About

I’ve been walking the British mountains for over 30 years now but still have a problem with heights!  I started off in the Lake District, then graduated via Snowdonia to Scotland where I have recently ‘compleated’ the Munros. I’ve now started on the ‘Munro Tops’ and am finding these much harder – both in terms of effort and stress on my nerves. 

Many people have found tales of my mountain cowardice amusing so I promised them I would start a blog about my (mis)adventures in the hills.

I cart a very heavy old Zenith manual film SLR around with me and occasionally stop to take pictures but don’t pretend to be an expert photographer, although some of my pictures come out quite nicely.

Apart from 5 years in the Army I’ve lived in the same village where I was born but would like to move nearer to the Lake District or the M6 corridor to improve my access to the hills.

I normally walk with ‘Richard’ but will tag along with anyone braver than myself in my attempts to reach the summits.

Writing-wise, my hero is Alastair Borthwick and his all-time great book ‘Always a Little Further’ – I’d love to able to emulate his style and will strive to do so (but may never manage it)

31 responses

25 12 2014
Simon Howlett

Bagging all the Munros is a great achievement. I hope to make a start on them myself one day. Currently I’ve completed about 90 of the Wainwrights. Will enjoy following your blog, thanks for following mine.

Simon.

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26 12 2014
mountaincoward

The Munros are an achievement but the Wainwrights are more pleasant and fun. Having said that, doing the Munros got me to many places in Scotland which I wouldn’t otherwise have visited (especially the more wildernessy places) and which I loved 🙂
Carol.

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17 11 2012
rempolla

Hi Carol

I have cure for your fear of heights! Climb Mt Kilimanjaro in Africa. The beauty is so exquisite it will cure all your fears.

Remo (www.themeffect.com)

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18 11 2012
mountaincoward

Ha ha! I did try:
https://mountaincowardadventures.wordpress.com/2011/08/20/kilimanjaro-a-trek-up-the-machame-route/#more-1335
but failed the altitude test particularly badly – I was pretty sick around 17000 feet! 😦

Also failed on Mt. Kenya too (same reason but only 15000 feet up):
https://mountaincowardadventures.wordpress.com/2011/08/19/mount-kenya-or-not-as-the-case-may-be/

But, I didn’t find anything at all scary on Kili – not climbing the ‘Lava Tower’, not the ‘Barranco Wall’. It’s not really height which scares me – just what we call ‘exposure’ when something is vertical or narrow with a strong possibility of falling down it!

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21 11 2012
rempolla

I also failed on the first attempt for the same reason, altitude sickness!! The second time I ensured I drank litres of water and ate heartily all the way up to the summit. Hot chocolate to start every day also helped. You can also take altitude pills such as Diamox.

Keep climbing those mountains.

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21 11 2012
mountaincoward

Hi, I think, in my case, it was more an age-thing. When I later checked the books as to who had summited and who had made it as far as Stella Peak, they were all under 50. I think when you get older, you just don’t acclimatise well at all, especially if you haven’t done altitude stuff before. I needed an extra day on each trip at the highest camp below the summit, i.e. Shiptons and Barafu. But we didn’t have it so I failed. I was drinking as much as I could but that just made me feel sicker as I’m not used to drinking much liquid normally.

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16 11 2012
davidquinnell

Hi Mountaincoward. I have followed your blog as I am hoping that your exploits will push me in the right direction to log quality days for my ML next year. I look forward to reading more trip reports! I have just started my blog to keep track of my training/trips/logs, check it out if you have time!

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16 11 2012
mountaincoward

Hi David,
Good luck with your mountain leader course – I’ve always been put off doing that by the mention of doing ropework? in the past – but, since I’ve started going to the climbing wall, maybe I’d be fine with all that now. I’m surprised you’re choosing to read cowardly exploits. But, thinking about it, that could be a really great idea as mountain cowards are what you’re likely to have to lead when you pass your course! 🙂

I’ll take a trip onto your blog soon,
Carol.

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13 08 2012
LensScaper

Hi Carol – many thanks for the comment you made on Paul Shorrock’s blog (in reply to a question I asked Paul) about the ascent/descent from Moel Siabod to/from Pen y Gwyrd. Very helpful – I thought there might be some boggy ground up there somewhere. I usually find it wherever I go in Snwodonia. LOL!

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13 08 2012
mountaincoward

Hi, in a good (dry) year, it would be fairly minimal and only the last part of the walk if you were descending to the hotel. So you’d soon be toasting your socks by the fire!

