Verse: Tenth anniversary of my mountain rescue

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January, ten years back*:

I received a lot of flak

When I blundered – went astray –

On a cold and dismal day.

Gale was howling, snow was deep,

Skiddaw’s** slopes rose white and steep,

With its summit in the cloud,

But I planned my climb, unbowed,

Pining for the lofty top

With no image of a flop.

I was soon, despite the freeze,

Crawling on my hands and knees

Yet still sinking in the snow,

With my progress very slow;

But, regardless, on I pressed,

Which (in case you haven’t guessed)

Was a reckless thing to do

Given that nobody knew

Where I was on this vast slope;

Yep, I acted like a dope:

Upwards, higher, then – a fright:

The world went completely white!

There was nothing I could see:

Clouds, the ground, my boots, my knee …

Nothing, so I grabbed my phone

And, in panic-stricken tone,

Called the mountain rescue, who

Mobilised our Keswick crew;

Cockermouth went out as well,

And they got me off the fell,

Now, in darkness – ‘t was pitch-black***,

With no trace of any track.

I was, clearly, in those days

Still in my immortal phase;

Now, with whiteout on the tops,

I stay low and hit the shops!

 

*To be precise, on 29th January 2009

**Skiddaw is a mountain of over 3,000 feet which towers over my small town of Keswick

***I called the mountain rescue at about 3.30pm, and the Cockermouth team reached me at roughly 7pm, albeit in complete darkness because I had found myself on the eastern flank of Skiddaw and thus away from Keswick’s lights. My having ended up there was lucky because, if I had strayed onto its precipitous western slopes, I might not be here now. The rescuers managed to locate me because I was shining two torches (head and hand). Needless to say, I didn’t see anybody else on the fell that day – not that I could see much …

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