The very big and the very small.
By exploring the mountains that surround us in Scotland we get to feel the immense scale of the landscape, the power of the weather, and the never-ending nature of wildness, that can give us a proper sense of scale as well as our vulnerability in it.
In his book Beyond Adventure, Colin Mortlock talks about the value of adventure in Nature. He relates this contradiction of scale to snowflakes. Each one of us is as unique as a snow flake and beautiful in our own way. Collectively though we can feel insignificantly small, just one tiny part of a much bigger thing. We are each unique and we all have a unique role to play in life, but it is good to remember that everyone else is also unique and on the scale of the whole snow pack our significance is very small.
Colin Mortlock goes on to say “The more effort you have to make, the more exposed you are to the influences of Nature and the greater the likelihood of being aware of its beauty. What this implies is that the greater the self-sufficiency and the fewer the barriers imposed by equipment and man-made features the greater the potential for heightened awareness. Being alone can further increase this awareness. These factors all point to the value of simplicity rather than complexity as an approach to life.”
We need determination, self-discipline, an open and inquisitive mind that is ready to learn from experiences and we need to work hard. We need to take on risk, measure it and manage it so that we are challenged but not being reckless. We need to be honest to ourselves about our capability and not measure ourselves up to other people and their capabilities.
I go to the wild to be put in my place, to be battered and
embraced by wind, rain and sun;
I go to the wild to be reminded of what matters in this world;
I go to the wild to remember who I am;
I go to the wild to feel;
I go to the wild.
R. Bradley 25th April 2017
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Self reliance is a fundamental principle of mountaineering. By participating we accept this and take responsibility for the decisions we make. These blog posts and conditions reports are intended to help you make good decisions. They do not remove the need for you to make your own judgements when out in the hills.