There’s a Chinese philosopher called Yi-Fu Tuan who writes about space, place, and relationship. He uses the term topophilia to describe love of place. This can manifest in various ways, not only with the hills. People love their streets, towns, cities, countries. It’s curious when you think about it because it’s largely arbitrary: you don’t choose where you are born. It probably connects to parental love and similar based on duration and intimacy. That is, when you get to know someone inside out, outside in, foibles, hopes, strengths and dreams, you form an attachment. Loyalty is part of this; so too sharing, support, and comfort.

I haven’t read Yi-Fu Tuan directly. I have a list of academic books I will possibly never read. I’ve developed my own ideas about place relationship derived from other books in the area of cultural geography. More importantly, I have ideas based on walking.

On my first hill walking trip to the Lake District, many years ago, we stayed at Braithwaite and walked Catbells in the autumn. The view to Borrowdale was poignantly and yearningly beautiful. I wanted to go there but there wasn’t time, and we couldn’t have done so anyway. There are paths dropping down to Borrowdale from Maiden Moor and Grange but I don’t think we even had a map.

My walking life started in the Lake District at that moment. I didn’t go back for a while, and for many years not very much. I lived in Brighton and had only one trip. It’s been a ten year process learning to love Wales which I currently prefer. This view, and many others, are part of it. There’s an overlay of happy times and dreamy memories. Gazing here, near Betws-y-Coed, down to Penmachno. Searching for wild flowers in nearby summer lanes. Reading and lazing on the Rynys camp site. Driving to Llyn Idwal for a day walk then a curry in the evening. This view, again and again, never tiring of the idyllic composition.


Favourite Snowdonia View

Friday February 24, 2017