The blog has been somewhat neglected of late, a combination of a quieter time of year and a change in my personal circumstances. However, New Year’s Eve is probably the most apt time to reflect on what has been another fantastic and varied year here at Come walk with me UK. The very fact that I haven’t been able to get out and about as much as I’d like to for personal exploration is counterbalanced by the fact that one of the main reasons for this is that I have been so busy with work 🙂
The year started with a wet and wild circuit of the Derwent and Howden Reservoirs with Nathan, it was a genuinely wild day but a great way to blow away the cobwebs. Our next couple of months saw some great overseas trips starting in the Great Smoky Mountains where we just about avoided “Snowmageddon” and were treated to some awesome waterfall views. Camps International have been great to me this year and after the USA it was off to warmer climes with a couple of trips to Dubai to lead international school expeditions to Borneo and Sri Lanka. Highlights included seeing the Orang-Utans and Sun Bears in Borneo and the ascent to Sigiriya Rock Fortress in Sri Lanka. During the Summer I was lucky enough to spend a month with Camps on expedition in Peru and to lead my team along the magnificent Salkantay Trail (topping out at 4600m) to reach Macchu Piccu, an all time life highlight! Another highlight of the year was my “Winter Skills” training course with Cairngorm Adventure Guides, after two days of glorious sunshine and sparkling snow, I was treated to the opposite side of the coin on day three when the weather showed exactly why the Scottish mountains can be such a dangerous environment.
It was a year when the Duke of Edinburgh Award really took off for us. We worked across the country from the Pentland Hills in Scotland down to Ashdown Forest in Sussex with other trips to the Brecon Beacons and plenty of time in the Peak District and around the Cotswolds. Thanks to Aim High, BXM Expeditions and Entrust for providing the bulk of the work and looking forward to plenty more of it in 2017. We also enjoyed the chance to undertake plenty of private guiding, always a favourite, it started with a snowy wild camp with Sam in the Peak District and ended with Josh, a cabin crew member from Singapore, exploring the Great Ridge. In between we had some beautiful days in the Lake District, I had to convince some of our overseas visitors that the sun didn’t always shine!
Coming from the Sussex coast, I have always enjoyed coastal walking but it’s something that we don’t always do a lot of here at Come walk with me. This year was the exception however and we had a great time exploring the Cornish coast with Jay, Iona and Ruthy, with the walk from Lizard Point to Mullion Cove being a real highlight. Later in the year I ended up on the Pembrokeshire coastal path with my Dad and his wife in some frankly stunning weather! I used to visit as a child and had forgotten just how stunning it was, I will be back!
The rest of the year saw plenty of time spent on Snowdon, a few days in the Brecon Beacons with Trekfest and the QE2 Centre, some primary school bushcraft camps with Entrust, a couple of Yorkshire 3 Peaks in wildly different weather conditions and then finally a great few days of NCS with the Leeds Carnegie instructor team at Ingleborough Hall. I feel immensely privileged that I have had another amazing year doing the thing I love for a living and sharing my passion for the great outdoors with such a varied and lovely group of customers. It’s helped me through some difficult personal times this year and I am looking forward to another year of exploring, walking, scrambling, getting weather beaten, ascending, descending, splashing through puddles and admitting the views. Thanks to everyone for another great year.