Welcome to a brand-new year! I knew what most of my plans and intentions for 2020 would be while we were barely in to the second half of 2019.
I’ll be making a YouTube video to compliment this one and, as I took all of the photos on my phone, you’ll have to forgive the social media-friendly portrait orientation!
My Next National Trail
I can’t remember where I first found the inspiration and attraction towards the Cleveland Way. It was possibly in Abbie Barnes’ YouTube video… Otherwise, I’d have been looking at Hadrian’s Wall or the West Highland Way (which I’ll certainly get around to).
It begins with a (partial) circumnavigation of the North York Moors, an
optional essential detour up to Roseberry Topping and, beyond the moor, the final two days of the route follow the coast path down through Whitby. I believe it also briefly overlaps another trail – which might be Wainwright’s Coast to Coast.
At the time of writing, I’ll probably be doing it alone, again (I haven’t asked anyone) and I’ve pencilled it in for early June (post-school holidays but pre-summer heatwave). My daily itinerary has been plotted in OS Maps but I’ve still to research the logistics of getting to and from the trail (from Weston-super-Mare) and my accommodation options. Nearer the time…
The Lake District
This is a big one for me. As someone who’s been walking regularly (obsessively) since 2012 and has travelled to and camped in different parts of the UK… I’ve still yet to reach the Lake District!
I’m seriously looking to break that this year. Potentially, before Easter – although nothing has been confirmed but I am looking at sharing the trip with someone. It’s a long way to travel solo (six hours of driving from here)… I live alone and spend too much time in this way. I do hope I can share the experience.
Go back a few years and you’d be looking to buy four Ordnance Survey maps (£8-£14 each) to cover the whole of the National Park in 1:25,000 scale detail… More recently, A-Z have created their ‘Adventure Series’ of map books with the all-important OS detailing and one book for the south, one for the north (approximately half the price).
In 2019, they managed to condense things even further in to a single booklet, which I gratefully received for Christmas. Less than £10 and you have the whole of the Lake District covered! This paper isn’t laminated or waterproof but, for someone making less frequent visits, I think it makes sense.
Back in November 2017, I achieved a Bronze NNAS over in the Brecon Beacons. I’ve had thoughts about going for the Silver award since (I’m deterred from the Gold by the need to know night navigation…). I’ve been leading Ramblers’ group walks since 2013 and I’ve more recently started my own Meetup group. Perhaps I should look at gaining a proper walk leader qualification.
Well, this handbook is recommended for anyone in this situation (there’s also a Welsh version). Many people in my shoes would probably looking at going for the full Mountain Leader qualification… But I’ve no interest in ropework, learning to wield an ice-axe and, to be honest, I don’t currently organise group walks in properly mountainous locations.
It was only recently that I learned that you can gain either a Lowland or Hill and Moorland Leader qualification without having to continue all the way to the Mountain Leader level. Hence the request for this book! It’s not something I’ll rush in to as it would cost money but I’ll try to keep it in mind throughout 2020.
A Second Trail?
I can remember sitting here [albeit in my previous flat] a year ago and writing about my ideas of completing two long-distance trails in 2019… But I didn’t accomplish anything beyond the South Downs Way, due to… Circumstances.
For me, living in North Somerset, I should be able to complete the Cotswold Way in a series of day walks or weekends and without eating in to my annual leave allowance.
A more ‘appetising’ ambition might be to tackle the Two Moors Way (‘Devon’s Coast to Coast’) in one hit… In fact, I’m almost certain I said the same thing last year! Another relatively local one that would only need another five days off work.
While I’m now up-and-running with my own Meetup walking group, I’m true and active with Brunel Walking Group from the Ramblers. This will enable me to go on any weekend-away camping trips that become available throughout the summer. I do enjoy those trips away with people, even when revisiting areas that I already know.
More Wild Camping!
I still haven’t done a wild camp since May 2019… However many times I sit and type that, I still find it hard to believe! Whether it’s on Dartmoor or somewhere less-legal and close to home, I’d really like to get out with my tent more often through 2020. Living on the edge of a town can have that effect on people…
Looking back now, my current shortlist is much lighter than I’d somehow anticipated. Easy to manage, perhaps! It seems unlikely that our “quartet” will be heading to Scotland this year, after conquering Snowdonia and the Peak District in each of the previous two. That much-anticipated voyage may have to wait until 2021.
I’m sure there will be other ideas and opportunities that crop up throughout the year. I’ll also probably share my plans and thoughts towards certain items (namely the Lake District trip and Cleveland Way adventure) nearer the time.