The man who has lived as a hermit for 40 years

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Toddy

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Mod
Jan 21, 2005
37,007
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S. Lanarkshire
Years ago I watched a documentary on the lives of some of the rural native Canadians. One elderly but still very alert sharp and able man said something that has stuck in my mind. His family still travelled to their Summer hunting grounds, with no contact with the outside world at all.
He said, "They said, but you'll die out there", and I asked why was that a problem? My ancestors had died out there since we walked onto this land, and I could think of nowhere else I'd want to be."

The problem from others point of view is that the ending might not be quick and clean.

The man living up on Rannoch seems to be much in the same mind as the elderly Canadian.
I hope he enjoys a good life until he just doesn't wake up one morning.....and I have enormous sympathy for to the fellow who finds him, or is quietly keeping an eye on him until such time. Good on him.
 

Paul_B

Bushcrafter through and through
Jul 14, 2008
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Cumbria
I think the key difference is in the word family. The Canadian was with family, this hermit had only the kindness of friends and contacts. He had a degree of support but I bet the Canadian had more. I could be wrong but the presence of family in a first nations means family support for the elderly members of the family or community.
 
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Broch

Full Member
Jan 18, 2009
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Mid Wales
If you watched the whole programme with the sound off I can't help thinking his eyes were saying 'I can't give in now, but please get me out of here'. Maybe that was the purpose - to try and generate solutions.

And .... I worry they've just taken the lid off; there'll be people trekking over there and may be some who are less than considerate - there's all sorts in this world :(
 
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CLEM

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Jul 10, 2004
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Stourbridge
I’ve not seen this programme. I don't watch TV anymore and haven’t for what must be getting on 20 years now. I’d like to see this programme but I won’t. This thread yet again had for me struck summat, mostly what a great bunch of folks within this BCUK has,this thread has, cerebral, decent, kind, free thinking, decent, intelligent, ( I’ll say decent a second time ) I’ve met a couple of ya, good folk. Hope to meet ya again and soon.

Now to the programme that I haven’t seen. This fella he’s lived his life as he saw fit, as he wished, on his terms. Hopefully he’ll also go over the wall on his terms too. To die a good death may mean different things to different folk, to be lay on a comfy bed surrounded by ya five ex wives,30 children and hundred grand kids is maybe ideal to some lol. I’d like to die well, maybe in a hammock on me own somewhere, maybe with some good pals, perhaps having enjoyed the previous evenings campfire with a full belly, a nice single malt still on me taste buds. Dying a good death, it’s summat we all wish for I guess. I hope this fella is granted his last days on his terms.

I quite fancy Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kids jump over the wall meself, well Newman and Redford version lol
 

Suffolkrafter

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Dec 25, 2019
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Suffolk
I love that woody Allen quote.

The sad part of this story for me was the inevitable decline and how that looked like it was going to lead to others making the big decision for you

The thing that strikes me in this thread, is that when I think of the elderly folk I have known, mostly in urban environments and with plenty of other people around, they have faced similar predicaments in their own ways and the points raised apply to them too.
I hope some good comes from the program and that he is helped to stay and live out his life as he wishes.
 

ONE

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Nov 21, 2019
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N. Ireland
I found it interesting that few, if any, of the practicalities of his daily life were touched upon. Rather you got to see a very spiritual and aesthetic view of a life off-grid.

Before and during watching I was definitely onside with him staying in the cabin, upon reflection afterwards though, I do wonder somewhat. My own experience of elderly family has me wondering if someone with memory and vision problems is best served by using open flame for the majority of their heating, cooking and lighting needs.
 
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Riven

Full Member
Dec 23, 2006
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England
Enjoyed the program and came away thinking how lucky he has been to see and do what he has in his life. He did seem very content with his life choices, a lucky man. Even kept his accent (same as mine).
Goodluck to him.
 

Paul_B

Bushcrafter through and through
Jul 14, 2008
5,277
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Cumbria
I once knew an older lady in her late 60s or early 70s. She died after finishing her lunch midway into a 25 mile plus fell run in the lakes. She looked like she was early 50s. Amazing lady who did die suddenly doing what she wanted when she wanted to do it.

Can you think of a better way to go than a nice morning on Lakeland fells, a lunch break a little below a fell top for shelter, then pack up before one last cup of tea or coffee. Then as soon as you've finished your cup the lights go out quickly. Whilst I'd prefer it to happen later than my 70s I'd rather it happened before I reach the point of being unable to visit such places.

With the current adult/elderly social care situation you can't really buy your way into better treatment. If you have money your pay for state funded social care together with your own if a private resident. And it's likely where you end up your treatment won't be good enough because they're running on the bare bones of budget. No money for good elderly social care!
 
