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Three uncommon hill errors

Three uncommon hill errors


Postby weedavie » Wed Sep 09, 2020 6:10 pm

In the last month I've encountered, or carried out myself, hill behaviour with ill consequences.

The latest one, which made three and triggered the urge to write, was not checking navigation equipment. Good weather forecasting has made navigation easier, we can mostly see where we're going. Twenty years ago, it was anyone's guess what you went out in. I remember one year that started and I'd visibility on just one of my first fifteen summits. Now we can identify weather opportunities and navigational equipment goes unused. So when I pulled out my compass last week, I'd not used it in a while and I was disturbed to find it had been leaking and the bubble was now huge.
IMG_0132.JPG
It still pointed north, if I held it very carefully, but at a critical point I didn't and I headed off at 90 degrees to my route. There was decent visibility and I saw a trig point which let me correct but it was not a good moment. When you're using your equipment infrequently you should still check it works.

Then there was that spectacular lightning storm and rain last month. I was caught out in it in Clais Fhearnaig above Glen Lui and riding my bike as if pursued by orcs. No ill resulted but the next morning, cycling to Braemar I encountered this scene.
IMG_0055.jpg
The lad with the tent had skipped across the Dee the previous day to camp on the island. At 4 a.m. his tent was practically the only bit of the island above water level and he called the emergency services. Fortunately that was high water. I chatted to the Fire Brigade, who were cheerfully awaiting equipment to retrieve him.

Thirdly, I was walking in the Borders above Lauder. I met a lad pushing an electric bike and when I asked what was wrong, he told me he’d broken his chain. Well I let him know that when the Lord arrives on his fiery chariot, there ain’t gonna be no place among the e-lect for sinners on e-bikes. This didn’t make much sense to him. I established he’d no useful repair tools and while he appeared to have been following a route on his phone, he couldn’t navigate his way out of this problem. I pointed him to a green track where he could freewheel to a tarred road that would let him freewheel into Lauder. The thing is that sometime in the next year, this is going to happen deep in the Cairngorms, maybe for something trivial as a puncture. Then it’ll be a call to MR. They ought to refer it to the AA for roadside assistance but instead they’ll have to mount a rescue.

All odd errors, all avoidable by carrying the right equipment (or listening to a forecast).
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Re: Three uncommon hill errors

Postby Sgurr » Wed Sep 09, 2020 9:05 pm

Glad they are uncommon.
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Re: Three uncommon hill errors

Postby KatTai » Wed Sep 09, 2020 10:07 pm

I found my compass had cracked and was unusable when I was checking kit before a walk, bit of a detour to get another one before my walk. No idea how long it had been damaged for! Now thinking it could be worth getting another one to go in the padded first aid kit where it should be safe from knocks.
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Re: Three uncommon hill errors

Postby Caberfeidh » Thu Sep 10, 2020 6:16 am

Wee Mad Tony The Pyromaniac once regaled me with a tale of his mate who had hiked all the way to a Cairngorm bothy then found that his bottle of whisky had smashed in his rucksack, soaking his kit and denying him a dram for the entire weekend! When Wee Mad Tony and I got to our bothy of choice, it turned out that HIS bottle had broken in his rucksack, soaking his kit and denying him a dram for the entire weekend! Well, I could not very well share mine, could I ? Terrible, it was, to see his pitiful wee face watching me as I enjoyed a dram of Gordon Highlanders Blend.
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Re: Three uncommon hill errors

Postby Sunset tripper » Thu Sep 10, 2020 7:21 am

Caberfeidh wrote:Wee Mad Tony The Pyromaniac once regaled me with a tale of his mate who had hiked all the way to a Cairngorm bothy then found that his bottle of whisky had smashed in his rucksack, soaking his kit and denying him a dram for the entire weekend! When Wee Mad Tony and I got to our bothy of choice, it turned out that HIS bottle had broken in his rucksack, soaking his kit and denying him a dram for the entire weekend! Well, I could not very well share mine, could I ? Terrible, it was, to see his pitiful wee face watching me as I enjoyed a dram of Gordon Highlanders Blend.


Did he set you on fire while you were sleeping? :D
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Re: Three uncommon hill errors

Postby CharlesT » Thu Sep 10, 2020 10:29 am

Is anyone really without a compass these days?

My tally on the hill is five. My bog standard Silva compass, one on my GPS, one on my GPS enabled watch, one on my smartphone and one in a little pouch with a swiss army knife, a tiny torch and small compass and map measuring device.

Doesn't stop me getting lost, but that's another story.
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Re: Three uncommon hill errors

Postby Paul Webster » Thu Sep 10, 2020 10:38 am

The bubbles eventually seems to ruin to all my compasses. So I'm hoping it's not that uncommon!
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Re: Three uncommon hill errors

Postby Glengavel » Thu Sep 10, 2020 11:17 am

Caberfeidh wrote:Wee Mad Tony The Pyromaniac once regaled me with a tale of his mate who had hiked all the way to a Cairngorm bothy then found that his bottle of whisky had smashed in his rucksack, soaking his kit and denying him a dram for the entire weekend! When Wee Mad Tony and I got to our bothy of choice, it turned out that HIS bottle had broken in his rucksack, soaking his kit and denying him a dram for the entire weekend! Well, I could not very well share mine, could I ? Terrible, it was, to see his pitiful wee face watching me as I enjoyed a dram of Gordon Highlanders Blend.


Sounds like he got off lucky. 8)
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Re: Three uncommon hill errors

Postby Sgurr » Thu Sep 10, 2020 1:11 pm

Don't you send these faulty compasses back to Silva? They will remagnetise at no cost if the polarity changes.
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Re: Three uncommon hill errors

Postby prog99 » Thu Sep 10, 2020 1:36 pm

Correct, you read out the code etched on the base of it and that tells them if it’s a warranty job. Mine got bubbles and they arranged for me to pick up a new one from Tito.
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Re: Three uncommon hill errors

Postby Marty_JG » Thu Sep 10, 2020 4:18 pm

CharlesT wrote:Is anyone really without a compass these days?


Thousands of compasses in nature: north is the side of the tree with the moss on.
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Re: Three uncommon hill errors

Postby al78 » Thu Sep 10, 2020 4:53 pm

Marty_JG wrote:
CharlesT wrote:Is anyone really without a compass these days?


Thousands of compasses in nature: north is the side of the tree with the moss on.


Not much use if you are on the Cairngorm plateau, or any region devoid of trees.
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Re: Three uncommon hill errors

Postby Marty_JG » Thu Sep 10, 2020 4:55 pm

al78 wrote:
Marty_JG wrote:
CharlesT wrote:Is anyone really without a compass these days?


Thousands of compasses in nature: north is the side of the tree with the moss on.


Not much use if you are on the Cairngorm plateau, or any region devoid of trees.


Simply stand-still long enough for moss to form. (Do I have to think of everything?!) :lol:
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Re: Three uncommon hill errors

Postby Sgurr » Thu Sep 10, 2020 5:11 pm

I remember seeing an entertaining documentary where someone's theory that humans had an inbuilt direction finder was tested by putting a whole load of people in a forest (for some reason some were in tin hats to "block out the magnetism"). and see if they could find their way back to base. The upshot was that humans DON'T. This did not deter the theorist who thought that they DID, but living in towns for too long had made people forget how to use it..
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Re: Three uncommon hill errors

Postby midge airsupport » Thu Sep 10, 2020 5:15 pm

Simply stand-still long enough for moss to form

might be slightly quicker trying to spot the sun rising in the east
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