f = m * a

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.

Author: Milan

In the spring of 2005, I graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in International Relations and a general focus in the area of environmental politics. In the fall of 2005, I began reading for an M.Phil in IR at Wadham College, Oxford. Outside school, I am very interested in photography, writing, and the outdoors. I am writing this blog to keep in touch with friends and family around the world, provide a more personal view of graduate student life in Oxford, and pass on some lessons I've learned here.

6 thoughts on “f = m * a”

  1. 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”.

  2. 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.

  3. (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.

  4. 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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