Nature has always been about the ‘survival of the fittest’, but sometimes even the fittest cannot survive its harsh conditions. What happened with David Austin is a classic example of how merciless the outdoors can truly be. He had embarked upon a year-long survival challenge in the Scottish wilderness, but was found dead within a month.
The 29-year-old from Derby was on a mission inspired by English adventurer Bear Grylls. Sadly however, his body was discovered on December 31st by a track worker in a remote mountain hut located in Corrour, Highland Perthshire. The condition in which the body was found suggests that it had been lying there for several weeks, unnoticed. According to post mortem reports, the most plausible cause for death was hypothermia.
Photo © Shandchem
Austin is said to have known what he was getting into. Apparently, he had taken a few courses on bushcraft skills and outdoor survival for the past two years. It was always his dream to rough it out for a whole year, and he had taken time off of work to accomplish this. He wanted to be at the mercy of the harsh winter so badly that he did not even carry a mobile phone with him. Last November, he had informed his family that he would be heading north on a survival mission and now the news of his death has left them dumbfounded. Austin’s mother was unable to contain her grief when she spoke of her son. “He loved his survival, climbing, that sort of training. I knew what he was going to do but I did not expect this. I’m distraught, I can’t believe it. You don’t expect this and I don’t know how to deal with it.”
Photo © Boon Low
Although Austin’s trail remains unknown, it is speculated that he headed to Glasgow from Derby and then went on to Corrour, UK’s highest mainline station. The first heavy snow fall of the season occurred during this time. As he was heading towards the next railway station at Rannoch, he may have started facing difficulties. He might have taken shelter at the hut during this time, but what happened after that remains a mystery.
Bear Grylls (Photo © Discovery Channel)
People say that he was well equipped, and yet fell prey to the extreme weather conditions. Even survival school instructors say that the chances of anyone surviving a Highland winter outdoors and living off the land are pretty slim. It seems that Austin had the courage to take on the rough conditions, but courage is hardly what’s needed to survive the cold. It sure is tragic the way he died, all by himself.
via Daily Mail