Archive for August 15th, 2011

August 15, 2011

From austere to sublime to tragedy

by backpackingbongos

The damp chill in the air made a mockery of the fact that it was mid August.  The swirling low clouds clung to the mountain slopes, briefly revealing their presence.  We sheltered behind the ruins of the mine building, its ruined state adding a certain amount of gloom and foreboding to the surroundings.  Bellies filled we set off into the uncertainty of a complex mountain world, in search of the next feature that was clearly identifiable on the map.  The rest of the day was spent in a hidden mountain world, ragged holes in the cloud giving occasional glimpses of rock and moor.

Twenty-four hours later two men and two dogs were striding (ok slowly walking) up a high mountain ridge to the cone like summit.  The views from the isolated peak were breathtaking, large mountains in the distance framed by extensive moorland dotted with lakes.  The dogs claimed the summit as their own, their human companions sheltering from the wind to eat their sandwiches.  A great day in the mountains.

The end of the day was marred by tragedy and human stupidity.  Descending the peak we watched from a distance through binoculars as two dogs chased down and eventually killed a sheep.  The chase was prolonged and brutal, the dogs owners ending up at least a kilometre away and making no effort to descend and intervene.  The incident was reported when we got to the road, hopefully the owners have been dealt with.  The image of the sheep tumbling over cliffs now firmly imprinted in my mind.  The unnecessary suffering of an animal and the local image of hillwalkers marred.

Otherwise a fantastic weekend with great company, thanks to Pete, Fiona and Dougal for inviting me along.  I am  sure a trip report will be up on Writes of way very soon.  I’ll write one too once I have dealt with my current backlog of posts!

Amendment: Indeed there is a great account on Pete’s blog here.