Lack of Direction

Honister to Crummock 007 blogStanding in the mist which, as it so often does here in the fells, had come down suddenly and unexpectedly, I feel as if I were in a game of blind-man’s-bluff, and with an inner chill far worse than the cold damp of the mist, I realise I’ve totally lost my sense of direction. But this is no harmless children’s game, this is dangerous, and could even be fatal, so ignoring the usual rules of blind-man’s-bluff, I stand quite still, listening while I take time to think. It would be all too easy to panic, and panic will not only rob me of any remnants of common sense, it will wipe out my memory.
Where had the sun been before the mist swept across the fell? If I can remember that, then I can turn around and know I’m facing the downward path. Which way had the wind been blowing? Was it on my left cheek, or perhaps a little from behind? I must make up my mind and then turn but only once. Changing my mind and turning again will cause me to be completely lost and lead to disaster.
What else is there which might help me find my way home? If I think back bit by bit I might remember the sequence of the last half mile or so, and that should be enough to take me below the level of this blank whiteness.
Ah yes, I crossed a trickle of water not more than a dozen paces back, and below that the narrow path passed between two large rocks, and on the right as I came up there was a fine strong rowan, covered in berries. The birds had been quarrelling noisily over the fruit. Remembering these things I wonder if sound might help – but perhaps not; mist and fog are notorious for confusing the source of sound.
If only I hadn’t left the path to sit on a rock and look at the view while I ate my snack bar and had a drink! If I were standing on the path now it would be easy to turn 180 degrees and follow the path back down. But I’m not, and vain regrets won’t get me safely down the fell; I’m beside my picnic rock, and hopefully facing the same view which I was enjoying just ten minutes ago – the view which three yards away plummets several hundred feet down into the tarn!
It’s no use saying “If only”, that’s the way to start panicking! I’ll go over it again carefully in my head and then I’ll turn. Slow steps, and not too big so that stopping will be easy. Right, I’d better make a start, it’s going to get dark before too long, and the longer I stand in this cold and damp the harder it will be to walk and think, and the more likely I am to get hypothermia.
OK, I can touch the rock with my right hand; I’ll turn round so that I can feel it with my left, then three small steps and I should feel the stone of the path under my boots, then if I carefully turn ninety degrees to the right my walking poles can help me judge the turn, I’ll lengthen them now and use them like a blind man’s stick – I should be facing the way I came.
Ignore the butterflies in your stomach, Susan, take a deep breath and do it. . .Here we go!


Comments

Lack of Direction — 1 Comment

  1. Hi Susan my first read lack of direction . Have decided an early night with my I pad to have a good read on your blog which I know I am going to enjoy . Love June X

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