20 Nov Mountains | Moments | Memories
Postcard prints of my mountain adventures now available here
I was 12 years old when my Dad first took me out to the mountains, or at least this is the first time I can remember. We hiked the Yorkshire 3 Peaks in 12 hours. I remember moments where Dad tried to make the walking fun while at the same time ending up waist deep in bog.
As we made our way up the steep stair case etched into the side of Inglebrough, the third and last Mountain, Dad started to lag behind, his energy had dipped and I knew why because I could also feel the cramp in my legs. I had reached that point where I was depleted of energy, I had blisters on my feet and I felt more hungry than I had felt in my whole life. In this same moment I looked around and can remember feeling truly happy. I felt connected to the environment.
This is an experience I am eternally grateful for. You can probably tell by looking at my social media content and the photos I share that what ever I experienced on that day imprinted firmly on my subconscious. Without trying I have always pursued experiences that involve a connection between the human spirit and the environment.
I have grown to understand that I do not have to organise mountain experiences for people. All I need to do is be the best mountain leader I can possibly be in order to keep my clients safe. I approach communication in a dynamic spirit and genuinely enjoy listening to peoples stories. However, once the date has been agreed and the route set, all I do is relax into the stride set by my clients and listen. I wait intently for that moment, the one I felt out there with my Dad that day, the moment when they look up and smile. I see it in their eyes and hear it in their breathing, they can feel it, and in that same moment I feel connected to them. That kind of experience cant be organised, it is a gift from the adventure.
It is possible that most people do not remember those moments, but I can remember every single one. Every smile, every deep breath as their face relaxes showing pure gratitude for the opportunity to be alive in that moment.
That day out with my Dad ended with him loosing the car keys. We sat in the car park at Horton – in -Ribblesdale hungry and with extreme cramp for hours waiting for my step Mum to drive out with the spare key. I look back on this mistake and giggle quietly, but I also ensure my equipment is secure when I set out on a hike.
As for my family, I haven’t seen my Dad for almost 10 years. As I grew, our relationship disolved. For a long time I felt bitter and confused, I was angry and struggled to look at my self and see potential. I had a lot of childhood experiences to work through in my mind before I could find forgiveness. I would go out running in the mountains and literally crush marathon distances. I never took part in organised events because it felt like my version of escape and I needed to be alone. I suppose in some sense it was a form of self harm. I would run so hard and long that the pain would cloud my mind for days after. Eventually the stress took its toll and I started to pick up injuries and illness. I stopped spending as much time in the mountains and soon lost my motivation to venture too far away from home.
As time has unfolded I have learned to surround my self with people who believe in me. These friends have got to know me and trust me. Then each one, in their own time has asked me to lead them into the mountains. My natural reaction to someone asking me to do this is, Yes. This ‘yes’ took us on a mountain adventures and brought me face to face with their moment of connection. This is when I started to realise what these wonderful people are doing for me. They are lifting me higher than I ever thought possible. Their belief in me has brought more people into my life who also ask for the same. They ask me to guide them on an adventure to seek out their own moment of connection in this life changing environment, in the mountains.
The more I share these breaths and moments of connectedness the closer I feel to my purpose in life.
So all that said and done, with a tear in my eye I just want to say thank you Dad. You set me up for success on that epic day out.
To every one of you who has joined me on a mountain day or to all those who have been there to prop me up when I have been a fraction of my self…. I love you all.
I know that there are some of you out there who have followed my journey and will never get to join me on a mountain adventure so I thought it would be nice to share some of my landscape photos with you. I have started creating signed postcards of my prints, you can find them here.
My love goes out to you all. Keep pursuing your purpose and own the energy from the air you breath.