The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

A Major Gear Failure – And A Major Omission


Random photo: the radar station atop Great Dun Fell, as we saw (or didn’t see) it in 2008

At a ridiculously early hour of yesterday (Monday) morning, I drove Mick to the local train station for him to await the first of a series of trains that would see him arrive in Appleby just before noon, for him to continue his Pennine Way jaunt that started in that lovely weather in July.

He phoned me today and, with a solemnity to his voice, told me of a “major kit failure”. My mind was racing as to what critical item it could be and how he would cope without it; I was visualising an accident involving a foot-long gash in his tent, or something similar. It turned out be his MP3 player, which froze and refused to come back to life. He likes his audio books when he’s walking by himself, so it was a sad loss for him, but a relief to me that it wasn’t anything serious.

After talking to him, I came into the living room and my eyes happened upon a set of printed maps sitting on the sofa. I wasn’t alarmed. From where I am currently sitting (in my favourite armchair), I can see no fewer than seven piles of printed maps (which does suggest that I need to do a bit of tidying in here!), but their position on the sofa did pique my curiosity as to what they were.

Yep – they were Mick’s Pennine Way maps. I phoned him and asked if he was missing some maps. “Funny you should ask” he said “I’ve just been searching and can’t seem to find them”.

So, he will be continuing north with no MP3 player and with no maps save for the electronic ones on his phone. Ooops.

Mick texted yesterday to say “Someone’s put a bloody great golf ball on top of Great Dun Fell!” I’ve borrowed this photo from Mark Moxon, but I imagine that it shows the view as Mick saw it yesterday, which is quite a contrast to the snap at the top of the post!


  1. I thought you were going to say he'd forgotten to take tea with him....!


    1. Now that would have been the ultimate of disasterous omissions wouldn't it?

  2. Oh dear and oh dear! You definitely need to go and rescue him...

    1. Preferably: a) remembering to pick up the maps; and b) remembering to hand over the maps!

  3. In March, I left my compass behind. Doh!

    1. It's always possible that he forgot his compass too. In the absence of his maps, he probably hasn't even checked for its presence.

      As I've pointed out to Mick before (when I've forgotten something), it's all very well having a checklist, but if you're convinced that the item in question is already in your pack, then the checklist doesn't help.