It feels like an awful long time since I entered anything into my diary, in fact it’s been over a month, which I suppose is a long time. Unfortunately the muse has not been on me and I’ve just not felt like recording anything – neither my weekly walks or other thoughts in the diary. Anyway, let’s not focus on the negatives, I’ve got the writing mood on me again and I decided to pen a summary of 2008 – from a walking perspective.
For me, 2008 was a super year, annus majesticus – my long distance walk was excellent, infinitely better than the one I did in 2007. My walking miles were significantly higher than in 2007, although still not as high as 2006. Overall I feel happier with the types of walks I have done and the quality of the hills I have visited.
Some of the arbitrary facts for 2008 include walking a total of 617 miles, not including any “dog walks” I may have done. Although I no longer walk the dog, not since she developed a problem with her near side rear leg and limps everywhere, I still occasionally walk the route we used to walk every day, about 3 miles along local riverside paths. These have become much rarer since I joined the gym, but that’s another story. The 617 miles for 2008 compare to a measly 481 for 2007 and a whopping 650 for 2006.
The 617 miles involved 129,500 feet of ascent and were completed in 41 different day walks and 13 days along my long distance path, resulting in 54 recorded walks. The shortest of these was 2 miles, bagging Brimmond Hill, the high point of Aberdeenshire, whilst the longest distance covered was 24 miles and I did this twice, firstly on Day 9 of my long walk and then a few weeks later doing the Yorkshire Three Peaks.
Other notable firsts for me were Snowdon and Scafell Pike, as well as Ben Nevis which I did as part of the long walk through Scotland. Snowdon was my first Welsh 3000 and Ben Nevis was my first Munro. I have since gone on to bag a further four Munros, bringing my total for the year to 5.
In my other bagging activities, 2008 saw me visit 45 Wainwrights, 33 of which were new ones. I visited 13 of Yorkshires Top 30 hills, including the top 3 highest. I also paid my respects to 62 new trig points, down significantly from 2007’s total of 82. 9 of the UK’s County Tops also felt the tread of my boots last year.
Picasa tells me I took 6,670 photographs during my walks. Walking seems to have become a by-product of my photography. In 2006 I did more walks and walked more miles and yet I took only 1,741 photos. In 2007 I took 2,762 pictures, perhaps 2009 will see me break the 10,000 barrier?
I’ve also decided to pick out a few special moments for 2008, in the form of an awards ceremony – bear with me, we’re nearly done.
The award for “Best Walk of 2008” must go to the fabulous day I had with Tex, climbing St. Sunday Crag in the snow in March. I’ve walked in better weather and on more interesting hills, but the all round feeling of achievement and splendour of that day has not been equalled.
The award for “Worst Weather of 2008” goes to The Calf in the Howgills, which I walked alone in October. The wind on that occasion was awesome and although I had a great day and thoroughly enjoyed the walk, the weather was truly awful.
“The Best Single Moment Experienced During a Walk in 2008“. This award was the hardest one to select. There were two obvious candidates, but in the end the runner-up prize went to the hour I spent on the summit of Ben Nevis. The views were spectacular and the overall achievement, for me, was memorable. However, the award goes to the 15 or 20 minutes I spent on Catstye Cam, watching the cloud peeling itself back from Swirral Edge below me and opening up majestic views all round – after walking up Dollywaggon Pike in what can only be described as a pea-souper. That same walk produced the winner of the next award too.
“My Favourite Walking Photo of 2008“, not the best photo but the one I like the most. While sitting on Catstye Cam watching the cloud inversion I spotted a couple of walkers on Striding Edge and used the super-zoom on my new camera to pick them out.
The photo is totally untouched, the almost complete lack of colour is due to the weather, the starkness of the image is down to the jagged outline of Striding Edge and the walkers are perfectly skylined – the swirling cloud below them is just the icing on the cake.
And that’s it for 2008 I think. It was a turning point in my walking career – it saw me climb my first 3000 foot mountain and my first serious challenge walk (Yorkshire 3 Peaks), my confidence grew immensely as a result and I’m much more willing to attempt walks I previously thought were way beyond me. Here’s looking forward to 2009.