.


"Where are you heading for?"

"Dunkerley Beacon"

"Which way are you going?"

You tell them.

"Well, you should go..." such and such a way, almost accusingly, inferring you've been stupid with your own plotted route.  If you fall for this you will almost certainly get lost.


On my round Wales walk - from my journal:

"...just before Freshwater West Bay I met the usual dog walking Jonah who told me about the grave severity of the ups and downs on the path between there and Angle. It turned out to be fairly normal up and down coastal path walking. Seascapes and weather were brilliant in the exact meaning of that word."

And just a bit further on, in total contrast:

"...I met a young couple backpacking who had camped on the cliffs with a Terra Nova tent; they had carried water from Angle and seemed to be well organised."

On my Severn Way walk I met a guy south of Hampton Load crossing a new bridge near Highley - my journal says he told me the whole history of coal mining in the area, "and some", and then went on to the record flood heights of the river. Despite all the techniques I reckon to be good at for terminating endless monologues I was stuck with him for twenty minutes.

On the summit of Stob Dearg with my daughter on a bright sunny day a guy arrived at our summit from the Glencoe road direction. Ensuing conversation had him telling us that we were on the summit of Stob Coire Raineach across Lairig Gartsin to the west. We could see the road down Glen Etive (yellow on map) to our right which would have been invisible from Stob Coire Raineach - he told us of his intended route south west along the ridge from the latter. I often wonder what happened to him.

"Where are you going?"
You tell them.

"My brother lives there, you must call in and see him..." followed by endless directions which you both know are not going to be used.

An aggressive dog is having a go at taking a piece out of my ankle.

"It's because you're wearing a hat" 
or " carrying a rucksack" - "he won't hurt you - he's only playing"

"So! I'm supposed to stop wearing a hat just because you can't keep your bloody dog under control?"


And my favourite of all time from my round Wales walk, repeated on several occasions on the walk, and most likely more than once to some of my walking companions since.
"Where are you going?"

"I'm walking round the whole Welsh border"

"Mmm!" - 
(takes a bit of digesting)

"Where did you start?"


"Where will you finish?"





gimmer said...

nice - brighten up a dull Friday morn
my favourite - but not funny - was on the Crinkles going towards Bowfell in thick fog/cloud/drizzle - in good light one does not really notice the twists and turns and up and downs of this fine but broad and easy ridge:
' where are you going?' (lone walker with map - years before ubiquitous GPS etc.)
'to Three Tarns and Bowfell'
'you are going the wrong way'
'I dont think so'
'see, we are here' - pointing to a seriously wrong point - 'you need to go that way' - pointing due east down to the edge and, presumably, over into Crinkle Gill or other similar cleft
'i dont think so - that is the best way' - the way we were going
'you will end up here if you do' - pointing out Crinkle Gill and the cliff edges in the map
'sorry, but I am pretty sure you are wrong and we are right'
'ok - have it your way' and down he went
we were right - I too often wonder what happened to him - no LMRT call out recorded - maybe still up there

Sir Hugh said...

gimmer - I once fantasised with someone (can't remember who) of doing a spoof and taking one of those tea towels depicting a map of The Lakes and asking some obviously gung-ho, clued up, super walker to show us where we are on the map and ask which is the best way to Scafell. Are you sure your Crinkles guy wasn't sporting a Lake District tea towel?

Gayle said...

I think I've met all of those people at some time, except for the last one (because I've never done a significant circular walk). My favourite comparable experience has got to be the two chaps we met atop Meall nan Tarmachan who not only believed that they were on Ben Lawers, but had been up there three times previously and had believed they were on Ben Lawers every time.

Love your idea of the tea-towel spoof!

Sir Hugh said...

Gayle - fortunately I've been on Tarmachan and Lawers without conscious confusion. Both seemed to have much longer return routes than the outgoing.
Do you think a tea towel map would be better than a paper one in wet weather?

gimmer said...

I love the tea towel idea - definitely better than paper in rain and high wind - shame about the rather blurred contour lines: we have some old linen backed maps in the 'family' archive - pre-war (II'nd not G) I think - still in excellent condition despite obvious innumerable foldings, soakings - and triumphant 'summitings' no doubt - in tweeds, with nails and pipes, I feel sure.
Might well be tempted - maybe when we essay the outflanking of the Mickle Fell enceinte in high summer: plenty of ways of going wrong up there with plenty of people about to ask . . . I'm sure there will be a NPAONB tea towel on sale somewhere - or even a silken issue tightly folded inside a false straw in case of landing in forbidden zones . . . one could go on . . .

Anonymous said...

Nice post Conrad. Happy New Year.
It was possibly me who gave you the idea of the 'tea towel' - always wanted to do the same but never had the courage to pull it off. Just imagine the embarrassment when located by the mountain rescue people.

Sir Hugh said...

BC - Thanks for the tea towel. I just hope I don't repeat it again to you n the future.

Anonymous said...

Due to poor preparation on my part a friend and I had to navigate on Lugnaquilla with an All-Ireland road map. Not very clever, but we survived. We've since debated taking an inflatable globe into the hills, in much the same way you were thinking of taking a tea towel. I think the strangest conversations I've had have been with people I've met in bothies, or with people who have picked me up when I was hitch-hiking. The dull, inescapable conversations tend to happen in youth hostels or on trains, where it can be difficult to escape.