.............not all those that wander are lost..............

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Going it Alone.............

But never lonely!

I realised (not for the first time!) today why I like walking on my own. I'm often asked if I'm not scared or worried about being alone on the hill. The answer is an emphatic 'hardly ever!'. I want to say 'never' but it wouldn't be quite true.

I do sometimes think not to take an unnecessary risk in case of an accident. So I tend to err on the side of caution about exposed paths or very steep descents.

Just once I remember being completely spooked by I don't know what. It happened on one of my frequent wanders. I was just descending back from Bealach Buidhe onto the Glenshee road when for no reason I suddenly felt very alone, very vulnerable and very shivery. The feeling passed as quickly as it came - I can still recall it. But it's never happened since.

Yesterday I had a marvellous time walking up in the forest behind the house here. There are quite a few paths between the pine and larch trees. I'm gradually exploring all of them and how they link together as not all of them are mapped.

{Photo of path between the rocks}

On the way I noticed some wildlife I might not have seen if there had been a group of us. A small lizard sunbathing on a rock, two large buzzards hunting above the trees, a pair of deer I came across in a clearing, a very lively and tuneful Crested Tit in a tree right beside the path, and a grumpy Jay.

There's also more chance of seeing other things that catch the eye. Colours seem to stand out so well in early Spring. Maybe the brain is glad to see orange, yellow or red instead of white, green and blue!

{Photo of amazing lichen on a tree trunk}

Once I had climbed high enough I found some snow - still thigh deep in places. The small hamlets up here are left over from the days of transhumance - when the local farmers and their families would de-camp completely for the summer onto high pastures along with their sheep. These buildings seem to make great holiday homes now! Apart from the chapel the rest of the houses were shuttered for the Winter.

{Photo of hamlet called Le Truchet at 1450m)

On the way I was musing about the joys of walking on my own.  Being able to stop and start when I choose, and faff around as much as I like - priceless!

Of course there are times when I would love to share a walk like this. The views were excellent, the mountains looking particularly splendid in the sunshine.  So a photo is a good way to do the sharing!

{Photo taken looking across the valley)


Hendrik Morkel said...

It is sometimes an easy decision, and sometimes not - to walk alone or to walk with someone. Best is to walk with someone you know, and the trade-off of less wildlife seen is OK if good conversations can be had, and the sights can be enjoyed together.

I usually walk alone, and it is very pleasant - no one to keep up with, to be friendly to, no need to talk, and one can just completely selfishly enjoy oneself. Also if one doesn't enjoy oneself, you can just turn around and go home, and don't need to bother with what others want.

That said, both can be good, and I was lucky thus far that the majority of my trips with others were in great company!

Laura said...

Thanks for your comment Hendrik. I agree with all your points.
My solo walking started when I couldn't find anyone to go with me. It was go out alone or not at all! Then I discovered the advantages.
I, too, have had some tremendous days walking with friends.