2018: Looking Ahead

Here we are, ten days in to a new year and I’d like to spend some time looking ahead to potential aims for my time spent outdoors in 2018.

I’m really hesitant to use the term ‘adventure’… I’ll be writing more about that in another post

Leading Walks and Camping with Group

It goes without saying that I’m committed to walking with Brunel Walking Group for the duration of 2018. Aside from the fact that I am now the group’s Footpaths Secretary, I aim to continue leading walks, going away on camping trips with the others and keeping an eye open for other activities that become available.

In 2017, I think I led a total of eight walks and went on three away weekends… Despite saying to myself a year ago that I wouldn’t lead any more than three! We can I’ll be leading at least half-a-dozen in 2018.

The Ridgeway (backpacking)

I still have an interest in backpacking some of the UK’s National Trails and, although The Ridgeway didn’t happen in August of September, I’m currently pencilling it in for mid-to-late May 2018. I’ll be writing (and vlogging) more on this in time.

LDWA

I have very recently joined the Long Distance Walker’s Association, under the recommendation of two friends who are existing members. This opens up greater opportunities for long day walks, meeting people and exclusive discounts.

Dorset / SWCP

It’s been almost three-years since I last spent an entire weekend in Dorset. In 2014, Dorset was the basis of my first ever ‘solo trip’ and I’ve completed many of them since (including a return visit in 2015).

I’ve walked a good number of miles along the South West Coast Path through Dorset but I know there are still some gaps to fill in. Breaking the SWCP down in to regions seems like my most practical way of completing the coast path.

Cornwall

I’ve only been to Cornwall once (as an adult) and that was in the midst of a mid-July heatwave in 2016. I’ve been itching to go back and add to my fifteen miles of hiking along the Cornish coast. Depending on what becomes available in the walking group’s calendar, I’d really like to go back.

Snowdonia

There’s talk of a small number of us heading to Snowdonia for a few days in April… The Snowdon Horseshoe and Tryfan have already been discussed! I’ve been to the region twice now, in recent years but have yet to even attempt Snowdon.

Even if it’s overcrowded and the views from the top are non-existent when I do get there, I’d like to be able to tick it off. I’d also like to do Ben Nevis and Scafell Pike in time but I feel Snowdon is ‘overdue’ for me, personally.

Cambrian Mountains

I’ve been curious about the Cambrian Mountains for a while. Not far south of Snowdonia and west across the marshes from Shropshire. Within these mountains lie the source for the River Wye and River Severn. I get the impression they’re not as frequently visited as other parts of Wales and, well… They’re a range of mountains!

Shropshire

My first visit to Shropshire in August 2016 was an all-round great experience. I do get the impression that too many people make the mistake of bypassing the area en-route to other areas, north and south.

I’d like to go back and bag a couple of other summits, including the region’s highest point. There was casual talk, a few months ago, about going away with someone but I’ve no certainty of the idea, at this present moment.

Iceland

I haven’t been abroad since July 2004. Only a few months ago, I bothered to renew my passport. A small group of us were talking about a ‘hiking holiday’ to the Nordic island and we postponed initially, in the interest of allowing ourselves more time for planning.

Word on this front has been very quiet for several months. I could be the brave one to stand up and ask the question but that’s not really in my nature!

Severn Way

I mentioned the River Severn earlier and, although you’ve yet to read about this in my posts, I’d started walking more of the Severn Way, locally; a long-distance footpath (over two-hundred miles) that follows the river from the centre of Bristol all the way to the Cambrian Mountains.

In recent years, I’ve already walked short sections of it around Severn Beach and in Gloucestershire. I’ve been plotting circular walks as far north as Tewkesbury – beyond there, I’ve found it harder to plot circular walking routes. But it’s enough to keep me interested.

Cotswold Way

Several times, I’ve told myself that, once I have completed The Ridgeway, I could attempt to walk the Cotswold Way in one go.

But, I’ve already covered a fair portion of it in circular walks and, instead of backpacking, I’m not aiming to commit to walking it at weekends, using circular walks and public transport where practical. It’s mostly the northern end that I’ve barely covered.

East Mendip Way

I’ve walked the West Mendip Way a number of times and, until only three days before writing this, I had not completed the East Mendip Way… You’ll get to read about it, soon!

Dartmoor

I’ve not set even a single foot on this land and yet, over Christmas, I’ve become addicted to a YouTube channel called Summit or Nothing. Lots of people have made videos about walking and camping there but, through the experiences of Trevor and Nathan, I find myself feeling less intimidated by the prospect of walking a boggy and arid landscape.

There’s a slim possibility I’ll do my first wild camp or ‘overnighter’ there, this year… It will largely depend on how confident I’m feeling. I’ll probably get a couple of walks in, first.

Exmoor

I feel sorry to realise that I haven’t set foot on Exmoor for over a year now! August 2016. Despite making a pledge last year, I’m sure; to invest more time exploring this moor in 2017. There’s also an urge to continue walking the South West Coast Path through here.

Two Rivers Way (Video)

The Two Rivers Way (or 2 Rivers Way) is a local long-disance linear path (albeit, only twenty-miles long) that follows the rivers Yeo and Chew locally, from the village of Congresbury out to the town of Keynsham.

I’ve already completed the walk in sections but I’d like to try and raise awareness of it by filming the route as well.

Somerset Three Peaks (Video)

I have a similar interest with the Somerset Three Peaks path; a sixteen-mile circuit that climbs no mountain but, it does warrant some excellent views, a good workout and I’d like to share that with people in video format.

