Posts Tagged ‘exploration’

Corona Chronicles Eight: GETTING LOST

I was reading The Guardian (30 March 2020, page 28), and was hit by the headline, “Mobiles mean children will no longer be free to get lost – Attenborough”. The article begins “Children will never again know true freedom because mobile phones mean they cannot get lost, David Attenborough has said.” Further on, he explains that this is something that those of us who are pre-mobile may have experienced, but is unlikely to be experienced by today’s teenagers,

In my most recent experience of being lost, I had a mobile with a map, but no compass. I was going to a conference in London and full of false confidence, I had booked an Uber Taxi. I departed the station and looked for a road sign, but could see none. I wondered around. On the map I could see a ‘blob’ moving, but I couldn’t work out where I was and I couldn’t orientate the map as the sun was obscured. I could feel a panic rising and decided to get a coffee and ask for help. I ordered another taxi, this time confident …. only to see it disappearing into the distance, as I hobbled after it, trying to attract the driver’s attention. I felt tearful. I gave it one more try and this time was rescued. It was a sobering moment. I might be able to navigate across the world, through forests and in mountains, but in an alien environment, the city, I am lost.

Port Quin. The Headland from the window.

Recently, pre- isolation, I went with a friend to Port Quin on the north Cornish, and looked longingly as the sunset over the headland. The next night I commented that I thought I could walk as far as that, but that I might be slow. “We must leave now, to get there and have time to get back before the light goes completely.” She was bemused that I could be so direct. She is not an outdoor person and said that outdoor people develop an innate knowledge of being on and moving through the environment. How could I work out. by looking at a map and the landscape, the time required? How would I know about the time it would take for the sun to move below the horizon? How could I judge that we would have enough ‘night sight’ to return to the cottage? This amused me.

The Headland at sun sets

I am a Duke of Edinburgh Award expedition assessor, working mainly in the New Forest. I think it is this innate way of being in the outdoors that we are encouraging, along with many other things. I am always heartened when young people get lost and manage to sort out their position and put themselves back on the right track. I am also surprised at the numbers of adults I meet who seek reassurance from me, that they are on the right track, when faced with being a few metres from a carpark. Let’s hope that post-lockdown we will again be able to access the outdoors and have the valuable experience of getting lost and then finding ourselves …. and congratulate others when they experience the joy of this simple event.

The DofE group is ready to move off!

Corona Chronicles Five: NEW EXPLORATIONS

Arrival on Skye

There is some good TV on this morning. I’ve just watch the climbing of the Cioch on Skye, in the manner of Collie and Mackenzie, who pioneered the first route in 1906. (Coast on BBC2) I am in awe that anyone could venture on rock in such clothing and with nailed boots. This opened into an exploration into some of our climbing guidebooks. I can visualise many hours being filled in the future weeks exploring these guides and drifting into reliving memories and friendships.


Alongside the Scottish guides was an aged climbing guide to Malta. Ian and I ventured there after he came across a late 1940’s guide, that had been his uncle’s. It had instructions like “climb from the plane’s wheel to the Spitfire engine” – both humorous and sobering. I wish I could find that booklet. So many memories tied up on the book shelves … and some people wonder why I love books.

Books and Maps


…. and I’m now watching a programme about a research plot of daffodils in the Brecon Beacons. (A to Z of TV Gardening on BBC2) A liquid is being extracted which can probably delay the development of Alzheimer’s. Amazing! Warning – do not liquidise your own daffs – this is being researched, trialed and prescribed under strict medical research conditions.

I’ve just made a discovery. I was enjoying my late breakfast/elevensees of apple and yoghurt and sprinkled some rice crisps on the yoghurt and it DIDN’T snap, crackle and pop! The things you can discover right here in the house.

The Garden, March, 2020

It’s time to go out past the tulips and wallflowers to the rowing machine. Today I’m feeling mere energised, although my knee is playing up. I’m hoping to try to make up the distance that I missed out on yesterday. In my mind I’m heading along the shore, still on my way to Southampton Water. It’s a beautiful sunny day, so I’m hoping the going will be easier, provided that my volunteer cox and the fishing friend don’t slow me up too much. It is so good to get feedback from friends, who are reading this blog. Thanks. it raises my spirits and I hope this will raise yours.

Breakwater
Solent Gull