Wednesday, August 5

TGO Magazine - September

Arriving home this evening I found the latest copy of TGO Magazine. These days that's the only monthly walking mag subscription I still keep going.

Excellent pieces from Andy Stothert & the ever dependable Chris Townsend reflecting on the mental side of being out on the hills alone. Chris in particular mirrors many of my own feelings on the subject of solo backpacking, but regrettably his thoughts are drawn to a premature close after a only page & a bit.

I'm so used to the attraction of my own solitary path it always surprises me when I meet comments along the lines of "I couldn't do that.." or "Don't you find it lonely/scary/dangerous".

Simple answer - No.

I assess my risks, and act accordingly.

But am I so alone (no pun intended) in preferring a solo approach?

I know there's a few of my fellow Bloggers (Dawn for example) that seek similar escape from the mass of humanity & the detritus that seems to come with it. But in general outdoor activity and groups tend to go together.

Which always seems a shame to me.

There's things I've seen as I quietly move over the natural landscape that have had more of a deep impact than anything I've ever had whilst in a group. Indeed, at times a group would have meant that experience didn't happen, by the very nature of the group numbers, associated noise, and the various distractions of those nearby.

I entered this world alone. Undoubtedly I'll be leaving it the same way. There may be others in the vicinity at such times (Hi Mum!); But as a self aware individual consciousness that ability to exist unaided is one I care to naturally saviour.

For many, it would seem, that's a step too far.

Try it sometime. You might just find you like it once you get the taste.


One of my prime motivations is to escape the press of humanity. It is nice to meet people along the way, as long as they are walking in the other direction.
I have a foot in both camps. I loved the solitude of the northwest Highlands on my LEJOG: To sit and savour the splendid solitude in one of the world's most magnificent landscapes was a pleasure that will never leave me. It was life-changing.

I did wonder afterwards though if it would have been better to share the experience with another like-minded soul - It seemed almost selfish to have it all to myself.

But there again the person I have shared the last twenty years with, who I believed to be a 'soul-mate' in the true sense of the word, and who I would have given anything to have shared that experience with, turned out to have been carrying out her own private pleasures at the time. So that would have been a total waste then!

So - I suppose if I really had to choose now - with the benefit of hindsight - I would have enjoyed it even more being on my own!
While I lime walking in company ( particulrly with Al ...) I fid the best backpacking in on my own. Agree entirely John.
I've done a number of solo trips and as an insulin dependent diabetic such activity might be frowned upon. I've not let that hinder doing what I want to do. I enjoy trips out with groups like the Backpackers Club and have made some good friends through weekend walks. I wouldnt totally agree with Chris that walking with others is a distraction but it's adds a different dimension to the experience. Although I do agree that if you're on your own then you are going to be more focused and able to connect.
Well said John.
I too prefer 'solo' but find I am never 'alone'.
Looks like I'm not the only one then.

Fancy meeting up for a wildcamp.

Err - then again perhaps not

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