Tuesday, 26 February 2013

The Way of the Sherpa

I was recently reminded of how we can walk more enjoyably and more efficiently, by learning a few simple lessons from the Himalayan porters.
It turns out that a Himalayan porter can travel uphill 60% faster than a Caucasian mountaineer. Half of this better performance comes from the fact that the body of the Himalayan porter has a more efficient metabolism. BUT, the other half of the difference is that the porter moves more efficiently.
Research shows that they keep their centres of gravity moving in a smooth line: not bobbing up and down, not surging forward and backwards, not wobbling from side to side. In other words they glide uphill.
I tried this simple glide technique for a full day along the North Glen Shiel Ridge and it worked a treat!
Himalayan porter's specialization: metabolic power, economy, efficiency and skill; Alberto E Minetti et al; Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 2006

Sunday, 10 February 2013


In unusual lighting, this is the view as you descend Beinn a' Chreachan just north of Tyndrum. The plains offer an obvious route for the drove road that brought cattle down from the North through Tyndrum to the trysts further South. See Haldane's excellent book "The Drove Roads of Scotland", and my recent YouTube upload of the view above a parallel route from the Cairngorms.