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Up and Down Days, Part Eight: Commitment

June 14, 2021

This is another compelling read from David Russell. Strangely reassuring that even the most experienced walkers and climbers suffer doubts at times!

The Caledonia Collective

“…one never quite knows the mountain, nor oneself in relation to it.”

“One walks among elementals, and elementals are not governable. There are awakened also in oneself by the contact elementals that are as unpredictable as wind or snow.”

Nan Shepherd, The Living Mountain


The excitement I had felt at the prospect of our climb had abandoned me step by step as Kirsty and I walked the length of the glen. By the time we stood underneath the route – acres of immaculate granite slab rising above – a cold sensation gripped me that stood in pointed contrast to the sweat I had worked up.

I looked at her and said:

‘I can’t do this.’


I stood at the lip of the plunge pool, looking down into the foaming roar of the river. Beside me the boiling rapid became suddenly smooth as it extended a black tongue over…

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