Not going the extra mile

Posted by @ 9:16 pm on Saturday 30th April, 2011.

One of the minor hassles of being a "bagger" of Wainwrights is that there are times when I'm up on the fells and I get to thinking "I'm happy, I've done enough, I don't really fancy going up that next bit just for the sake of another tick on a list". At the time it seems the right thing to do, there's no point in over-stretching, it takes the fun out of it. After all, we've probably all heard, and possibly even used, phrases like "the hills will still be there tomorrow". Fell-walking is supposed to be about pleasure, not pressure.

Trouble is, it plays with my mind, especially straight after the choice becomes irrevocable, usually on the walk-out. Those nagging thoughts that it would have been easy, that I've let myself down, that I'll have to walk large bits again for less gain. It needles me, it makes me regretful, and eventually it starts to rob me of the pleasure that I thought I'd had.

The problems become even more apparent later when an OCD ticker such as myself, 200 miles away from the fells, looks at the map and at the "to do" list and thinks...

  • twice I've been up Skiddaw and twice I've not continued northwards that extra mile to visit Bakestall...
  • if I'd detoured the extra mile to Lonscale Fell the first time I went up Skiddaw, I wouldn't have had to go up there again last week...
  • if I'd just walked that extra mile further during the 2008 wildcamp with Chris, I would have got to Shipman Knotts...
  • if my mind hadn't been preoccupied with other things, I wouldn't have turned back half a mile short of Green Crag way back in 2006...
  • if I'd been a bit more strict with myself, I wouldn't have declined the half-mile detour to Rest Dodd during the 2007 wildcamp with Chris...
  • the further mile or so from there to The Nab would have been doable too...
  • and as for the first two circuits of Seat Sandal, before the third attempt when I actually did reach the top, the less said, the better.

So now, apart from a couple of decent-length walks during each of which I can pull in a handful of currently-unascended tops, I'm left with several singletons or pairs of unvisited short-walk fells, linked only to places that I've trodden before. "Fragmented" is the word that springs to mind.

I suppose that a weekend dedicated solely to nabbing these scattered things would be effective, but there'd be as much time spent driving as would be spent walking - where's the fun in that?


Rest Dodd


Maybe I should simply stop being a bagger, bin the list and just walk for the hell of it.

Mind you, I'm only 20 shy of the finish - that's the stats-equivalent of the last mile...

Maybe a beer would help?

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4 Responses to “Not going the extra mile”

  1. alan.sloman says:

    Oh dear! Fell about laughing here, Stef!

    About fifteen years ago I rang my mate up to ask him which of the Cairngorm tops we did back in the summer of 1975. (We had spent two glorious weeks in the 'gorms after I got my A level results and did squillions of them). Straight away, Bob said "Al, don't even go there." He knew what I was working on as I had just clambered up a few more Scottish Hills on one of my early TGO Challenges. "Don't even start down that road. You'll never manage the Inaccessible Pinnacle with your rotten head for heights."

    And so I sat back, had a few slugs of a really nice red, and agreed with him. There was absolutely no chance of me ever compleating the things because of the giddier ones, so absolutely no point in starting as I would forever hate myself for not finishing what I had set out to do.

    However, every now and then, I do find myself looking at the map and mentally ticking a few more off. That's when I go back to the settee and pour myself another glass of red.

  2. BG! says:

    Great story, Alan, and thanks for the advice - I'll try the vino, as beer ain't cutting it 🙂

    I'm forever grateful that, like you, I had the fortitude to resist the attractions of Munro-bagging - if I'd succumbed, the transport costs alone would have been prohibitive and the venture doomed to failure. To make absolutely sure that I was never tempted, I sent my copy of the hallowed "Tables" to Scotland, hopefully Duncan (AktoMan) is making good use of it.

    I've often wondered if any non-UK countries have nationals that have such a bizarre passion for listing and then obsessing about ascending their own high places. I'd imagine that the Dutch have it easy...

  3. Sheila says:

    LOL with you guys! I'll join you in your beer and wine and forget about counting! Every so often I think about counting Munros, but then I think "Why?"

  4. BG! says:

    Pull up a seat and raise yer glass, Sheila 🙂

    I'd managed to put the matter out of mind for the last few days, but then my better half announced that she'd studied the map and had devised some "options"...

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