2019: Looking Ahead

Welcome to a brand-new year!

I thought I would spend some time looking towards outdoors-related events I have coming up for this year and share it all with you in this post.

My Next National Trail

Having walked The Ridgeway in 2018, I’m keen to crack on with my next trail and have decided upon the South Downs Way. It is slightly longer than The RIdgeway but apparently well marked, water taps occur every so often and the western-end (my probably starting point) is not a million miles from home.

Ivinghoe Beacon; my end-point along The Ridgeway National Trail (September 2018).

I still have work to do in preparing for this one… Last summer, I learnt carrying a large and heavy pack is neither fun or sensible. Progress has been made towards reducing weight and minimising my load but I know there is still room for improvement. I currently aim to complete the South Downs Way within five or six days.

If I have the time, I’d like to also walk the Cotswold Way in 2019, even if that means dividing the trek between two long weekends. I had the idea of doing it in day walks last year (which didn’t happen) but I still favour the more adventurous approach.

Away from the National Trails, I like the thought of walking the Two Moors Way (Devon’s Coast to Coast), which crosses both Dartmoor and Exmoor. A more challenging affair, I’m sure and not least because it’s merely a ‘long-distance footpath’, as opposed to a well-maintained National Trail like the others I’ve mentioned.

Camping Trips

In 2018, I only managed to go away camping twice (South Somerset and Cornwall), in addition to two of my three nights spent alongside The Ridgeway. In previous years, I would head off on at least four occasions… I quite miss that simplicity and freedom of travelling by car and camping alone; planning for my own long weekend.

Dolgellau (May 2017).

I look forward to seeing what crops up on the walking group’s calendar this year, as we were definitely missing an event that would normally occur around the second May Bank Holiday weekend.

Perhaps two years ago, I joined the Outdoor Bloggers community and have received a number of benefits from doing this. Their annual camping weekend is set for April and it’s going to be in or around Cheddar – which is only a few miles down the road from me! I’ve not met anyone else within the group and it could be an ideal opportunity for me.

Scotland

It’s a little-known fact that Edale in Derbyshire is the most northerly point of which I have scaled this spinning globe we call Earth. Excluding the many trips to Wales, I haven’t been to a proper foreign country since 2004.

This was taken near Wales. I’m expecting more midges further north… (December 2017).

This year, I’m looking to cross the border north in to Scotland. Accompanied with the same trio of friends who I climbed Snowdon with in July, we now have Ben Nevis in our sights, along with its CMD Arete, the Ring of Steall and some other scrambling/walking highlights I’m currently unaware of.

My First Wild Camp

I had this idea about attempting my first wild camp (mostly likely down on Dartmoor) in 2018… For a number of reasons, that didn’t happen. I’m not completely put off of the idea – as much as I do prefer the comforts and convenience of an actual campsite – but I’d really like to make an effort to get down there, camp for one night, cook breakfast in the wild and walk for a day or two.

After four days of heavy rain recently, I still haven’t had enough of Dartmoor.

But not before late spring at the earliest.

YouTube

I currently have two channels on YouTube and Olly Outdoors is the one I regard as being my ‘second’ and newest of the pair. I think I began 2018 with around one-hundred subscribers and have entered 2019 with close to two-hundred and thirty, meaning I’ve seen an increase of around 130%… Had I not suffered problems with my internet service through the spring, I reckon I’d have been able to raise that figure closer to the five-hundred mark.

One of my aims for 2019 is to continue making videos (for both channels…) and to encourage the growth and following of my work. I also have ideas about meeting up with other YouTubers within this online community – one guy has already spoken about a mutual desire and I know of at least one other who’d be interested, if the timing is right.

My eBook…

I’m a bit disappointed in myself, to sit here now and realise that I’ve still not made any progress with my intention to write and publish an eBook on my experience of walking The Ridgeway.

Since finishing the trail in early September, I’ve had a lot of spare time around unemployment, self-employment and the extensive Christmas break… But I’ve been prioritising other things. I really hope that I can find a way in which to sit down and focus on this idea as I do believe in my abilities as a writer and I’d like to share that portion of my story, to and from the trail.

Thanks for reading and Happy New Year to you all.

Author: Olly Parry-Jones

I live in Weston-super-Mare, close to the Mendip Hills and I enjoy spending time outdoors. This inclues long day walks, camping trips and backpacking trails. I have two blogs: Olly Writes (woodworking, DIY, baking) Olly Outdoors (walking, camping and kit) You can also find me on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. My second YouTube channel is titled 'Walks with Olly'.

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