How did you start?

How, why and when did you start hill walking.

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27/01/2012 at 11:42
Reading a post earlier of someone who wants to start out on their first hill in mid winter on Snowdon I wondered how we all got into hill walking. We all give advice but how did we learn to do it ourselves. I'm interested is all...
27/01/2012 at 11:53

I really don't remember actually starting. My parents just took us out places as a kid and we all just walked. It kind of developed into what I do now. Kind of slipped from toddling around as a toddler to my current potterings around the fells. A gradual diffusion over time.

The one thing I would say is my knowledge and experience was won with people more knowledgable and experienced than me. I learnt by doing and watching what others did. That started with my Dad and ended up with people in BMC affiliated clubs finishing me off. Also a bit of learn by error. Always good to get out with more experienced people in your early days in the hills. To be recommended to all.

27/01/2012 at 11:58
I used to go wandering around taking my ( or a ) dog for a walk, now I'll go wandering around looking for sheilings and quiet often go to the top of a hill to see if I can get a photo of the view to put in here or on a website.
27/01/2012 at 12:00

Slowly a bit at a time, usually with a more experienced friend, sometimes trying stuff then backing off, and the occasional epic.  Experience by definition takes time and can't be obtained on a weekend course, as valuable as these are for getting specific skills.

40+ years after my first summit at age 13 with scouts (Cadar Idris) I am still learning.

What worries me most about folk who do stuff for Charridee is that the fund raising is the  focus.  It also pisses me off that some folk don't see my love of the hills as having any value unless it is done in a 'good cause'.

They often go off and choose a challenge without any real knowledge of what the challenge really involves and then get focused on raising money on a specific date, whether or not it is suitable. It is actually quite remarkeable that there are not more incidents to be honest.

Steve D

Not all those who wander are lost.

27/01/2012 at 12:05

Guess I started out twice, once as a teenager after going on a week of outward bound stuff at Dorset Youth Association's centre at Baggator, Dartmoor after O levels and then becoming a volunteer staff member. Then I went to college and didn't do much except work.

20 years later I went on an organised walking holiday in various National Parks in the S.W of the USA, came back and found Outdoors Magic (Google has a lot to answer for!) Learned skills through going walking and camping with other OMers, going on some nav courses, the OM winter skills courses, and just over a year ago the summer ML training course.

Courses are good, but the experience I've been able to acquire through walking with friends and solo has been vital.

27/01/2012 at 12:06
Well my non-walking friends think I am mad. I mean fancy camping out on a hill with an amazing sunset or sunrise or both when there is a nice travellodge near Manchester where you can crash for £10pppn after getting trolleyed in some club spending £100 on booze then not even remembering it all!! No contest really...
Edited: 27/01/2012 at 12:08
27/01/2012 at 12:23
In summer 2009 I decided it was about time that I gave myself a holiday (I hadn't been 'away' anywhere for twenty-five years), so I bought some cheap kit and spent a few days camping near Brecon, with walks that retraced my A level Geography field trip routes.

Then on up to Rhayader for a week's walking before heading further northwards to a site just outside Betws y Coed for a couple of days. There I met up with friends who live on Anglesey and 'did' Snowdon for the first time via Y Lliwedd.

I was hooked. Can't (and don't) get enough good hill walking. I've been slowly expanding my kit ever since, both new and from fleabay. I do find it difficult to justify the petrol money travelling from Wiltshire, but may be Snowdonia again in a couple of weeks.
27/01/2012 at 12:25
I started with my family from an early age then progressed to actual map reading and bigger hills when my brother came out of the Army about 20 years ago.

That was when the bug really hit and my husband and I discovered NWales, the Lakes and Scotland. I've done numerous courses in the Army and at Plas y Brenin and now have my ML. My hubby is still better at nav though and always finds us on the map when I get geographically challenged. I've been very fortunate in being able to go further than I would have as I've had very experienced mountaineers to push me and show me the way. Left to my own devices though I prefer a mid level long walk with a nice picnic lunch

It's hard to get out on the hills though as we live 'down south' and sail all summer. It tends to be a winter thing for us which is best as we miss the crowds.

I too have friends that really can't understand the delights of camping on Dartmoor in January compared to an all inclusive in Egypt.
27/01/2012 at 12:41

Metric Kate wrote (see)

Guess I started out twice, once as a teenager after going on a week of outward bound stuff at Dorset Youth Association's centre at Baggator, Dartmoor after O levels and then becoming a volunteer staff member. Then I went to college and didn't do much except work.

Courses are good, but the experience I've been able to acquire through walking with friends and solo has been vital.

I was a bit like that

 Started doing D of E as a teenager, went on to be assessor and instructor, expedition and climbing - I took up climbing as the physical section.

All stopped due to family commitments and then fell in with a bad crowd by taking up golf - it suited my job etc.

Then 3 years I did the Charity thing PING- LIGHT BULB MOMENT.

Flogged all my golf gear - literally and haven't looked back.

I wouldn't go back to D of E just because of the politics and bureaucracy etc. Not to mention I would have to do ML again. (It was that long ago)

Discovered OM when looking for a dating site - not really My first meet was last week, The result is you will now  see all my gear for sale on classified .

In honesty, It was good to find "some good company" is about. 