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13 07 2012
Alan (Scotjamie) Ross

Hi MC
Scotjamie here (maybe confusing you with scotraildriver) because Janet also told me when I asked what had happened to your good self and soulmate tales of panic and terror. Janet told me as much as she knew when we were at Suardalan bothy with Mountainstar and Ele. She also mentioned your blog – great stuff. Really fed up you disappeared as your tales gave me a sense of comradeship for mountain fearties and I miss your honesty and your humour (and tales of Richard). So chuffed that you are so close to compleating (what’s the update and what is this about the Cuillin?). I have stalled over the last year or so, still recovering from a couple of ops but hoping to be out and about in the next few months. Joined SHills ages ago though tend not to use it, but will now look out for you and keep an eye on your progress..indeed I might transfer in protest! Take care of yourself ….. Scotjamie

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13 07 2012
mountaincoward

Hi, first of all, sorry to hear about your ops which have been keeping you off the hills. I know pretty much how you must feel as I first of all broke my wrist (just after I returned from the Cuillin) and have now broken my big toe straight after 😦 So I’m struggling to type and can’t get out for a walk at all as my toe is plastered up and in a bad way.

If you’ve had chance to read through the blog, you’ll see on the later posts that I had a trip to the Cuillin in May and managed to get 4 more done, including the very fearsome Sgurr Mhic Choinnich. I have joined Scothills but don’t post reports on there as my photos are only stored on my computer and would need to be stored on the internet somewhere which I don’t really want to do. What username have you joined under? the same one?

Anyway, I’m not getting you confused with Scotraildriver (who also joined Scothills) as I remember you well and also Janet mentioned she’d passed you my details, so, all that’s left to say is “Welcome to my blog” 🙂
Carol.

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16 07 2012
Alan (Scotjamie) Ross

Hi Carol, and thanks for the welcome. Commiserations also on your injuries – hope all is mended soon. Under scotjamie on Shills and will look out for you, though prefer to follow this blog. Have now read more of your blog and dead impressed with your achievements, especially in the Cuillin. Managed S. na Banachdich, B. Na Frithe and Mhadaidh, (but failed to continue to Ghreadaidh!). So thanks for the inspiration for cowards everywhere (guessing that Ryan is a good guide?). May join you in the cuillin some time, but certainly hope to be invited to the inevitable top out. regards and stay safe.
Alan

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16 07 2012
mountaincoward

Hi Alan, I’d love to walk with a fellow feartie (and guide) in the Cuillin – with my wrist injury, it won’t be this year though. Ghreadaidh is, in my opinion, much less scary than Mhadaidh (I was remembering the photo of your face on your forum post when you were descending that at the time when we did it – I could see why you were pulling a face – hellish steep peak!). After that initial scramble out of the gap (which is fine on a rope), the rest of the peak was a doddle really.

Ryan was a good guide and I’ve just put a link to his website on my ‘recommendations’ page (was ‘food and accommodation’).
Carol.

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18 06 2012
The Pal Guy

You have a great blog here and i have enjoyed reading about some of your climbing adventures. I have been to the Lake District and the Grampians. In the UK my greatest climb would probably be Ben Nevis. I also enjoy skiing on mountains especially in the Canadian Rockies. If you are ever in Canada be sure to go to Banff National Park…stunning.
Cheers
The Pal Guy

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18 06 2012
mountaincoward

Hi and thanks 🙂

Ben Nevis, while being Britain’s biggest peak, isn’t the most interesting Scottish peak – it also has much less chance of a view from the summit by being so high. But it depends what kind of peaks you like. Some of my favourites are in the Cairngorms, e.g. Braeriach, but many think those hills are too smooth and rounded.

If you like ‘spikier’ hills, the West side of Scotland would be more for you. There are some pretty good compromise hills with a lot of interest but easy walking towards the middle of Scotland, e.g. the Grey Corries and Creag Meagaidh…
Carol

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19 06 2012
The Pal Guy

thank you i will have to keep this in mind if i go back to Scotland.

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5 06 2012
Mark Kelly

I’ve been reading up on some of your hikes / climbs and with my recent trip to the Rum Cuillins (and my abject failure at tackling some of the high parts with aplomb). This is a great blog , good to know there are others who like the hills but not so keen on the heights 🙂
(I’ve got 2 blogs and never sure how wordpress.cm joint account displays them .. so .. my hiking blog is http://halfwayhike.com/ )
Cheers Carol

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5 06 2012
mountaincoward

Hi Mark,
Do you find, like I do, that people are really incredulous that someone goes up mountains when they have attacks of vertigo? I certainly get them!

I’ve had a read of your Rhum post and look forward to the next one,
Carol

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5 06 2012
Mark Kelly

hi Carol
yep I’ve been asked a couple of times why I persist. I say it’s because of the feeling of relief / sense of achievement afterwards makes it worthwhile.. although when I’m actually in the moment, hmmm, I question my sanity 😉
I believe (from my son who I went to Iceland with a couple of years ago, that the Icelandic folk have a word (and frame of mind they aim to get to) that describes the feeling you have just after having done something horrible / uncomfortable.. I’ll look it up and maybe rename my blog 😉

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6 06 2012
mountaincoward

LOL – that would make a brilliant blog name!