Quantock Greenway, North (Video)

One third idea for a video is the walk the Northern section of the Quantock Greenway circular route. A good introduction to the hills, perhaps. Also a challenging walk, from memory.

YouTube

Along with the walking videos, I’d like to maintain a regular stream of uploads to my Olly Outdoors channel. I reached the one-hundred subscribers mark before Christmas and will be doing a one-off video to commemorate that. Kit reviews and vlogs of items I’ve purchased will also feature.


Another intention of mine is to find myself a workshop in 2018. How that will happen, where, when and how that will affect these ideas… Right now, I’m unsure!

Thanks for reading.

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11 thoughts on “2018: Looking Ahead

  1. jcombe

    It’s always good to have plans for what you’d like to do I think and I hope you managed to do all or some of those.

    I’m also planning the East Mendip Way for some point this year. The Dorset Coast remains my favourite county in England so I hope you manage to do some more walks on the South West Coast Path. I’ve done the Cotswold Way and Ridgeway already they are both lovely walks so I’m sure you’ll enjoy those too, if you get a chance to do them.

    I’d very highly recommended Iceland (even if you don’t go with a group). I took my first visit there in September 2016 and loved it so much I went back against last year and I am sure it will not be my last visit. A truly amazing country if you like stunning scenery and seeing and experiencing amazing power of nature. It’s around 80% the size of England, but with a population of only a little over 300,000 so most of it is untouched and stunningly beautiful. Maybe not such a good place if you want a beach holiday, though! I am considering a post on my own blog about some of the amazing coastline of Iceland that I’ve seen. You can see a lot of things you won’t see in the UK too. Lava (including lava cliffs), icebergs, erupting geysers, geothermal springs, massive waterfalls, basalt cliffs, glaciers and if you are lucky (as I was), the Northern Lights. You can see my photos if you are interested here : https://www.flickr.com/photos/joncombe/collections/72157674639673746/
    The only downside is the cost. From my experience Hotels will cost around twice what you’d pay in the UK, food and drink 2 to 3 times the cost. Wild camping is permitted, but remember it is quite a bit colder than the UK. Also public transport is very poor (other than in Reykjavik and to the airport) so you will probably need to factor in the cost of a hire a car unless you are on an organised tour or book a coach trip (which are also very pricey). If you want to get off the beaten track for walks, most rural roads (and a fair few main ones) are gravel not tarmac and roads prefixed with an “F” are only legal to drive in a 4×4 (which are much more expensive to hire).

    I’m hoping to finish the coast of Wales this year and make further progress around Scotland.

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    1. Olly Parry-Jones Post author

      Hi Jon, thanks for all of this.

      I’m glad to hear you’ve been to Iceland and can speak from experience. In many ways, I wonder if it might be ‘easier’ to travel solo or with fewer people. On the other hand, we could share expenses.

      What time of year did you go, each time? We’re keen to avoid July/August.

      I’d love to see any post you could produce on your time exploring the Icelandic coast. I did have a look at your photos last night and would love to visit similar areas.

      We were talking about AirBnB options and sharing the costs, last time we talked. I think the hiring of a car is inevitible but thanks for your heads up on the law. I also read that you have to use dipped lights in daylight.

      Good luck in your quest to finish the Welsh coast and progress with Scotland.
      Olly

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      1. jcombe

        I’ll see if I can put together a post about the coast of Iceland. I had sort of planned it as a Christmas/New Year “special” but ran out of time to write it!

        I went there both times late September (I think the last week of September). If you want to see the Northern Lights if you go in June/July (possibly August too) it will not get dark enough to stand any chance of seeing the Northern Lights (whilst it’s not quite 24 hour sunshine in high summer I think the sun only dips below the horizon for 2 hours or so, so it doesn’t get properly dark). The downside is I think the weather can be a bit less settled in Autumn than in summer (though the tourist shops all sell T-shirts with the slogan “If you don’t like the weather in Iceland, just wait 5 minutes” which is not far from the truth!

        Yes you also need to drive with the lights on all the time. Speed limits are also very low, the fastest you can legally drive anywhere is 90kmh (55mph), though I did find despite this many of the locals do speed. I’m told the fines for speeding are high and there are a lot of cameras – thankfully I didn’t get to find out the hard way. Outside of Reykjavik and the suburbs (and perhaps the road between there and the airport) there is very little traffic, especially off the ring road (road 1).

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    1. Olly Parry-Jones Post author

      Thank you. I agree that making plans abd setting out intentions definitely helps. I just don’t do it often enough! šŸ˜‰

      Good luck to you also in the year ahead. How are your plans looking?

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  2. Ben Eagle (thinkingcountry/@benjy_eagle)

    Wow, what a busy year ahead you have ā€“ if you can do all that it will be an incredible year. Iceland is onmy list as well, although Iā€™m not sure when I will practically be able to go. Also planning on tackling the Coleridge Way, a stretch of the Cotswold Way and walking in the South Downs, as well as exploring more of my beloved Essex coast. Happy new year!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Olly Parry-Jones Post author

      Thanks, Ben. I do hope I can do most of it and I won’t be able to say I’m short of ideas at any point. šŸ˜‰ My gut tells me Iceland won’t happen this year… But, we’ll see.

      I like your plans. Are you aware of ‘Story Walks’ along the Coleridge Way? Worth researching, if it’s still active. Christopher Jelley is the man behind it. The South Downs Way is on my list for another way, along with Hadrian’s Wall.

      Happy New Year to you, too. šŸ™‚

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