Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Ghosts of the Mountains

With Halloween not far off, the conversation in the Expedition Wise office has turned to spooky experiences on the hills. Mountains are often reported as places where strange things happen, sometimes with the mention of ghostly sightings and spooky experiences. Is this due to the conditions experienced when out on the hills or are they filled with ghosts of those who loved the mountains too?

Summits can be lonely places, especially in poor weather when less people venture out, yet people have been walking over them for thousands of years. From the Romans, Scottish Clans, and shepherds of past times, to soldiers, miners and hikers; the foot fall on the Hills of Great Britain is immense. Not to mention the tragic stories of folk who have lost their lives on the mountains in accidents, airplane crashes, and those whose final resting place has been on the summits themselves. It’s not surprising that there are many ghost stories and sightings associated with these hills. 

Mountains can be quite spooky!
As I am sure you know, when it has been a long day, the weather isn't great, visibility is rubbish and you are getting tired your mind can play tricks on you. Whether it is footsteps heard from behind you, voices on an empty peak, Ghost Dogs, or seeing things which suddenly disappear, mountains are often places of unexplained experiences.

Let’s look at the some of the UK's most renowned Mountain Ghost Stories:

Haunted Hills

Ben Macdhui is the highest peak in the incredible Cairngorms and the second highest peak in Scotland. It is also home to the legendary 'Fear Liath Mor', the Big Grey Man, a fearsome entity known to stalk anyone who would dare enter their territory, scaring even the most brave and experienced mountaineers. First experienced in 1891, where crunching footsteps followed climber Professor Norman Collie, there have been numerous accounts since of strange sightings of a large grey man followed by unexplained feeling of sheer terror. There have been many reports of ghostly laughter, strange phenomenons and eerie sightings connected to this mountain that asks the question, is this the most haunted peak in the UK?

Not far from the Expedition Wise office lies the Clywdian Range, a chain of purple heather-clad summits, featuring ancient hill forts and home to many myths and legends. It would seem that it is also home to many ghosts, with many sightings seen on the highest peak, Moel Famau. From a girl seen dancing near the summit, accounts of a wartime soldier and a mysterious gentleman offering helpful advice, all were seen only to then disappear.

Creigiau Gleision:

Colin Adams has written guidebooks to the Welsh hills, of which he has spent most of his life exploring, both during his time in the Army and at leisure. It was on one of these welsh peaks that he had his first strange experience, which continued overtime as he regularly returned to Creigiau Gleision.

Over a good number of years, and many ascents of this peak, he would hear someone speak to him but could never see the person at the summit. The first time the voice spoke in welsh, but on many occasion afterwards it was in English with a Gwynedd accent, often asking him how he was, and how good it was to see him again. Though it didn't always speak to him, and would never answer questions that Colin asked, the voice could often be heard on the lonely peak.

The Rhinogydd Mountain Range

The Rhinogydd Range features two main peaks, Rhinog Fawr & Rhinog Fach, which lay amongst a vast wilderness in Wales. A popular route begins at a mediaeval packhorse trail known as the Roman Steps. Though they are not actually Roman themselves there has been many accounts of seeing and hearing a ghostly troupe of Roman Soldiers with mules climbing up the steps. Legend has it that anyone who follows these soldiers will be led to a secret stash of gold! Though no one can verify this as true (unless they have kept the treasure find to themselves), keep your eye out for them next time you are in the area!

This popular peak in Wales is shrouded with myth and legend and it’s often said that the mountain is the Chair of Idris, a giant who frequented the land in ancient times. The well known legend that ‘anyone who spends the night alone on the mountain will either die, become insane or become a poet’ has many times been put to the test over the years by keen climbers and mountain lovers. Whether it has been proved true or otherwise it still to be seen!

There are also many accounts of strange light phenomena associated with the mountain.

Souther Fell: The Site of the Ghost Army

Souther Fell is found between Keswick and Penrith in the Lake District. Though a beautiful, easy going hill, it has a chilling history associated to it. Many times throughout the mid-1700s a ghost army was seen along the ridge, each occasion taking place on Midsummer’s eve. Many of those who retold the tale were not to be believed until 26 (sober) people gathered on the peak on Midsummer’s eve of 1975. Here they saw the ghostly troops on horseback, making their way up the fell only to be seen riding over the cliff. When they returned the next day they could see no physical evidence of the army and it is believed they were ghosts of those who had fled the battle of Culloden, who then launched themselves off the cliff.

Ghostly Dog....... ;)

Hills shrouded with myths, legends and folklore, it’s easy to let your imagination run away with you. That feeling of been watched, followed by the sound of a woman screaming, only to turn quickly around and see the creepiest looking site….a chamois or mountain goat! (If you have ever seen and heard a mountain goat I am sure you will agree, they have a creepy looking stare and a vocal that can make your hair stand on end).

So next time you are out on the hills and you see or hear something strange ask yourself this – is it the weather, the fact that you are weary, tired or alone......or is there something else out there!

If you have any spooky experiences on the mountains we would love to hear them! Please let us know via our twitter account @ExpeditionWise

Happy Halloween Everyone!

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

An Amazing Autumnal Erddig 10k!

What a fantastic way to spend a Sunday, running through autumnal woodland and stunning surroundings!

This is exactly what hundreds of people did this weekend as the took part in the Erddig 10k. Set in grounds of the beautiful National Trust’s Erddig Estate, the event saw people from all over the local area come to take part and though the weather was overcast, it didn't deter the runners. Nor did it stop the spectators providing words of encouragement, adding to the great atmosphere. 

The family friendly event began with a lively warm up provided by DW Sports Wrexham which ensured all the participants in the 10k, 5k and 2k fun run option were raring to go! 

As the countdown began the runners eagerly anticipated the starting claxon, before they set off with the 10k runners first, followed by the 5k and 2k fun runners. The route skirted around the house, before leading into the woods, at which point the 10k & 5k participants took the woodland trail, which was adorned with autumn leaves, and thankfully not too much mud!

 The route then continued taking in a road section before rejoining the woodland, only to be finished with a short, steep hill just before the finish point. 

Here the 5k runner celebrated their well deserved glory, but not forgetting to shout words of encouragement to the 10k runners who were to continue a second lap before they could celebrate their finish! For both the 5k & 10k, there were many runners who had surpassed their personal best times, which just added to the sheer joy of taking part!

The 2k Fun Run option had a brilliant turn out and it was great to see so many youngsters taking part with real enthusiasm and determination! What a great achievement for them as they proudly displayed their finisher's medals!

This was a great event with challenging but enjoyable running distances, and saw the participants raise over £300 for the Erddig Estate charity! A real family friendly event where everyone could get involved!

Thank you to everyone who participated, helped on the day and supported the event! More photos are available on our Flickr & Facebook page.