f = m * a


in Geek stuff, The outdoors, Travel

In a conversation at the end of Sunday’s walk, we realized just how much energy is actually involved in such a trek. Our vertical ascent was about 1100m, spread between climbing Yoke and following the ridge of the Kentmere Horseshoe. That is about 75kg of me personally, plus a pack. Imagine me falling from 1100m up, and you begin to appreciate the gravitational potential energy built up through the (not entirely efficient) expenditure of chemical energy. We also traveled more than 20km, as the crow flies. Then, there is the fact that we had to absorb all the energy from all the descents into our muscles and dissipate it. Add in the energy required to keep us warm, balanced, and thinking, and you are racking up a good number of calories.

It’s amazing how far some dry cereal, two sandwiches, a couple of chocolate bars, and ones various short and long-term energy stores can go. The fact that I didn’t feel unusually hungry at any point during the weekend suggests that those stores were not seriously depleted.

As you may guess, this weekend included a lot of interesting discussion about physics, biochemistry, and physiology. We also learned a good bit about sheep.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Mike Kushnir June 4, 2007 at 10:34 am

while cumbria may not be scotland, it’s right next door, and i’m sure that sheep don’t know where one ends and the other begins.

which, of course, brings me to the point that the only thing that one needs to know about sheep in scotland is that “baaa” means “no”.

Milan June 4, 2007 at 1:05 pm

The difference between the Lakes trip and the Scotland trip wasn’t just being on one or the other side of the border. The Scotland trip had much higher peaks. On a less welcome front, it also had evil midges.

One more thing to know about sheep: they walk around on what is essentially their fingernails. If they do so on overly soft ground for too long, the nails get really long and bend back, trapping dirt and all sorts of crud underneath. As such, sheep kept in nature reserves need to be inverted and have their nails clipped every six months or so.

Mike Kushnir June 5, 2007 at 11:50 am

(oh…i was making a lame joke about the sheep. i could make another one, i guess, but i think i’m going to refrain from this.)

scotland has been off my radar for pretty much forever, but there’s a steadily-growing urge to go.

Milan June 5, 2007 at 11:57 am


Scotland has some wonderful mountains. Be advised, however, that the midges are pure evil.

Mike Kushnir June 5, 2007 at 3:11 pm

duly noted. though midges are pure evil pretty much anywhere. even worse than mangy pigeons.

Anon June 5, 2007 at 11:39 pm

It does take a lot more energy to move something quickly through a fluid than it does to move it slowly. Turbulence is problematic.

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