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Isonod- a line joining equal altitudes above which ...

Isonod- a line joining equal altitudes above which ...


Postby brianloudon » Sun Apr 05, 2020 8:40 am

The ISONOD - A whimsical observation.

A line joining equal altitudes above which hill walkers nod, wave, chat or otherwise greet each other and below which communication is not engaged in as people consciously look the other way.

I’ve often remarked on this invisible line. In the old normal, for example, in the Pentlands I observed it to occur somewhere between the top of Turnhouse Hill and the car park at Flotterstone. I would often test my observation by bidding a cheery hello to other walkers, whether they wanted to engage in conversation or not. Actually the more determined they appeared to be to avoid eye contact, the cheerier the greeting.

It can move with time. The first time (1981, I think) that I climbed Ben Lawers it was about 10m east of the, then, visitor centre. When I climbed it in September 2019, from the An Stuc side, it was about 10m east of the summit.

I’ve seen the isonod drop to lower altitudes before - the Beast from the East being a case in point. I’m delighted to note that it currently, in Covid-19 shut-down crisis, seems to be well below the 50m contour, and has been on most of my recent local excursions to the shop, round the block to stretch my legs, etc. I’m prepared to accept that the recent observations have not been extensive (!) but long may social interaction continue, albeit at least 2m physically distant for the time being.
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Re: Isonod- a line joining equal altitudes above which ...

Postby Caberfeidh » Sun Apr 05, 2020 8:49 am

Canoeists seem to have a similar thing; I'm not sure how it works but when I was canoeing in Loch Eishort a group of kayakers came past within spitting distance - and I should have - I said hello and smiled cheerily; they all turned their noses up and outwards, pretending not to see me. I said hello louder and they still ignored me. Perhaps I was wearing the wrong brand of bouyancy aid... :shock:
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Re: Isonod- a line joining equal altitudes above which ...

Postby CharlesT » Sun Apr 05, 2020 8:54 am

brianloudon wrote:The ISONOD - A whimsical observation.

A line joining equal altitudes above which hill walkers nod, wave, chat or otherwise greet each other and below which communication is not engaged in as people consciously look the other way.

I’ve often remarked on this invisible line. In the old normal, for example, in the Pentlands I observed it to occur somewhere between the top of Turnhouse Hill and the car park at Flotterstone. I would often test my observation by bidding a cheery hello to other walkers, whether they wanted to engage in conversation or not. Actually the more determined they appeared to be to avoid eye contact, the cheerier the greeting.

It can move with time. The first time (1981, I think) that I climbed Ben Lawers it was about 10m east of the, then, visitor centre. When I climbed it in September 2019, from the An Stuc side, it was about 10m east of the summit.

I’ve seen the isonod drop to lower altitudes before - the Beast from the East being a case in point. I’m delighted to note that it currently, in Covid-19 shut-down crisis, seems to be well below the 50m contour, and has been on most of my recent local excursions to the shop, round the block to stretch my legs, etc. I’m prepared to accept that the recent observations have not been extensive (!) but long may social interaction continue, albeit at least 2m physically distant for the time being.


Surprised no-one's hurled a rock at you yet. 😁
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Re: Isonod- a line joining equal altitudes above which ...

Postby Mal Grey » Sun Apr 05, 2020 11:13 am

The ISONOD appears to have dropped as far down as the Surrey towpaths at the moment, possibly for the first time in living memory. :lol:


Some kayakers don't understand that paddling slowly in a canoe, whilst taking in your surroundings and quietly enjoying yourself and the countryside, is actually far superior to all that splashing and flapping trying to go faster. :wink:
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Re: Isonod- a line joining equal altitudes above which ...

Postby brianloudon » Mon Apr 06, 2020 8:31 am

Hurling a rock would be a bit hostile. There was me trying to celebrate people being nice to each other...
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Re: Isonod- a line joining equal altitudes above which ...