Look forward to next meet

27/01/2012 at 16:04
I used to go to North Wales with my parents. We did quite a lot of walking, but didn't really climb any mountains. Then I went to University in Sheffield, where it's quite difficult not to get addicted to walking and climbing.

At that time (early 70's) the various University walking/climbing clubs had several people, such as Roger Baxter-Jones and Martin Moran, who were busy fitting in the occasional lecture as part of their studies in advanced Alpinism. Thus getting addicted wasn't too hard.
27/01/2012 at 16:20
Mr Adams our P.E teacher took us onto Dartmoor a few times and I've been pretty much hooked eversine.
27/01/2012 at 16:39
Did the Pennine Way when I was sixteen. Five of us started, two dropped out on day one, one after seven days and two of us finished....then did the coast-to-coast as we were 'in the area'...

I've not been out since
27/01/2012 at 16:49

Grew up poaching for fish, rabbits, the odd deer, so was sleeping out from an early age.  Without any proper gear. My dad used to take us on 'proper' walks into the hills. but it was a geography teacher at secondary school who got me into map-reading. Even to this day, i start crying when i hear the words' do you want to see my compass'.

27/01/2012 at 19:36

Did Lyke wake Walk in the seventies and then big gap till the nineties till I went out twice a year with a works group, lots of football and marathon running in betweeen. At 60 resigned job to enjoy life. Read Ray Jardines Beyond Backpacking before starting serious walking and have been honing my gear ever since.

27/01/2012 at 19:47

Didn't do anything like when I was a kid - not my family's bag.

Being a 'forces brat' & my family being abroad I had to come to the UK to go to boarding school. Heavily into football, rugby, cricket but I wasn't any good  Wasn't particularly good academically either so I wasn't one of the golden boys. They always put a team into the Ten Tors & I really fancied it. The selection process was to be up an hour before reveille & run around the school ground several times a week with those coming last eliminated until there were 10 boys left from which the final team of 6 were selected.  One thing I could do was distance run & me an an equally unsporty pal got through to the last 10.  We didn't get picked & it's reckon it's cos we didn't have our colours for other sports.

In the summer holidays the two of us went to Dartmoor anyway - with one rucsac & one duffel bag & whatever gear we could scrap together & had an excellent week - the drought summer of 1976.  I was 14 & didn't know my own country  - it was a fantastic experience.  

We decided to do the Pennine Way the following year, as my parents were now in the UK   We talked about it with the teachers who ran the Ten Tors team & were told we had no chance - too difficult, didn't know what we were letting ourselves in for.  Of course we did it without mishap.   On returning to school after the holiday we informed the teachers of our success & they flat refused to believe us!  Tw*ts!

Left school, knew few people in the UK, spent a lot of my early wages on decent gear as I was living at home (parents back in UK) & spent my holidays backpacking solo.  Joined the backpackers club, got a different job with folk who walked & climbed& went from there.

So I have my school to thank.  Semper Fidelis! 

If you shared that motto & know of a certain General G give me a shout (Mac?) - unless you were a teacher there during my time in which case you can f*ck off!

Sorry - feel better for that! 

Edited: 27/01/2012 at 19:53
27/01/2012 at 19:55

Nice story Ross.

27/01/2012 at 20:11

IIRC there was a thread like this not too long ago.

 Anyway, 13yr 'city boy' out on Outward Bound Course, never been out of city before!!

 Whole new world/experiance, I loved it and wanted more. Unfourtunatly, no Scouts, BB, Cadets, etc. that I could "safely" get to, (Belfast in the 70's wasn't a place to be 'out of your area').

 So, I got the gear I'd seen the instructors wearing, got the bus to Newcastle, (Mournes area) and either asked peeps I saw heading off if I could 'tag' along, or went out on my own. Lots of mistakes, close calls, but I learned as went.

 At 17.5yr I took the Queen's shilling and learned from the best in the world.

Always carry a flagon of whiskey in case of snake bite..... and furthermore always carry a small snake.   W.C.FIELDS.

Walk, climb, camp. Just get out there


27/01/2012 at 20:17
I grew up in a flat country and was always fascinated by high places and wild places too.

Did a fair bit of backpacking when younger but apart from Ben Nevis and one or two hills didn't go up any big hills till 15 years ago.

I had taken my young son camping in North Wales and we went on the train up Snowdon. Although we had return tickets we walked down from Clogwyn (train couldn't go all the way up). We had food in Pete's Eats where I saw a large photo of Castell y Gwynt. I couldn't believe that was in Wales and vowed to see it one day as well as walk up Snowdon.

8/9 years later we planned our 'first' mountain walk; Arenig Fawr. We ended up walking up Arenig in snowy conditions and decided to go up Snowdon the day after. No winter gear but we got up and down safely. We also visited Castell y Gwynt both in winter and summer, amazing!

My younger son who 'hates mountains and never wants to go up mountains again' said the magic words the other day; "when are we going up a mountain again?"
The older boy broke his foot badly goofing around last year so is not able to do much for a while.
27/01/2012 at 20:20
huskyman wrote (see)

 (Belfast in the 70's wasn't a place to be 'out of your area').

It was if you had a SLR.

27/01/2012 at 20:26
MfD, you might find a few peeps, with 7 mates, all with SLR's who may disagree!!!

Always carry a flagon of whiskey in case of snake bite..... and furthermore always carry a small snake.   W.C.FIELDS.

Walk, climb, camp. Just get out there


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