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Broch

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Jan 18, 2009
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Mid Wales
One of our neighbours, a farmer in his 80s, has just gone into a home. He has lived on his own for decades, he's impossible to talk to because he has nothing to say (even life-long friends say how difficult it is). The home will be a living nightmare for him with people fussing and 'doing for him'.

There are a few pretty decent homes around here (everything being relative) but, despite sitting on a lot of money (farmland, house, and, I'm told, a lot of savings) and having no family, he's decided to go into the cheapest he could find!
 

TLM

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Nov 16, 2019
2,128
1,004
Vantaa, Finland
From Fox:
"
An 83-year-old from Alabama started walking when he retired more than a quarter-century ago — and never stopped.

M.J. "Sunny" Eberhart, 83, of Alabama, strode into the record books Sunday as the oldest hiker to complete the Appalachian Trail.

Eberhart, known by the trail name Nimblewill Nomad, acknowledged that despite having tens of thousands of miles under his belt, the trail was tough going at his age, leading to quite a few spills on slippery rocks.
"
Keep on walking ... :thumbsup:
 

ONE

Full Member
Nov 21, 2019
81
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N. Ireland
Does anyone have any cheerful tales of octogenarian and nonogenarian adventurers still at it?
I always suspected that the chap in this news story just fancied a few days peace & quiet in the outdoors. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-york-north-yorkshire-54072508

And I do have one from my own experience, about 20 years ago, I took a trip with the then Mrs. to the Mournes in County Down, during the course of a few days we bumped into an extended family group several times, including once at the summit of Slieve Donard, when the grandfather told me he was celebrating his 90th and offered me a belt from his hipflask. I was late twenties/early thirties at the time and half dead from the walk!
 

Laurentius

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Aug 13, 2009
2,084
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Knowhere
I am a wannabe hermit, who lives in a block of flat with neighbours which is basically the reason I like to get out and about as often as possible as the quiet life is not possible here. I would rather die out of doors than in my flat. It is difficult finding a wilderness to make your own on an urban estate, but I have actually managed to do it in a manner of speaking, having my own little retreat where nobody but me ever goes, and I intend to keep it that way for as long as I can. I have mentioned it before, there was a guy in Coventry who set up his home in a wood and lived there for twenty years or so, and eventually died there. He had a good turn out at his funeral and they renamed the wood after him.
 
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Laurentius

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Aug 13, 2009
2,084
352
Knowhere
Living life on your own terms isn't sad but the prospect of not ending it on your terms is sad. The sad part of this story for me was the inevitable decline and how that looked like it was going to lead to others making the big decision for you.

I kept missing bits from his emergency call out I saw the recovery bit where he was tested by going fishing with two people watching him to see if he could live on his own. How the gp or doctor was asking him questions about what if scenarios. It's obvious he wanted the guy to realise his life wasn't great for his age and health. Like the medical professional wanted him to decide that so they wouldn't have to. The big decision to go onto civilisation for the care others think you need but the state doesn't give.

No, the end looked like it was heading for a sad end. That's why I thought it was sad. It made me think of diminishing facilities, choices and options you often get at the end of your days. If that's not sad I don't know what is.
I agree, was going to draw parallels to my own choices as I get older. I have not seen the documentary because I don't have a TV licence and don't watch TV but I have read about him. My mum was severely disabled and died before her time, but she died still having a purpose to her life and things to achieve, which would not have been the case if she had gone into a nursing home and had her freedom diminished.
 

Paul_B

Bushcrafter through and through
Jul 14, 2008
5,277
1,026
Cumbria
This Sunday will be my 80th birthday. Does anyone have any cheerful tales of octogenarian and nonogenarian adventurers still at it? The Queen and David Attenborough are my current role models.
Two 80+ year old widowers I met through the LDWA. One no longer walking but the other was doing 10 plus miles a day two weeks after knee replacement. Doctor told him he could do some short walks after 2 weeks if he took things easy. In his view 10 miles in the lakes classes as easy and taking things easy. Didn't take him long to get back to 20 plus days out in the lakes.

They were both friends. The one still doing long walks became a local Councillor (SLDC). The other wasn't to be outdone so became a county Councillor, one better!

Another guy did Bob Graham round at nearly 70. If you know what that is you'll understand how that's special. He's probably nearly 80 by now and I wouldn't be surprised to see him leaving me behind on a hill.

Undoubtedly people in their 80s rarely do more than when they were younger but I've known enough 80 year old people to know with luck and good health you can be very vital and active in your 80s. You've just got to make the most of it I guess. Same as at any age though.
 
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