Friday, 21 October 2011

Ghostly happenings

Living as I do in a very old building, inevitably noises are constantly echoing through the walls- the mice do add to this effect. But yesturday morning I had more reason to believe in the stories about this house.

The story goes that many many years ago (like 150) the house was a coach house, and as such sold beer. One cold winter night a gentleman (of sorts) stopped by at the coach house on his way past and indulged himself in a few beers, this turned into a lot of beer. As the weather came in during this bitterly cold winters night he slouched further and further into a fuggy pit of alcohol fuelled sleep.

However as the night closed in and the dawn rose the next morning. It was to his dismay that he discovered his daughter missing. Where was she? He searched high an low throughout the house and eventually found her propped up in the door way of the house, a snow drift acting as her blanket. But all was not well. Her cheeks were sunken and no response came to ease his frantic heart. She had died from his drunken neglect.

Anyway that is how the story goes. Now I'm not a massive believer in ghosts and ghouls and had always managed to reach a logical conclusion to the noises and shadows in the house up until yesturday. When I woke up I found a small hand print (much smaller than my hands) wiped down the window. A print that hadn't appeared ever before since I moved in (8weeks ago). There were no other signs.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011


The past weekend has tested any of my countrymen (and women) to the limit with optimisim. Wales lost the semi-final of the world cup. Massive bummer. But from this loss already, even as the final whistle was blown thoughts turned to the next stage. The fact the team is young, the 6nations will be a time for revenge, the next world cup will be won!

All this, and then going climbing on a glorious sunny day (who would have thought it!) at Tremadog had me pondering about the Welsh (in terms of rugby) and the the British (in terms of mountaineering). In this country we get 300days of rain a year (slight exaggeration for most parts but not the good ones) and yet some how the vast majority of active climbers and hill walkers get out week-in-week-out. Trying to work out how we as a nation manage to do this, the same reason keeps popping up. Optimism. People, particularly British climbers, always try to find out where the best weather for the holidays / weekend / evening / afternoon / lunch break will be and will spend any amount of money or effort to get there. 

Its crazy really, how we'll travel for hours to get a few hundred metres of climbing in. If you told a local football team to drive from London to Manchester- as that was the nearest place they could play- I'm pretty sure the team would disband rather fast. But as climbers especially those that live in the flatlands, this is what we choose to do. And if it wasn't for our eternal belief in good fortune and optimism, our game of climbing would all to quickly come crashing down.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

States of Mentality

This post will probably come out as a bit waffley but what can you do.

A few days ago I found out that a friend of mine has developed physcosis and is in intensive care after taking some unknown (to me) drugs in Amsterdam. This came as quite a shock firstly as I didn’t know what physcosis was and secondly taking drugs is part of growing up, something pretty normal amongst my generation . Testing your boundaries I guess. Ive never been a proper user, dabbling in my fresher year but nothing more. So for someone I considered mentally stable and well adjusted to basically lose the plot was quite a shock.

So with all these thoughts wirring through my head up here in the wet, lonely, empty hills of North Wales I began piecing together stuff in my own head about peoples states of mind and how they vary from person to person and that very often it is these states of mind that dictate our paths not out societal constraints (although these often affect out minds) or physical limitations. On a minibus ride to the coast on the way to work I was talking to some guys from work about stuff like this and one of them described a story which I feel helps describe how much peoples minds vary and its this variety that brings life the spice that it needs..

When he was younger he was known as a bit of a nut job, not having any fear and doing stuff for the craic. So a friend of his wanted to see if he could freak him out in his new car. He got in the car and drove around the lanes of Snowdonia at break neck speed. Pushing and pushing the limits of what he as the driver and the car could take. When both gave out and could go no further he pulled in.
 Turning to Dave he told him what his plan had been.
To which Dave said plainly “You could have crashed for all I cared”.

It was this statement that got me thinking. This was someone who had kayaked off the waterfall round the back of joe browns in capel curig, something people couldn’t understand not because of his physical state (he likes a beer and a pie) but his mental state when he did it. He must have honestly, deep down not cared whether he lived or died. And that not caring allows people to achieve such incredible things that it begs the question what could I and many people achieve if we gave up holding onto the belief that we are something special, our lives worth more than just to reproduce. To get a state of mentality where we can achieve what me most desire. Because in the end our lives can only be measured in the number of people we have touched, the memories in others we instill.

Getting back on track. Up here in the Cott I get a lot of time on my own, a lot of time to think and be on my own walking in the hills. Feeling the rain and wind lash against my skin. Something my friend probably won’t feel for a while, something that he probably won’t miss. But I hope he does I hope he gets his mind back, and gets back out on the crags soon. Theres a hole in the scene that wont be filled.