Summary of 2012

This post may be precipitous, I may still get another walk in this year, although the weather is doing its best to put me off.

However, with that in mind, here is my summary of 2012.

I haven’t done one of these annual summaries for a while, so I thought it was about time I did. I’ve seen a couple of others from bloggers I follow and that has been the motivation I needed to get my finger out.

2012 has been a washout – the worst year I can remember for rain – certainly from late May onwards. I remember several consecutive weeks of walking in rain, or rain being forecasted, so expecting to walk in it. That can be demotivating, and towards the end of the year I fell foul of the black moods and had quite a few “can’t be arsed” Saturday mornings.

Despite that, this year has seen me walk further than any other year since I started walking, at least as far as I can tell. I’ve broken the 1000 mile barrier, if I include local ‘dog’ walks in the list. Although our dog died late last year, I still think of the walks I do around my local area as ‘dog’ walks. In the early part of the year, during an effort to lose 20kg of re-gained weight, I was out walking most days and this helped rack up over 500 miles of local walking.

The Skye Trail, this year’s long distance path, only accounted for 8 days and 107 miles; both of which are significantly less than my usual totals and this has resulted in a reduction in the number of walks and the distance attributable to ‘day’ walks. These are walks where a pack is involved, typically out on the hills somewhere.

The height gained during ‘day’ walks has increased slightly though, despite the fewer walks and this is down to the number of summits I’ve been visiting. My hill bagging activities have taken a step up this year. I spent many weeks in the Lake District this year, visiting new Wainwrights, Birketts and other fell categories. The higher Lakeland fells, in comparison to the Yorkshire Dales, where I spent the majority of the last two years, have accounted for this increase.

Stats for 2012

Total Miles Walked: 1,119.87 – no record from 2011
Height Gained: 115,500 – up 6% from 2011
Number ‘Day’ Walks: 55 – 7 less than 2011
‘Day’ Walk Miles: 594.65 – down from 666.8 in 2011
Number ‘Dog’ Walks: 100 – no record from 2011
‘Dog’ Walks Miles: 525.22 – no record from 2011
Number New Trig Points: 26 – up from 21 in 2011
Number New Summits: 105 – up from 24 in 2011
Of which, New Wainwrights: 43 – up from 6 in 2011
Number Photos Taken: 8,633 – down 7% from 2011

Favourite Walk:

The best walking day of the year was on the Skye Trail. I ran out of superlatives on that path, it really was a wondrous place to walk and the weather played its part by being dry for the whole walk. The best day of all was the walk from Sligachan to Kirkibost. It was 16 miles of glorious wandering amongst some of the most incredible scenery in Britain; through Glen Sligachan, Camasunary and down to Elgol. Have a read of the day report and see what I mean.

Loch Scavaig
Loch Scavaig

Favourite Fell:

My favourite summit of the year was a toss up – between two very different and probably under-rated summits. The first one I stumbled across while bagging some Wainwrights in the Northern Fells. I used it as a return route from Blencathra and although the weather turned nasty as I walked across it, I fell in love with Bowscale Fell, or at least the eastern end of it. It’s heather-clad and wild, with a narrow little path in places, and although it was boggy and lumpy, the hill seemed to affect me strangely.

Bowscale Fell
Bowscale Fell

The second option was also in the Lakes, this time a summit I was aware of and had been meaning to visit for a while. I chose a route to Fairfield that would allow me to descend to Cofa Pike. It’s nothing special to look at, any more than Bowscale Fell is, but I loved it. From Fairfield (as seen below) it is no more than a tiny hummock to be passed on the way to St. Sunday Crag; you don’t even need to visit the summit. But you should, it has a sharp, exposed summit and in the wind that was blowing that day it was a precarious place to stand, but I did and took in the fells around me. A lovely place.

Cofa Pike (centre left) with St. Sunday Crag (centre right)
Cofa Pike (centre left) with St. Sunday Crag (centre right)

Favourite Trig Point:

My favourite trig point of the year was also in the Lakes and I encountered it on a lovely walk, on one of the best weather days I had after May. I walked from Brownrigg Farm, up to Gowbarrow, which also has a fine stone-built trig point, and then out to Little Mell Fell. The weather was fantastic as I arrived at the summit and found an ignorant man standing on the trig point. He stayed there for 10 minutes, while I waited patiently for him to leave. I sat and basked in the sun a little way away from his childish antics and when he’d gone I got my photos. The fell is lovely, with great views and the trig point is splendid, no more special than dozens of others I’ve visited this year, but still my favourite, by a long way.

Little Mell Fell
Trig Point on Little Mell Fell


One final word of thanks, to all the readers of this blog over the past year and I wish you all a Happy New Year for 2013 and here’s hoping for a drier summer, where it only rains at night and we have snow on the hills until mid-April.

3 thoughts on “Summary of 2012”

  1. Excellent review Stuart (top name ;0)! I can totally agree with your highlights, i will look out for Cofa pike in the coming months when conquering St Sundays crag!
    Did you have a look down to Bowscale tarn while up the fell, its one of my favourite places in the Lakeland. I’ve introduced a few people to it over the past years, as its quite a gentle walk up from the road, because the welcome of it as you arrive is fantastic!
    I will look forward to following your blog in 2013! All the best!

  2. Stuart,

    It was quite a year you had and a real pleasure following your adventures via the blog. I think Maren has perfectly captured what many of us feel when out rambling.

    Wishing you a terrific 2013 and hoping to meet up in the spring in Scotland — where there’s sure to be no rain….


  3. a wonderfull summary Stuart – its good that you kept on walking although the waether did mutch to keep you off. There is something in that walking process I think which all those who walked some distance paths won’t miss. After a couple of hours, there comes a feeling of freedom and joy -how happy we are that we discovered to create this feeling with our own feet. I wish you a wonderfull Happy New Year full of wonderfull walks

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