Soloing Mont Blanc quite a few years ago
For the last couple of years I’ve been giving occasional talks to various groups and I’ve committed myself to another soon.
To me I’ve led what seemed to be a fairly normal life, but seeing things through the eyes of others it seems less so.
Previous offerings for talks have been a trip to Nepal, climbing & trekking, and another on ‘Hidden East Lothian’, showing all the odd places, objects, and wildlife in the area that folk normally don’t see or notice.
I was asked to do another one which is coming up soon. So what to talk about – I decided on ‘Adventures’
So, first look up Adventure, how is it defined?
1a : an undertaking usually involving danger and unknown risks
b : the encountering of risks
2: an exciting or remarkable experience
Origin of ADVENTURE
Middle English aventure, chance, risk, from Anglo-French, from Vulgar Latin *adventura, from Latin adventus, past participle of advenire to arrive, from ad- + venire to come — more at come
First Known Use: 14th century
Ah yes, done a bit of this!
Looking into Tibet from Yala Peak, Nepal
Started early, with my Ma & Pa, trekking over the hills & Youth Hostelling before we were 10. Staying in odd locations around Britain and so on. By the age of 16, I’d been on a few multi day canoe/ camping trips with pals, including a canal trip with a total gale which blew canal boats out of the water, we managed to keep our tent down somehow. I’d also started climbing & mountaineering so used to hitchhike off to the hills. Me and my pals also from an earlier age used to go off on our bikes for the day & set up off road courses on old bomb sites in the city.
So when it came to a career, Outdoor Education was the thing, first as a schoolteacher, then into local authority centres. So adventure just became a normal part of life.
So now, retired I look back and realise that life has been a real adventure,
Singing & playing for the seals after a force 10 gale at sea, just below Loch Coruisk, Skye
Square Rigger, Inca – The Clipper Challange 1982
sailing in gales,
Kayaking the Falls on the River Tummel – I’m in there somewhere.
The Grade III falls at Gradtully
white water, sea and loch canoeing trips,
Wandering up the Concordia Glacier in the Alps, this was a rock bridge over a deep crevasse
Ski Mountaineering Scottish Highlands
Winter solo canoe camping & mountaineering
mountaineering (summer, winter, on ski & foot), climbing, glacier wanders, bivvying on the ice,
Cyclist’s road hazard on Mull, Scotland – a highland ‘coo’
stroking cheatahs and so on. All not at a super high level, but generally just getting out into the wilds.
Now, as I get a wee bitty older, I maybe should slow down, but to hell with that. For my 60th I did a solo road trip round California and Nevada, sleeping in the car or woods,
Climbing in Yosemite, a few hundred feet up
climbing and rafting at Yosemite, skiing down the Palisades at Lake Tahoe & meeting many interesting folk.
Six years later, I’ve cycled more than ever over the last year and am hoping to do a few ski trips into the Scottish hills this winter and the rivers are up and calling.
So where did all this thirst for adventure come from? Well both grandads were in the Merchant Navy wandering all over the world. One of them was part of an Arctic expedition to the then relatively unknown Kara Sea.
My Grandad on the Kara Sea expedition, very early 1920s
As I said my mum & dad were into cycling & youth hostelling in a big way in their youth, so some of this has rubbed off too I reckon.
So for the next 66 years – well, life’s just an adventure isn’t it?