Sunday, 1 January 2012

Lessons learned

Lessons Learned

This was one of the aims of my English Nuttalls Peak Bagging Blog that somehow never got included.

Starting off as a novice walker back in October 2008, I knew very little apart from map reading from Geography O-level (40 years ago) and outward bound with the CCF (again about 40 years ago). 

All I knew was that I wanted to go to the top of some hills. I knew they could be dangerous places if you did not prepare properly and respect the dangers. Little did I realise though, that once you got up in the hills the satisfaction, pleasure and sense of achievement you felt.

So here are a few pearls of wisdom that occurred to me that may have been useful if I had known them before I set out. While some of these points may be of use to someone they are not intended in any way as a source of reference, more like a diary of the order in which they dawned on me or realised were relevant  Some will seem obvious, but don't seem worth mentioning until they occur to you. Best of all some you learn again because you forgot or was in too much of rush. But whatever way you learn them or acquire the skills they all add to the knowledge bank that hopefully individually or combined give you the skills to enjoy the hills without doing them any damage or endangering anybody else.

I am starting this list at the start of my Scottish Hill walking adventure with the intention to add these lessons as they occur during walks in the Scottish Hills and as I draw on lessons from my English Hill walking will only include them at that point. However the first two are so important I am including them now before I have even bagged my first Munro or got very far in to my Scottish Hill walking experience.

1. Stay within your own limits.
So far I have had two attempts to properly bag Ingleborough in the Yorkshire Dales. The first was when I turned back because I did not fancy the final ascent onto the summit plateau. I put this down to a healthy respect for heights. The second was when I made it to the summit plateau but did not go on to the trig point due to the strong wind and horizontal rain. Both these occurred on my first ever peak bagging trip and would not stop me now. However there will definitely be an ascent or ridge where I do not feel comfortable or weather conditions so severe that I will abandon the walk and return to camp without going on to complete the walk or bag the top as planned.

2. Respect the environment you are in
I am including this here from a safety point of view in as much as soon as you become complacent you can become careless. Even if you don't, as soon as you start thinking I have got this hill bagging lark cracked you may well find yourself having to deal with something quite unexpected.

However experience you may become always maintain a healthy respect for the environment you are in

It occurs to however as I am writing this that wherever there is a risk 

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