Home Forum Chat Forum Fear…….

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  • Fear…….
  • core

    Following on from the ‘solo night riding’ thread currently running in the Bike Section, I got to thinking, what makes you genuinely scared?

    I’m talking totally irrational, crippling fear?

    I recently experienced such a feeling, and wondered what does it for other people, why does it happen, and how can you deal with it?

    As you’re bound to ask, what triggered it for me was a recent trip away. For one night we were offered a cottage to stay in, right on the edge of the forest we were going to.

    It’s an old smallholding/mine cottage at the end of a very deep, steep sided valley, about 3 miles from the nearest proper road, to get there you have to traverse a dirt track through fields, go through 5 or 6 gates, past an abandoned mine & quarry, and through a load of old ruins. The cottage has been passed down through the family and is now used occasionally for holidays, it’ weathertight, has electric, a phone, and weirdly, broadband internet. But no running water or toilet inside. It’s generally in various states of disrepair, but just about liveable.

    The week before we went up it got broken into and some stuff stolen, by candle light, the farmer (neighbour) found the door wide open the next day, and the wax dripped on the floor was still there.

    We were only going to be there one night, arrived in the dark, got the fire going and had some wine and cheese before retiring, there were 3 of us.

    After a while, initially having fallen asleep, I woke up, and didn’t sleep a wink all night, scared, but what of I don’t know – I’m a rational, common sense sort of person, I don’t jump to conclusions, I’m not very impulsive or jittery, I’m normally the calm one, but I do have a very active mind, I’m always thinking, and over-thinking. I tried to rationalise things and sort myself out, but it was no good, I stayed up all night…… I couldn’t pinpoint what I was scared of.

    So, any thoughts???

    Premier Icon molgrips

    I got the fear whilst rock climbing, and never did it often enough to get back used to it.

    To be fair though, lead climbing can be fairly dangerous depending on how bad you are at placing gear…


    Instinct. You don’t always know what’s set you off but something has. It’s a natural and important thing.

    Can’t say that I suffer crippling, irrational fear about anything. I’m sure there’s something out there that would do it to me, but I haven’t found it yet.


    Vertiginous drops without a doubt.

    mountain slopes and flying no problem but I am not fond of exposed drops where one mistake = certain death

    Started on the In Pin



    Cannot go in one without crapping myself, will go to great lengths to avoid getting in them…. Unless they have windows…. bizarre


    Ah, you had the Nameless Dread.
    Semi-rational, it’s your hind-brain remembering when humans were prey animals and anything going bump in the night might be stalking you.

    Death. Only thing that petrifies me.

    the teaboy

    My brother suddenly developed a huge fear of the sea.

    It didn’t help that we were mid-atlantic on a 34′ yacht at the time.

    Something to do with hundreds of feet of water below us and unknown sea monsters and currents. He didn’t have a swim (equivalent of a shower) for the 2 weeks of the trip.


    Julie from HR..


    Nearly turned around and walked straight out of the hospital when walking up to the operating theatre earlier in the year. Never been that scared before in my life.

    Actualy, no – there was a another time – just as the surgeon, who arrived before the anaesthetist, decided to put the cannulas in my hand while we were waiting. And got it wrong… 😯


    Premier Icon richmtb

    A lot of fears are rational though

    Heights for instance. Falling from height can kill you, quite easily.

    Once worked with a girl who was afraid of balloons though, no that’s an irrational fear!


    Moses – sounds reasonable, it was kind of like that.

    And the death thing, I purposely don’t let myself think about that, had a phase when I was about 14 of dreaming about it, then waking up and mulling over the possibilities of what happens when you die (in your brain/thoughts) I presume nothing, that’s what it is, right?

    …exposed drops where one mistake = certain death

    Yes, these scare me I suppose, but still not crippling fear.


    Only one occasion I can remember – I was sleeping in Ben Alder bothy one very dark night and I awoke with a strong feeling that someone was looking in the window at me. It took me a long time to rationalise that one away and get back to sleep.


    what makes you genuinely scared?

    29ers becoming the norm

    Isn’t the Ben Alder bothy well know as being haunted?

    I have become more afraid of heights as I got older. I used to climb a lot up until early 20s but know am too scared to even start stuff I used to climb. I was in Chamonix recently and felt physically sick looking at old climbing lines in the Augilles and Mt Blanc. I think is is becoming vertigo as I feel the draw to throw myself off as well!!!

