Spontaneous Blog Post #6: Enter Nature at Your Own Risk!

Liberal health and safety concepts have just gone over the tree tops! I can’t even…

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While I was back home in the Lake District last weekend, my inspiration for this blog post was triggered by a sign we noticed along our walk on a forested route- a warning sign…

We thought perhaps there was ongoing work in the forest along our route and we couldn’t pass for the machinery, or maybe a there was a dangerous madman roaming the fells, or some wild animal had gone rabid… But no, apparently there were TREES fallen across the pathway…

The sign went on about how if we were to take this route, we “entered at our own risk”, so I guess if we were to slip or trip over a tree branch then I guess there’s nothing we can do to claim compensation… I mean, really. What kind of people go for a walk in the great outdoors– you know, for a real hike,  and get to some uprooted trees across the path and think “Oh God! Wow! We can’t physically get over or under these trees without killing ourselves- this is danger- I mean, they should get a sign up and warn the unsuspecting ramblers!”

I’m not going to lie, it was a bit of a challenge, I mean my poor old parents would have struggled if we hadn’t been given all that time from the sign to the trees, to form a strategy plan for our mission over this mammoth assault course which lay before us!

I’m hoping you sense the obvious sarcasm, here.

On all seriousness, my parents are in their 50s and have been walking for the majority of their lives, bringing me up as a “nature’s child”, not afraid to climb, run or slide when it was needed during our walks. All I’m saying is, as lifelong ramblers- and I’m sure fellow ramblers will agree- there are far more sticky (excuse the pun) situations you can get into on a hike than fallen trees! I mean, we’ve been on top of fells (mountains in Cumbria) and there has been no warning sign to say “Hey! When you get up to the top, stay away from the edge or you might FALL AND DIE!” or “This is a MOUNTAIN. It is very high up! If you have a nervous disposition at height, you might want to rethink some stuff.” Or if it’s snowing, we don’t need any signs out there to say “It’s in the minus temperatures out there, best not climb too high or you will freeze to death!” I mean COME ON! People can use their heads…

At least being at the top of a fell is considered a real danger, and yes, if you did fall from a steep edge, you might crack a few bones or die or something. I guess we never see signs on top of mountains because people have a thing inside their head which, when you approach the ledge goes “DEATH! awaits you if you get any closer!” It’s a part of our brains that’s there to protect us- I guess you could call it an instinct.

This isn’t a psychology lecture, I just feel like I need to vent some obvious stuff here. That sign really got me pissed because I feel that, as a species, humans are so undervalued in terms of common sense. We have an instinct that’s there to protect us. Being in nature, where there are fewer distractions like smart phones, TV’s feeding us rubbish and samey boring pop hits, we can actually listen to that instinct loud and clear! I feel like my senses are particularly heightened in nature because that’s the most natural place on earth for us. Whether we like being outside or not, that’s just where we are meant to be, before we became all domesticated and stuff. Ever felt really stressed or angry, and found that being outdoors and taking a walk has brought your inner peace back?

At the end of the day, I guess my point here is that if you are the kind of people to take it upon themselves to go on a hike into the great outdoors, then you are the kind of switched on people that will listen to your instinct and don’t need any patronising health and safety signs to keep you alive.

The great outdoors is meant to be an adventure! Go out there, take risks, climb trees, slide down steep paths on your ass to save you toppling over, take in the views, take in that magnificence that is our natural world! Embrace it and live!

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Thank you for reading this little rant. Can you tell I’m passionate about nature and feel strongly about the domesticated world trying to put it’s stamp on the great outdoors? If you have an opinion on this, feel free to comment.

Photography by Richard McGowan – Richard’s Flickr Page

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