Reviewing the walking of 2012

Published 18 December 2012

Lichen on a signpost

Every year, some point in the Spring, I like to make a plan of walks I’m going to do in the year ahead. I call them my Grand Walking Plans, or – as in the case of this year – the (Not So) Grand Walking Plans.

Compared to previous years, this year I didn’t plan on doing a huge amount. I didn’t have a lot of annual leave to use, and I knew that some of it would be spent preparing for the arrival of our new baby – not that I was admitting that back in April.

With Sam due to arrive, I decided that 2012 would be dominated by a year of “finishing off”. I had too many loose ends going on.

One of those loose ends was finishing The Ridgeway which we’d started in 2011 but for various reasons, had never completed. Well as it happened, by the time I’d published my plans in April, we’d already done the final day a half walking that took us from Princes Risborough to Ivinghoe Beacon (which is a rather nice place – I’ll be back.) Hurrah!

Start of the Limestone Way

Then there was The Limestone Way. Catherine and myself did the first half of this (from Castleton to Matlock) in February 2012 and the Completer Finisher in me just knew I had to finish it off by doing the second section from Matlock to Rocester. I’d originally hoped to do it in May or June, but circumstances got in the way and it finally happened over a weekend in September.

Whilst unemployed in 2011 I’d started doing the North Downs Way as a series of day hikes in between interviews and job application forms. I haven’t published up my North Downs Way adventures yet – something I plan to do in the new year. It’s all written – just waiting to go. Given I started doing it whilst unemployed and finished it in a new job and just a short while before the birth of my first child, it felt like a walk that was really marking a transition in my life in more ways than one. When I finally reached the finish line in Dover in September I sat on the beach there, everything felt just rather strange.

Loch Frisa

Over the summer we had a two week trip to Scotland planned. With Catherine being pregnant we abandoned the idea of doing some long distance route whilst up there (although Catherine did do the Dales Way a month earlier) however we did have some plans to walk various walks in Scotland, including a trek over Rannoch Moor.

Well as I wrote about at the time, as far as our walking plans were concerned, the whole trip was a disaster thanks to bad weather which saw floods, railways washed away and more! I did, at least, get to do my second ever Munro in the form of Meall nan Tarmachan, but most of our walking was just a bit more sedate.

Finally I decided to pencil in a trip to the Lakes at some point in the year, and made it up there over the Jubilee bank holiday. This time I headed to Eskdale, an area I’ve never been to. In the week before heading up I planned to do about eight of Wainwright’s Southern Fells, managing six of them which has to be a record success rate for a Lake District trip for me. Plus I escaped all that annoying “oh isn’t the Queen amazing” nonsense which was a double plus success for me.

All in all, 2012 wasn’t a bad walking year. What happens next year, as Sam continues in his first year, well that’s another question entirely.

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