'Bearing Up!' with Paul Taylor
If you’re looking for a challenge that’s a bit different, here’s an idea...“Bearing Up!” is an adventure in a straight line.
Conceived by CVSRT member Paul Taylor, the concept is simple… to complete a set of wild challenges following difficult lines across the landscape. The challenge is open to anyone with suitable skills and experience and it is hoped that this might ‘bear fruit’ for the benefit of Mountain Rescue in England and Wales and Scotland teams.
For those unfamiliar with the term, ‘bearing’ is the direction or position of something, or the direction of movement, relative to a fixed point. It is usually measured in degrees, typically with magnetic north as zero… although for Paul’s recently successful Skye Cuillin ‘bisection’ adventure, magnetic rocks made the use of a compass inherently rather more unreliable!
Paul explains, “We follow our chosen bearing across challenging terrain, immerse ourselves in open water swims and climb up onto steeper ground in mountainous landscapes around England, Wales and Scotland. All lines include significant elements of wild swimming, scrambling and even roped rock climbing, adhering to a ‘leave no trace’ philosophy, with a target to do each route in one continuous push in a day."
Generally races in the hills and mountains are so often about how far or how fast, or perhaps how many summits you can "tick off" along the way. Bearing Up! is about picking a good line, as straight as possible, to take in a swim, a climb and perhaps a summit. It gives you a different perspective. There may be no path to follow, just keep on the same bearing all the way. The tendency to look for an easier way around a rocky crag or stretch of water is natural, so actually keeping to a straight line is a real challenge.”
CVSRT member Jonothan Wright joined Paul and recently completed a route across Llyn Llydaw and up Lliwedd.
Jonothan explains, “I joined Paul on a bearing of 226º degrees, starting from just west of Pen-y-pass in Snowdonia, leading us on an adventure through Llyn Llydaw and up Lliwedd. It didn’t take long before I started to stray off the line, meandering about it all the time but aiming in the right general direction. We crossed straight over a perfectly good path, to the walkers’ bemusement, and carried on over the rough ground, boulders and through marsh grass. At the water’s edge we switched to wetsuits and float bags to carry our kit and set out across the cool, clear waters, with every breathing head turn glimpsing up at the peaks around us.”
“There was no set time limit or distance to cover but what we did gain was a perspective that was special to us alone. It might have only been a mile or two, as the ‘crow flies’, but topping out and looking back on such a simple route, the sense of satisfaction from having travelled through the landscape was immense.”
Paul has set up a fundraising page, which has already raised over £200. He has more ‘Bearing Up!’ adventures planned over the coming months. He is also looking for individuals, groups or fellow mountain rescue teams to join him to partner up on these challenges or if you are feeling inspired, perhaps plan your own bearing and share your route and experiences.
If you would like to learn more about ‘Bearing Up!’ please visit the Bearing Up! Facebook page; https://www.facebook.com/bearingup/
So why not join Azimuth and Zenith, his two Bearing Up! mascot teddies in their A to Z adventures to raise funds for mountain rescue teams!