Human Sheep!

I spent the day doing the security on steep ground day on a ML training for Andy Newton. Had a great day out in Ogwen, the weather was superb, and the group were awesome. However the day was one where we picked up a few human sheep.

It is something that Ogwen is quite renowned for, in that a tourist see’s you leave the path, and assumes you are following an ‘easier’ route to the top or back down. So decide that rather than follow the massive obvious path they’ll follow you instead. This happened twice today, and on both occasions, I tried to politely explain that we weren’t really going near a summit, just taking in steep ground.

The first ground replied, ‘Everywhere’s a Path’, so I apologised for what I said, and just pointed out this scree slope leads to nowhere near a summit, and let them pass. An hour later they were below the upper cliffs of Glyder Fawr, and rather than move right along the base they decided to take them on.

At this point I had to move off, as I really didn’t want to get involved in what I can only imagine was an epic ascent. Some people just scream punter, and two army water bottles on a army cammo belt, meant that they had death by misadventure written all over there chosen route. However despite my attempts to dissuade them they seem determined, so we headed round the corner away from the potential carnage.

Then on our way down, we headed to the top of Gribin Facet, and another lone walker, who had missed the path that is the size of a small road, decided instead to follow us down to the top of the climbers descent gully. At this point I pointed here towards the path, and we descended the gully. This particular sheep, was much more receptive, probably due to her being a her, and more open to suggestion.

The first all male group seemed to think they knew better. Anyway, I hope they all got down OK. I can remember once it was a Pea Souper on the summit of Glyder Fawr, and I was heading to Y Gribin with a ML group, so we stopped to do some micro-nav across the plateaus. After 300m my team of 6 had grown to 12. Something that at that point I wasn’t too bothered about, but as we stopped again to take another bearing, one of these sheep, actually butted into my lesson.

Asking whether I could hurry up, as they were getting cold. I snapped at this point, and told them that if they couldn’t navigate themselves off a mountain they had no reason to be there, and that we weren’t take the path down, and maybe they should wind there neck in or pay everyone in my group ¬£20 because they have paid good money for me to teach, whereas, you have paid nothing and just expected to follow us down, because you are incompetent, and can’t get yourself off a mountain, that you probably followed someone else up.¬†Suffice to say he stepped back, and continued to follow at a distance.

It does bug me though, when I am working that other hill users end up following you like lost sheep. Five or so years ago I would have said nothing, but nowadays it has become such a common occurence that I try to point out there inadequancies there and then. I am thinking of getting some cards printed, so I can hand them out to my unwanted flock.

It is difficult though, as if you don’t let people follow you and they have a accident then am I to blame? Personally I have to say no, they have chosen there own path, and they chose to follow others where perhaps they shouldn’t. Whilst I totally disagree with policing the mountains, the incompetency I see so regularly when I am out, makes me quicken my step and get out of sight of them as soon as possible.

Anyway, that’s my little rant over with, there were many more people out in the hills enjoying them safely, sadly today I seemed to be an idiot magnet! I be interested to here if anyone else has had sheep problems and how you dealt with them.

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