I haven't forgotten you Kate, from new Zealand, you asked a question on the Castleton post, which I am happy to answer. You said, 'Dont I ever worry about walking alone? I presume you are thinking about my safety, because some of the places I go are quite isolated.
This is something which rarely crosses my mind, because the chances of meeting someone out on the hills, who is mentally deranged, is quite minimal. I'm not saying it doesn't happen, but I think I have more chance of being attacked walking around a city centre, or even my own town centre.
I have spent many years working with men, so I am a bit worldly wise. I can usually spot the warning signs when I meet someone who may not be as nice as they make out. I have a little voice inside my head, which gives me plenty of warning to scarper. In psychology they talk about fight or flight, well I do not fight. Before it gets to that stage, I fly. I trust my gut instincts, if something seems not right, I don't give it a chance to develope, I am out of there.
Basically I don't trust anyone, especially strangers that I know nothing about. My guard is never dropped, when I am out walking I am always looking behind me as well as either side and in front. If I am in a remote area I might say hello to someone as we are passing, but I soon hurry on, and always look behind to check that they are still walking in the opposite direction.
I will talk to people if I feel they are safe to talk to, like the man doing the wood carving, he was at his place of work, which was also his home. I knew he wasn't going to drag me inside. I spoke to the National Trust man while he was supervising the helicopter landing, I felt he was ok because he was working, and the helicopter came back every five minutes. I trust my own judgement.
Years ago, hitching lifts was part of my job, I delivered new vehicles. I hitched to where they were, picked them up, delivered them, and hitched back. In the three years I was doing that I only had to do a runner just once. The guy was weird, I said I needed to go behind the hedge, as soon as he stopped I was out and legged it across a field.
I take sensible precautions and don't leave myself in a vulnerable position. I am not too keen on walking through woods, a bit spooky, I try and walk round them. I always look for my escape route, just in case of an emergency, something I learnt when driving. You should always be aware of your surroundings, and know where your exit route is.
Besides, I value my freedom to roam, and no one is going to stop me. I prefer to stay in this country because I feel vulnerable if I am surrounded by people speaking a language which I don't understand. I also feel vulnerable without a map, so I take one every time. I need to know where I am at all times.
Kate, you might be asking me this question because of the possibility that I may fall, and there will be no one around to help me. All I can say about that is I carry a phone, not much good when there is no signal though, and I am very carefull not to take chances. I try to minimise the risk by knowing my capabilities, not trying anything daft, and to retreat when I feel the terrain is too dificult.
I remember some years ago the story of a female climber who fell to her death on K2. The media tore her apart for attempting the climb, and leaving her young children. They said she should have put them first and cancelled the trip. Everyone has their own reasons for doing things, it is not up to others to say how anyone should live their life. She knew the risks and she decided to take them, one human being taking responsibility for their own life. The children were brought up by their father, and possibly had a better life than a lot of children from broken homes. I remember several years later that he took them to the exact spot where their mother fell
So there you have it, I hope I have put my thoughts clearly. Maybe I have just been lucky that nothing bad has happened to me.