Postby weedavie » Mon Apr 06, 2020 1:13 pm

A great idea the isonod, and interesting how it goes up and down the hill. On the Pentlands, it may well be above the summit on Allermuir, whereas on the unappealing slopes of Black Hill it can go as low as 200 metres. Desolation makes for comradeship.

The Dun Rig circuit, starting inside a spam in Peebles, is an extreme example. It can be quite social with agricultural types quite quickly as you go to Glensax. It's comradely as you get to the 740 metre high point. One occasion I did a significant part of it on snowshoes in driven snow but descended to Gypsy Glen to encounter old ladies in support stockings walking their pekinese and offering no nods.
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Re: Isonod- a line joining equal altitudes above which ...

Postby madprof » Mon Apr 06, 2020 10:40 pm

brianloudon wrote:Hurling a rock would be a bit hostile. There was me trying to celebrate people being nice to each other...


I think they just meant due to restrictions people get upset to see others out.

I loved your post, it is an amazing observation and one that struck me as "why didn't I think of this before?"
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Re: Isonod- a line joining equal altitudes above which ...

Postby CharlesT » Mon Apr 06, 2020 11:20 pm

brianloudon wrote:Hurling a rock would be a bit hostile. There was me trying to celebrate people being nice to each other...

It does seem I have been a little misunderstood. My response was also intended as a "whimsical" observation.

Though I do go to the hills for solitude and contemplation, and other than the alpine "bonjour", response "bonjour", I find anything further an unwarranted intrusion. My perfect day would be seeing no-one, hearing no-one and speaking to no-one. (Grumpy Old Man)
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Re: Isonod- a line joining equal altitudes above which ...

Postby Gordymck » Tue Apr 07, 2020 2:05 am

It's a weird thing that, here in Glasgow if you're walking along the canal say; its all good to say hello, see the same person in the street and try that.. Wake up to a group of doctors working on you.
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Re: Isonod- a line joining equal altitudes above which ...

Postby ChrisButch » Tue Apr 07, 2020 8:01 am

Surely there's a simple formula: 200 yards from the nearest car park?
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Re: Isonod- a line joining equal altitudes above which ...

Postby Giant Stoneater » Tue Apr 07, 2020 8:30 am

Gordymck wrote:It's a weird thing that, here in Glasgow if you're walking along the canal say; its all good to say hello, see the same person in the street and try that.. Wake up to a group of doctors working on you.


Never had that problem in all the 60 years I stayed in Glasgow,i always said hello or words to that effect,whither I got a reaction or not did not bother me,some of the nutters showed more respect and sometimes a better conservation at times.
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Re: Isonod- a line joining equal altitudes above which ...

Postby gld73 » Tue Apr 07, 2020 10:38 am

I think the added complication with the isonod is that the elevation varies with time. I work 12hr day or night shifts, so 3am in the morning to me is the same as the 3pm in the afternoon depending where I am in my shift pattern. If I'm on a day off and go for a run at 12 noon, I would have to be in the forestry tracks at an elevation of about 200m above Inverness to get a nod from another person out exercising. If I'm out for a run at midnight, I'll get a nod not much above sea level on the Inverness southern distributor road.

The isonod map would have to be quite dynamic. But I do like the concept.... :lol:
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Re: Isonod- a line joining equal altitudes above which ...

Postby mynthdd2 » Tue Apr 07, 2020 4:58 pm

Interesting idea though I will still stick to the time honoured ‘isobar’ which of course is a line joining a lot of pubs
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Re: Isonod- a line joining equal altitudes above which ...

Postby CharlesT » Tue Apr 07, 2020 6:01 pm

mynthdd2 wrote:Interesting idea though I will still stick to the time honoured ‘isobar’ which of course is a line joining a lot of pubs


Presumably that is a staggered line? 😀
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Re: Isonod- a line joining equal altitudes above which ...

Postby mynthdd2 » Tue Apr 07, 2020 6:41 pm

its contoured - sort of
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