The Rambling Man Review of 2018

Published 23 December 2018. Last updated 1 January 2019

The path through Greenwood Farm

Tis the season to be jolly. And a little reflective to. A time when we look back in awe at how fast the year has sped by. To think what was. And what perhaps should have been. And what a roller coaster of a year it was.

For me, this is what it looked like. At least, how it looked like within the confines of what this website is all about.

January, February and March

The Top of Jacob's Ladder
The Top of Jacob’s Ladder

In principle, the first quarter of the year should have been great. I’d accidentally ended up with loads of annual leave to use up by the end of March, so booked off a ridiculous number of Fridays. I planned that about half of them would be for walks, meaning I’d get a fair few days out and about. This was good as there was lots of things going on at the weekends.

But you know what they say about best laid plans. The weather put pay to most of them. Storms battered the country left, right and centre. And when it wasn’t raining, there was a lot of mud. In the end, I managed a whole two days out. And one of them was a Sunday.

Those two days were spent on the High Peak Way, a trail no one’s ever heard of because it isn’t really a trail. But by the rules this website runs on, it WAS a trail. And – frankly – should be again.

The High Peak Way goes through the Peak District. Despite living on its doorstep for two and a half years, the Peak District was an area I still didn’t feel like I’d explored enough. And the High Peak Way was perfect for that. And it’s also great for snow walking. I love walking in the snow, and the Peak District is one of those places you can walk safely in it. And enjoy great scenery too.

April, May and June

Abandoned millstones at Stanage
Abandoned millstones at Stanage

April saw me finish the remaining sections of the High Peak Way so you could say it got off to a good start. And at the beginning of May, I drove to the Lake District for the day to prove I could. Oh and to walk the Swindale Round too. Swindale’s in the Far Eastern Fells, and if you’ve never heard of it, neither had I. And everyone should because it’s lovely.

That was supposed to be the first of a couple of day trips to the Lakes, but things went a little wrong on that front. There was not a single follow up trip.

Part of the reason for that was a lack of organisation. As a parent, getting time to go off walking at a weekend is not always easy. But we try. My partner, Catherine, and I try to book in days in advance for one of to wander off. One day each a month. For some reason, that fizzled out and wasn’t properly resurrected until later in the year. It’s a learning. Make a plan. Stick to it. And make sure you keep on doing it. Because it’s easy to stop by accident.

July, August and September

Giant wooden acorn sign on the Yorkshire Wolds Way
Watch out, it’s a giant acorn!

Yay! It’s summer time! And it’s also the reason why this website went rather quiet for much of the year.

July saw me head to the Yorkshire Wolds to walk the appropriately named Yorkshire Wolds Way. It’s a 79 mile walk through a lovely part of the world that not many people know about.

With an old friend, we walked for five days between Hessle and Filey, and had a right old time. Although so extensive were my notes from the walk that it’s taken me several months to whip it all into readable. Oh and to go through the several hundred photos. But that’s mostly done. Look out for tales from that in the new year! There will (hopefully!) even be an ebook version. In the meantime, let me suggest you book a trip there. It’s brilliant.

August meant the family holiday to a lovely town in France. But with no major walking allowed. An attempt to get out more with the children saw several short walks exploring more of the local area, although this isn’t Rambling Man 4 Kids or anything. Still, if you have children and can get to the Peak District, let me recommend the Mam Tor New Road. They’ll love it.

As for September, well that passed by in a blur. Oh well, never mind.

October, November and December

The summit of Castle Crag. The plaque denotes the dedication of the fell as a memorial to the local men who died in World War I.

I love the Lake District. And I love visiting the Lake District. So what better to do during the October half term than to decamp to the Lake District! With the children, of course.

Lots of fun was had, and that included taking the children up Castle Crag. At 290m high, it may be pretty small, but it’s a great one for all the family.

With the children enjoying the company of their grandparents, Catherine and I also got another day out with an attempt to bag four fells on the Coledale Round. And we did get to do four fells. Just not the four we intended to do… More on that in the new year as well…

As if that wasn’t enough, October also saw me complete the Gritstone Trail in Cheshire. I had walked the first two days in 2017, but the final day fell of my radar a bit. That was finally rectified on a rather grim, wet and muddy Saturday in October.

By this point too, we’d got back on the planning radar. That meant when November came around I had another day ready for walking. This time I decided to start the White to Dark, a walking trail that connects the White and Dark areas of the Peak District. It’s been on my radar for a while, and the first day from Bakewell was corking. I’m thoroughly looking forward to finishing it in 2019.

So there we are. It’s been a mixed year, and one that shows the need for foresight and planning. And also for me to sort out my workload. I now have a significant backlog of content half written for this website, and far too many photographs to sort out. That’s one of the reasons why I didn’t post much (anything) for the second half of the year. And whilst I wasn’t, more and more was building up.

Still, I’m getting there. And don’t worry, Rambling Man’s going nowhere.

Except on walks anyway.


Paul Bailey

23 December 2018 at 11:34 pm

I know how you feel, Andrew. My plans to complete the Canterbury loop, on the North Downs Way, went out of the window. My wife being hospitalised for six weeks, at the start of the year obviously didn’t help, but fortunately she’s recovered well.

Annual leave is also a problem, and as well as using some whilst my wife was convalescing, I also took a fortnight off later in the year to visit America.

My local walking companions also seem to have fallen off the radar, for a variety of reasons, so there’s not a lot of rambling going on at the moment.

Here’s to next year then!

Anne Doyle

14 May 2019 at 5:08 pm

Just a note from an “oldie” to say that there is Life After Kids. I’m now walking as much as I can before I get too old or infirm to do so. I’ve just finished walking the West Highland Way, and hope to complete the Pennine Way next month. We did all the things you’re doing to encourage our kids to walk with us, including youth hostelling trips which we all loved. Now they’re all grown up with kids of their own, we have a bit more space…except when we are required to look after the grandchildren, but that’s all part of life’s rich pattern!

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