Twitter Detox

As a digital immigrant, I didn’t really know much about online safety when I started Rucksack Rosie using a pseudonym in 2012. My aims were to celebrate the life of my late mother and to remind myself that beauty and kindness still existed in the world. I wanted to connect with outdoor people who are normally excluded from outdoor debates. Naively I thought that is what the internet was for.

Because of this, I didn’t know how to react or who to turn to when my sites were targeted by cyberstalkers, malware and organised trolling following a terrible trip out with a stranger on Twitter to Wideopen Hill in 2014. This culminated in a trip to the police and a solicitor in 2017.

For 5 years I made repeated attempts to refer the Twitter gang to my personal site for information and news, but the main thing I have learned is that trolls like them can’t, or won’t, read. After my studies in 2016, issues from the same people flared up again when I mentioned that my application had been accepted for the TGO challenge, and their sheer unpleasantness resulted in my withdrawal from the event. 

This was soon followed by another outburst from a couple of people from the same group (without even knowing the circumstances) when I mentioned that I had made a call to Mountain Rescue for advice during a walk in memory of a relative.

RR Bullying 1
Blow the whistle on trolling and harassment

This group seem to have nothing better to do with themselves than to wreak emotional devastation on Twitter. After haranguing me for over two years, they eventually pressured me into disclosing private information which was really off topic on this blog.

All these experiences have changed my approach to blogging and social media, which is ironic on a blog intended to share beauty and kindness. As a result I have put Twitter on hold as I’m not sure it is the right platform for remembering people, beauty, kindness, survivors or fledgling businesses. When I try to balance out the positive contribution it is making to Rucksack Rosie against the emotional damage being caused by trolls, and the lax safety responses from the company involved, the option to come off Twitter became an increasingly tempting one.

Otherwise everything else will hopefully carry on with improved productivity in a less toxic environment. Thanks again to the people who have stopped by. It means a great deal to me.

Wild Flowers
Wild Flowers near Malham

Postscript: I finally came off Twitter completely in February 2020 having ceased to enjoy the experience at all some time ago. I am hoping to rediscover the pleasure in walking which drew me to blog about it in the first place. Names of trolls available on request.

Using Mountain Rescue

In May I walked the Speyside Way as a way to remember a relative who sadly passed away this year. During the walk I made a call to rescue services for navigational advice as there was a route discrepancy between my map and the signage. It was getting late and I was stuck in a seemingly endless rocky barbed wire corridor which wasn’t indicated on my map, and wasn’t wide enough to pitch my tent in. My tired reasoning was simply that a call for advice now might prevent a call for help later. Unfortunately the people I spoke to were unable to answer my query. When I mentioned this dilemma on Twitter after my return, James Boulter and a few other people began making unpleasant remarks about my decision to make a call, so this is just a quick response to them.

In the 20 years since I began hiking, I have once requested a call out from Mountain Rescue following an attack of vertigo, and have sought advice (usually regarding route diversions) two or possibly three times on solo long distance walks. On each of these occasions I made a donation to the relevant team.

Speyside Way
Speyside Way Map courtesy of LDWA and Ordnance Survey ©

I would just like to quote a DM I received from a professional rescue person (who shall remain anonymous) regarding my call for advice:

“I think if your call prevented you from getting into danger then it was worthwhile. The Mountain Rescue teams would rather you didn’t get hurt and so would I…I’ve met lots of people who should have done what you did”

I would also like to point out that, as I have a relative who was involved in mountain rescue, I realise how valuable their service is to the outdoor community. My relative sustained a permanent injury whilst carrying out a rescue with his team, so I am fully aware of the risks teams face while providing this service. I am also aware of my personal responsibilities to use their resources sparingly, to donate as and when I am able, and to provide the best outdoor advice I can.

Pennine Way
Pennine Way route map courtesy of LDWA and Ordnance Survey ©

Thanks. Rosie🌹