It’s definitely the sense of achievement afterwards for me – I seem to only like living my life in a challenge-orientated way! That and I’ve always firmly believed that you should experience everything possible in your lifetime, whether it’s comfortable or not…

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6 02 2012
Cool Your Jets IV

Since completing several munros whilst in the Royal Marines, I’ve always wanted to go back and experience the mountains again. I’m very envious of your task – how many have you got left to complete?

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6 02 2012
mountain coward

I used to go out with an ex-Marine years ago 🙂

I’ve got 37 Munros left to do but unfortunately 10 of them are in the Skye Cuillin and are therefore fearsome for mountain cowards 😮 But I’ve been plugging away at the Munros for around 10 years or so. I wasn’t Munro-bagging to start with but the ‘collecting bug’ soon took hold!
Carol.

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2 08 2011
scotlandsmountains

Hi Carol,
It`s Alex from BlueSkyScotland here.How did you get they boxes along the top of the page..Walk Plans and Archive Index and the like ?
I`m trying out WordPress and can`t figure it out.Think you have my email address as a subscriber. Can`t find out on the help section…getting too grumpy and not enough patience nowadays methinks 🙂
No rush for an answer so don`t bother too much about replying if you can`t be bothered.!

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2 08 2011
mountaincoward

Hi Alex,
It depends on your chosen ‘theme’ and whether it allows extra pages, ‘cos that’s all they are. I just add new pages from the dashboard, decide what I want to call them and hey presto.

If you get stuck on anything else try the forums. I didn’t know how to split my reports into a quick summary and a link to the rest of the report and tried everything I could think of for a few nights. Then I put out for help on the forum and got an answer in about ten minutes!
Carol.

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15 06 2011
Isabel Smith

Hi Carol
It was great to have your company on the hills yesterday ( Carn an Fhidleir and An Sgarsoch)
I am being lazy today but no doubt you are walking somewhere – ? Broadcairn. Enjoy the rest of your holiday ion scotland and I will be in touch again.
Isabel

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26 06 2011
mountaincoward

Hi Isabel – I’ve written you into my report on those two hills so look out for it soon when I’ve got my photos back. I didn’t do quite as much in Kintail in my second week as I was getting very tired by then! I’m now back home and totally exhausted. My total at the end of the fortnight was 18 Munros anyway. I’ve completed the Cairngorm areas now and Kintail apart from just 2.

I could have done with your company on some of the other lone stuff I did the next week! Carol

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10 06 2011
Stuart Stevenson Jnr

Hi Carol
It was paul who told me were to find you… nice to hear from you hope you are well.
kicked off well how did you manage that ? long story i bet…. Me and happy rab are
still bagging nearly at my 50TH MUNRO next week i hope . who iam i going to talk
to on my late night posting….lol .. hope to hear from you soon , maybe meet up
on a hill sometime …. take care Carol speak soon…Stuart

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10 06 2011
mountaincoward

You’ll just have to join Scottish Hills as well so we can chat – I’m on there now and on equally late at night when I’m on shift. I’m not ‘mountain coward’ on there though as there are quite a few Walkhighlanders on Scothills who were instrumental in getting me banned off WH!

I’m really surprised it was Paul W who told you where to find me on here – wonder why he keeps deleting the link to my blog whenever anyone asks where I am? It’s not exactly advertising anything – just telling my old buddies where to find me.

You probably missed most of the trouble I was having on WH but various members kept basically picking on me – no idea why as I don’t think I was particularly ‘jumped up’ on there or anything! I got banned in the end as Paul found it easier than keeping cleaning up threads where people were having a go at me – he should have banned some of the others instead!

Good luck to you and happy Rab with your 50th 🙂
Carol.

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31 05 2011
stuart stevenson

Hi mountain coward
Its STUART “SCOTRAILDRIVER” was looking for you
was told you are here … hope you are well
hope to hear from you soon..
bye C ……. stuart

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1 06 2011
mountaincoward

Hi Stuart, I was hoping you’d turn up on here after Janet (Walkaboot) mentioned you’d asked about me. Great to hear from you. In case you didn’t hear, I got kicked off Walkhighlands! I also heard that each time I’m mentioned, or something like my blog URL is put on there for the folks I used to chat to, it gets deleted pronto! 😦
Just got back from 2 trips to Scotland – weather’s been terrible up there hasn’t it? Didn’t get as much done as I’d have liked that’s for sure.
Hope you’re keeping well,
Carol.

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