2012 in Pictures and Memories

2012 has been a bit of an odd year and after taking 8 months off in 2011, this year was always going to be a little more work focussed. However, I never expected my current assignment to last into the summer, let alone make it to the end of the year. Whilst this kept me from big chunks of time on the hills, it has been advantageous in two ways. Firstly, that  it has now put me in the position of being able to take an extended break in 2013 which will afford the opportunity to undertake some bigger walks (more about that later). And secondly, the nature of the assignment meant a far greater degree of flexibility and the ability to dictate when I took time off than I might have got from a different client. That ultimately resulted in more trips.

What this has meant is that I’ve done much more walking during the year than I thought I would, amounting to 9 trips to hilly places, and once local adventures are added in, to a total of 28 walks covering locations in the Lake District, Snowdonia, Yorkshire Dales, Peak District, Cornwall, Kent and Essex. If nothing else, I could never have dreamed of walking in as many places as this during what was supposed to be a head down working year.

The other thing I never expected was to reschedule, postpone, cancel or bail out of as many trips as I did. And of course it was the weather to blame. It’s been a pretty shocking year for getting decent weather and walking times to coincide, and the number of times I’ve changed plans really reflects the fact that for me walking is about enjoying it more so than persevering whatever the conditions. That’s not to say I haven’t been out in some pretty frisky weather and coped with it – but if I know it’s going to be miserable and I can hold fire for a better opportunity, then I have generally done so.

Another theme of the year has been the re-emergence of camping in my walking and this has led to a much more flexible approach to trips with no accommodation to book, and hence a much lower (or even zero) lost cost if I bail out or decide not to go. But I seem to have spent all this saved money on new kit instead. In time this should pay off.

I could ramble on for ages about the year, but it’s probably best if I let the pictures do most of the talking.

The Year in Stats

Distance walked 258 miles (415km)
Ascent 47,887ft (14,596m)
Trips 9 (Lake District[3], Snowdonia[2], Cornwall[2],Yorkshire Dales, Peak District)
Trip Reports Snowdonia at Easter, Lakes in May, SWCP, Lakes July, Yorkshire Dales Meet, Bodmin Moor, Peak Meet, Lakes September, Snowdonia November.
Walks 28
Trail 100s 1 new
Marilyns 7 new
Nuttalls 25 new
Wainwrights 25 new
Wainwright Outlying Fells 1 new
Birketts 36 new
Injuries 1 (dog)
Wild Camps 9
Tame Camps 5 (including 1 testing the new tent in the garden)
Gear Expenditure £1,448
Trip Expenditure £1,271

Highlights of the Year

The year only really got going in April with the trip to Wales where we caught the tail end of the snow. A cold scramble up Tryfan’s north ridge was memorable for the hail and rainbow and my companion’s trousers losing their structural integrity half way up. The picture of Tryfan flecked in snow in the gallery above is one of my abiding images of the year.

My first wild camp at the start of May was of course memorable too, and I begun my wild camping career with nice pitches at Codale Tarn and Tarn at Leaves. It took until September though to get a decent sunset and cloud inversion on a camp, and in the meantime I had several wet/windy/misty pitches, in particular a very wild night at Small Water where the tent was really tested.

2012 was also memorable for socialising. As someone who does the vast majority of my walking solo, it made a nice change to meet up with various people from Twitter – in particular @LoneWalkerUK, @InSearchOfCloud, @FlintyRich, @Leerockwell15 and @munro277 and a whole load of people, too numerous to list at the Peak Meet.

Looking to 2013

The coming year should be a lighter year work-wise and so I’m looking to undertake some longer walks. Foremost amongst these is the Cambrian Way which I’ve pencilled in for late April/early May and which should take 3 weeks. I’m going to try to do it in one go, but won’t see it as a disaster if I have to do it in two – I’m doing it for the quality of the walking more than the personal challenge. Then there will be the annual chunk of the SWCP, which because we cut it short this year due to family illness will see us repeating the stretch between Looe and Par before continuing along to Falmouth. I’m sure there will also be a handful of meetups along the way, chiefly the winter Peak Meet in February, rumours of a gathering in the Cheviots, and quite probably some short notice impromptu meets with whoever is at a loose end. Sprinkled among this lot will be some Lake District trips, the completion of the North Downs Way (7 years after starting) and possibly another shortish long distance path. And lots more wild camps. After all, I’ve got the cost of all that new gear to recoup.

4 thoughts on “2012 in Pictures and Memories

  1. I quite like the round up of the year including your stats….what a great idea! I might have to do something similar for my round up of 2012 which is still not written up 🙂

    Looks like you had a really good 2012 and hope 2013 goes well for you too. A small cautionary note though if you are planning to do the Cambrian Way next year. It is a very hard LDP, not that i think you cant do it, just make sure you do lots of training for it.

    I plan to do it in 2014 if I can get the time off work and maybe i’ll have to split it in half and do the Northern and Southern sections in different years. Good luck with the preparation and hope you have a great trip when it comes around

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  2. Thanks for the comments. I’ve been wanting to do the Cambrian Way for a few years now, but realised I wasn’t up to it. It’s not so much the distance, it’s the fact that a typical schedule will result in an average of 3000ft of ascent every day, so in reality very much more than that on some days given that there are low level flat bits in the mix. The other thing that’s put me off in the past has been the logistics, but my plan to wild camp a big chunk of it should largely kill that issue off and should also minimise the amount of unnecessary descent and re-ascent for overnight stops. With a training plan in place, a gym around the corner and a training trip pencilled in, I’m less concerned about the physical side of it now as I also have the time to do it at whatever pace suits. It’s the weather that I’m concerned about. I’m really looking forward to it. It should be a good test of navigation and judgement on the hill.

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  3. Well having seen your planning post for it, I reckon you are being very sensible with the schedule and the target of days you are aiming for. As you say, its not the distance is the 1000’s of feet daily ascent. I know section 2 very well and although not as bad as the Rhinogs it is quite hard in places.
    I might have to go for 2 different sections to complete as I cant see me getting three weeks off without her indoors complaining! 2 x 9 days as 2 chunks was my current thinking based on the fact that logistics for 2 “separate” walks becomes easier and the toll on the body overall becomes less.
    I reckon you have the right idea with the way you have approached the planning and good luck with it. The whole walk takes you through some exceptionally beautiful landscapes although I have only had the pleasure of walking about a third of it to date
    bon voyage mon brave!

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  4. Thanks for your thoughts and sentiments. Luckily I don’t have the same issue with time off other than the point at which it becomes taking the p*** for those left at home. But it’s one to decide nearer the time when I can make a more accurate assessment of what I can do in the light of more detailed planning and with some training under my belt. Despite having chickened out of doing it two years ago because it would have meant doing it in two chunks, I’ve come to realise that the quality of the walk means it’s no less worth doing if that’s the way it needs to be done. It really is about the walk rather than the achievement of doing it in one. Having said, I’m still going to have a shot at seeing if it’s possible to do it in one go.

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