Tuesday 3 September 2013

The Sound of Silence

Towards Cadair Bronwen in the Berwyns

Hill walkers, almost by definition, love the views of open country and big landscapes.  It is one of the many reasons we find our pastime so rewarding. But have you listened to any silence recently?

A few weeks back I went for a day walk in the lovely Berwyn Mountains of North Wales.  It was blowing a bit of a hoolie on the way up, but it was nevertheless dry, with lovely sunny spells between scudding clouds.  As I walked along the ridge between Cadair Bronwen and Cadair Berwyn I paused so that I could look properly at the views further into Wales, rather than watching the ground at my feet, which is my normal view whilst hill walking.  And as I did so, the wind, quite suddenly, stopped. From a fair old breeze to still calm.  I stood resting on my poles, with the sun on my face, and I closed my eyes.  For a few seconds I was enveloped in complete silence.  The sensation of peace was almost overwhelming. It struck me, as I stood there, eyes closed, that by shutting out the view I was seeing the hills differently, in a way that I had not done before.  It also occurred to me that it is rare that we fully experience complete silence in the hills, because days without any breeeze are few, and I wondered whether the use of our sight may overpower the use of our hearing.  And then the complete silence was shattered, but the peace enhanced, as a bird broke into song.  I stood there for a few seconds more, and resolved that in future I shall close my eyes more often when in the hills, and take in a different view.
Cadair Berwyn

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