    Hence the snakes and ladders video made me very wobbly!!!


    when I hear about a close family member being hurt or injured or *that* moment when I realise I’ve lost something or left something behind. Left a tenner in the self service till at the supermarket, the moment you realise it. Left my house key at work. etc


    alone in the house on my own at night I sometimes feel very aware of every noise.
    very different if there’s someone else there – even if it’s just me and my one year old…
    he’ll save me from the boogieman.

    Premier Icon dazh

    Started on the In Pin

    Not a good place to develop a fear of heights! In my rock climbing days I had various freak-outs. The worst one was when I was perched on a tiny ledge about 130ft up when I watched my last bit of gear fall out below me, turning a subsequent fall into decking potential. Part of the attraction of climbing though was learning to control the fear and the mental aspect of it. There’s nothing like an unprotected crux move to either cause sheer panic or zen-like calm and concentration.

    Spiders – can’t look at them have only just been able to deal with small ones but a decent sized garden spider will literally make my blood run cold.

    I do have an odd thing about boiler houses and industrial plumbing though; don’t feel comfortable around them, which given that I manage large buildings and their services is tricky.

    Also have a strange thing about swimming near boats (bigger than dinghy) or piers and dams but kayaks and rivers, beaches etc don’t bother me at all.

    Anything else I am scared of may actually harm me, heights, deepwater, my ex wife…


    Not a good place to develop a fear of heights!

    Indeed it was a harsh lesson in enthusiasm > ability

    There’s nothing like an unprotected crux move to either cause sheer panic or zen-like calm and concentration

    I’ll take your word for it 🙂

    Premier Icon senor j

    Dentists – had an arse of one when I was a boy.
    I despise going. I sit there waiting and wish for a reason that the appointment could be cancelled!


    Swimming in deep water. If I have to do it (capsized boat or whatever) I’ve no problem but when it comes to choosing to do it I get a panic going which takes several minutes to subside. This doesn’t seem to go away no matter how regularly I do it.

    Premier Icon franksinatra

    I used to look after an accommodation block building that was in an old church hall / warden house. Never really been scared of anything but I started developing this fear around one particular room. I hated going in there and had no idea why. I have since discovered three other people who all describe the same fear in the same part of the building. This included the gas engineer who point blank refused to go back in.


    The sea, odd as i really like sailing but i cant go in the water and canoeing is too uncomfortable as well
    i had a mini panic attack doing a scuba diving mission on GTA V recently,
    which i was shocked by, and i realised this fear is very deep inside me, and not something i’ll ever get over


    Going for a swim off Il de Re – swam out to a buoy mebbe hundred yards off shore, and as I approached it I realised there was a picture on it of a shark. Might have been the make or model of the buoy, I’ve no idea, but just the thought that it might be a warning buoy had me turned round and parped back to the beach in about twelve seconds flat.

    Premier Icon molgrips

    I was perched on a tiny ledge about 130ft up when I watched my last bit of gear fall out below me, turning a subsequent fall into decking potential.

    Ah yes, I’m very familiar with that. I’d spend what seemed like hours cramming loads of gear in and getting knackered, then have it all fall out anyway leaving me with no protection and no strength left. The worst one I was facing certain death after about 45 mins, and I kept getting these urges to let go, when I looked up and saw.. a light above me leading me.. no not really. I saw that I was about three easy moves from a gigantic flake off which one could hang a bus, so I nipped up, whacked a sling over it and then climbed out in about 30 seconds.

    dazh – Member  The worst one was when I was perched on a tiny ledge about 130ft up when I watched my last bit of gear fall out below me, turning a subsequent fall into decking potential.

    Phew not just me then!

    The pool at the bottom of Hodge Close quarry gives me the willies. I like swimming in lakes but looking out from the little iron jetty into the greenh grey water makes me fearful/oddly sick.

    The zen thing is intersting though. On the few times i have been in deep shit – a gully starting to avalanche in Glencoe, white water rafting mishap with family, trapped side down in a kayak, one ski couloir – there has always been that wonderful feeling of complete calm, focus, and slow motion. I guess it is just heightened senses but it is quite an addictive feeling. Perhaps that’s why I used to do a bit of solo climbing. Not any more though.

    I am more fearful on a Mtb than other potentially risky sports which is odd. I think it’s something to do with the fact that the bike is in the way and hurts!!!!


    surroundedbyhills – Member
    my ex wife…

    Amen brother


    heights over water. any other type of height totally fine. show me the water tho and instant paralysing fear. doesn’t need to be that high and doesn’t need to be that much water. annoying and more than a little embarrassing.


