What lies ahead

I hereby break my semi-unwritten rule of writing a post when I have no mountain exploit to speak of.

Soon I will be in the Lake District and able to enjoy the winter conditions, which are unusually good at the moment, and happily qualify well for summer Quality Mountain Day in the logbook, because of the extra demands of winter!

Otherwise, I am looking forward to reading more about the early Victorian pioneering mountaineers, such as Edward Whymper, which started me thinking: why it is that the modern reader is inevitably drawn back to the tales and adventures of these distant figures from the past?

For me it is to do with the spirit of adventure that infused everything to do with them. Often it seems that they climbed just because they could and because the mountains ‘were there’. They had the chance to do something new and brave and be all the better for it. Many had no ties to work because of family wealth, which seems alien in modern times, but a lifestyle which is attractive to those fettered by commitments.

They were much the same as modern mountaineers, who are draw to high peaks and obvious fault lines in rock faces. However, when I place the stories of Victorian mountaineers against the colourful photographs of modern professional climbers, with, of course, the obligatory sponsor, blog, latest equipment, somehow the allure is deadened in the latter’s case by the commercial veneer.

As has been said, mountaineering, poetry and philosophy are all intimately linked, and I hope to explore more of this and other themes in the future.

In terms of future walking aside from the Lakes, a return visit to North Wales is planned for the end of January, this time to the Ogwen Valley, and then a special treat in February – a week of winter mountaineering in Scotland. I am hoping that the present snow and ice will give a good foundation to conditions in the New Year.

For the moment, I would like to quote from Blake, the very inspiration for the title of this blog and well overdue an appearance. I have chosen his poem Memory because I like the contrast of day and night, happiness and sadness and its carefree nature for the most part.

Memory, hither come, 
And tune your merry notes;
And, while upon the wind
Your music floats,

I’ll pore upon the stream
Where sighing lovers dream,
And fish for fancies as they pass
Within the watery glass.

I’ll drink of the clear stream,
And hear the linnet’s song;
And there I’ll lie and dream
The day along:

And, when night comes, I’ll go
To places fit for woe,
Walking along the darken’d valley
With silent Melancholy.
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