Mountaineering Monday


The night before we are due to climb the Old Man of Coniston, Sion Jair calls to warn that, chances are, we won’t be able to go up the 803m Lake District fell in the morning. I look out the window of my hotel. There’s little wind, the temperature is mild. I don’t say anything, but he seems to read my mind. “It’s quiet down here,” he explains, “but at the top, everything is exaggerated. The wind will be 10 times as strong.”

Jair is certainly no fair-weather climber. Now 68, he first came to the Lake District in 1968, half a century ago. He’s scaled the Old Man of Coniston, he guesses, on more than 5,000 occasions. He often goes up twice in a day; in winter, he just sticks on crampons. For many years, he has offered courses on mountain navigation and, informally, he has rescued dozens of walkers who have underestimated this craggy Lakeland icon. As much as anyone, Jair is the old man of Coniston.

More remarkable is that Jair has continued this regime despite a succession of debilitating illnesses. For years, he suffered from chronic fatigue syndrome. His doctor suggested a change of air might help him, and in the early 2000s he swapped Spaghetti Junction in Birmingham for Ulverston. The new locale suited him, but then he was diagnosed with pernicious anaemia, a condition in which the immune system attacks healthy cells.

Pernicious anaemia can be moderated with injections of vitamin B12, but Jair’s body rejected the treatment. He says: “The doctor and a specialist told me, ‘If you don’t have the injections, the most you can expect is to live for three years. And it won’t be pleasant.’” Jair, though, kept walking. Initially he would be exhausted from even short hikes but, over time, his tolerance increased drastically.

“My body had adjusted to the small amount of B12 I could accept,” Jair goes on. “The doctors did tests and put it down to – although it’s not scientifically proven – my exercise routine. I just kept going and my body had two choices: I could either sit down and die, or the body had to get up and use what it had.”


About Den

Always in search of interesting things to post. Armed with knowledge and dangerous with the ladies.
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19 Responses to Mountaineering Monday

  1. Den says:

    Got knees? Luckily this man does, yours truly has only 1,
    doomed to an early demise from years of petro-chemical exposure.


    • °¿º Carol says:

      Hope I don’t end up with knee surgery. Both my whatcha-callits in my knees are wearing out, according to Jill. I’ll just keep on truckin’ until I can’t and maybe I can make it to death w/o that kind of surgery.


  2. David B. Benson says:

    Yes, exercise promotes health.


  3. David B. Benson says:

    Has The Donald and his new sidekick started another war yet?


  4. °¿º Carol says:

    I got some exercise today. When I came home from the library and gassing up the car, I filled one bird feeder then walked around the backyard and picked up sticks, tossed them in the bonfire pit. Then I by hand and with the rake pulled one of last summer’s stick piles out of the grass that grew up around it by the pit and I was wiped out. I slept wrong last night and besides my legs, my right hip has been making it hard to walk.

    Later I remembered to heat up the beanbag and lean against it. Back has improved. I’ll go back out stick-picking when my hip annoyance is gone. Have to get more exercise. I would have walked down to the mailbox today, but meh. I didn’t want to hobble my way down there and back.


  5. Den says:

    Time to call the NRA Daffy trump?


  6. David B. Benson says:

    Up Valley Road to the Nez Perce Village and on to Terre View Blvd. At the pondlets by the corner the pair of Canada geese are back and the bachelor Mallard has joined their pondlet for the company. Enough of a breeze to convince the Swainson’s hawk to attempt a thermal; successful. Later a pair of magpies.

    The land moving work at the airport was at a standstill, maybe done without all the equipment being removed. Along Airport Creek Mr. & Mrs. Mallard have taken up residence once again. Further on another Mallard bachelor was startled out of the water into flight by my passage; must be a newcomer to the area.

    Thence to Grimes Way and back west over the top of the hill, down B Street to home. I estimate 105 minutes of actual stick walking as the device is not mobile until the new battery arrives.


  7. Den says:

    Uber Turtle:


  8. Micki says:

    Yes, exercise is an elixir of life. Not to prolong forever…but to improve the time we have.


  9. °¿º Carol says:

    Animated GIFs ‘Reconstruct’ Famous Ancient Ruins Around the World

    Doc, hope you can watch the gfs on your phone. I love things like this. Love the before and after photos of places during WWII and and now.


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