    The most scared I have ever been was when I saw a Tiger Shark swimming straight towards me whilst snorkelling on the wrong side of a reef. I saw scorpion fish, puffers, stone fish, baracuda, all sorts of other deadly stuff but nothing made me panic like being 20 metres from that shark. Terrifying.

    Premier Icon bails

    literally make my blood run cold


    I know the deep water thing people are talking about. I’m similar. I get a bit freaked out when I can’t see the bottom of the sea, if I’m in it, fine on a boat. I was scuba diving and even when we were in enough water to hide a shark or drown in (so still ‘rationally dangerous’ I was fine as long as I could see the bottom. Once I couldn’t see the bottom it was a strange feeling of vulnerability to be bobbing about on the surface. As if some unseen monster was seconds away from snatching me under the water, or I was about to suddenly start sinking and not stop until I hit the bottom. Once we were under and scuba-ing about it was fine though 😕

    Anything with an exoskeleton, I can be in the same room as a spider, and I wont pass out if one crawls over me, but there is no way I’m going to pick it up, or go anwhere near a crab!

    Water/heights/dark I’m OK with, or at least enough to go out for some type 2 fun in.


    I blame my Grandad for this one as he claimed when I was a child that they climbed in your ears and ate your brains. he also had a lot of roses in his garden that were prone to them, hiding in the dense petals.



    Is your only god.

    I was getting boogieman fear on my early morning rides to work here (Kansas) except the boogieman was a mountain lion. According to the authorities there are none in Kansas, according to the locals that’s a lie.

    Saw lots of deer, which was a bit of freak out in itself, given that they are prey…

    Premier Icon dazh

    I guess it is just heightened senses but it is quite an addictive feeling. Perhaps that’s why I used to do a bit of solo climbing.

    Yeah I was always less scared when soloing or leading harder routes with unprotected moves. I guess it’s because you do the rational thinking about the danger before you even start the route and you’re prepared for it. Always a fine line though, I never liked the adrenalin rush at the point when you think you’re out of your depth. I certainly couldn’t solo anything now. Not even sure I’d even trust myself leading something now.

    Premier Icon Rusty Spanner

    Potholing scares the gravy out of me.
    Had a particularly scary experience in a dark crawl as a kid:
    The lad in front panicked and started kicking me in the face trying to get out.
    Still scares me now.

    Diving too – ok in clear water but if I see anything that shouldn’t be there – wrecks, old cars, random junk, it just freaks me out.

    Had a panick attack scrambling on Tryfan about 25 years ago.
    Started chucking it down & I just froze. Took ages to get used to exposure again and never fully regained the climbing confidence I had before.
    Shame really, Mrs S and her family are all climbers.
    I just potter around on low grade stuff, if at all these days.


    was a mountain lion. According to the authorities there are none in Kansas, according to the locals that’s a lie

    I grew up on a cattle ranch in SW Nebraska not far from your location and we saw the occasional mountain lion–fish & wildlife people had the same “there aren’t any around here” line.

    When younger, flying didn’t bother me as I traveled internationally continuously for work, but now, for some reason, I really dread flying–I think a combination of a fear that has built up and the hassles of air travel as it is today.


    An ex colleague and good friend once told me a tale of an apprentice gripped in fear on top of a dockyard crane in Newcastle.

    From memory, Eric had took the boy up with him to inspect the boom tip. He told the boy to keep looking at the dock gates as they progressed forwards but due to the gain in elevation they could see further down as they reached the bit they needed to inspect.

    Eric turns to the boy who is now white as a sheet and asks him id he’s ok. No response.

    The boy is clinging to the railing with a kung-fu deathgrip. 3 fitters tried to release his hands to no avail. Next thing the doctors on his way up and the boys jabbed and brought down unconscious in a cage from a neighbouring crane.

    Afterwards the boy said it was further drop that was visible beyond the dock gates that done it.

    He didnt work on cranes anymore after that.

    Premier Icon MrOvershoot

    I often got “the fear” when out on my bike, slow steep stuff freaks me out yet I will happily do stupid speeds on loose fast stuff where the consequence of coming off is far higher!!

    Though after a near death experience this summer, stood next to a 1500Kva transformer that went “BANG” I get the shivers next to HV or big power LV gear.
    Slightly irritating as I work with it fairly often :/


    Little K, big V, big A! I have a rational hatred of incorrect SI units 😉


    ages and being reminded of dates!


    Climbing always gives me the fear, but for no reason I can explain I still feel compelled to go out and do it. Roll on a good winter so the cold can freeze the fear!

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