2023- A year in review

Well, here we are at the end of another year and what a cracker it’s been here at Come walk with me UK. We have spent 2023 exploring walks across the world, leading D of E groups, trekking the long distance trails of Scotland and adventuring in new destinations. We couldn’t have done it without some fantastic partners and brilliant clients and this is a huge thank you to you all!
The first month of the year is always a quiet one but we made good use of it by renewing our Outdoor First Aid certificate with Tor Lea in the Peak District. It is a key part of what we offer here that all our staff are qualified and keep on top of their CPD and this course was a valuable part of this.
A great month that saw us working in partnership with the great team from Camps International. Over the course of a couple of weeks we were busy out in Kenya and then Nepal leading teams of young people from international schools in Dubai. In Kenya in addition to a brilliant safari and doing some hiking in the Marungu Hills the team busied themselves working on a number of community projects that helped mitigate human/nature conflict and assisting at the local primary school. In Nepal we had an active week of climbing, rafting, hiking and biking including a great afternoon interacting with the children at a local, rural school. A great start to the year!
It’s always around this time of year that the Duke of Edinburgh work starts for us. With Ian’s background in youth work it’s always a part of the calendar that he finds very rewarding, even with it’s own challenges, in this case, a LOT of mud! We worked with Wayahead Training in Nottingham and then headed down to the beautiful Ashdown Forest for a regular gig with Aim High Expeditions and Dulwich College.
This was the month when we really started to get stuck into some serious trekking. We were up in Scotland working with Thistle Trekking on the West Highland Way, always one of our favourite routes and a great introduction to multi day hikes. It’s always great to have international groups and to be able to share some of Scotland’s most famous spots, such as Loch Lomond, Rannoch Moor and Glencoe, with them. We carried on with a really fun group of ladies celebrating a couple of fiftieth birthdays with a 50km hike in the Moroccan High Atlas working with Tribal Tracks. It’s a stunning part of the world with a very distinctive culture and we had a fabulous time.
A real mixed bag of a month which saw us working with D of E groups in Staffordshire and South Wales interspersed with leading American groups in and around Grasmere in the Lake District and another West Highland Way with Thistle Trekking. Over the course of a lot of miles we made full use of our Audible audio book subscription particularly enjoying the Robert Galbraith detective series!
With some great weather during June it was amazing to be out and about and seeing such varied areas of the British countryside. We started in East Sussex with a D of E job before returning to the Peak District for another one with a new company, Addventure Awards. A reccy of the Affric Kintail Way followed with a brilliant wild camp in the middle of some of Scotland’s wildest scenery before we headed to Pembrokeshire for some sunny walking and even an odd dip in the sea. Our last job of the month saw us head back to Morocco and lead a group of lads who’d just completed their GCSEs up Jebel Toubkal, the highest peak in North Africa.
More D of E and then a new company and a new work country as I took a group from St Felix’s school in Suffolk to Greece with Global Action. We spent a week on the beautiful island of Kefalonia working on a Sea Turtle conservation project before heading to the mainland to explore some of the historic sights of ancient Athens.
It was a very Scottish month that saw us heading North of the border for an extended period of time with another great West Highland Way with a very enthusiastic group from the States. A long leg on the Great Glen Way saw my knee playing up a little and so I was very grateful to Harry for switching roles to allow me to be Trek Manager for the Affric Kintail Way we did with Thistle Trekking. A stay at Ratagan Youth Hostel was a real highlight for the whole year, such a magnificent setting.
It was a case of mostly time off over these two months with the Rugby World Cup in France and a trip to Japan taking up the majority of our time. Japan proved to be a real eye opener with some fantastic wildlife and hiking particularly on the Northern island of Hokkaido which proved to be a real highlight for the year. Those of you who bought our calendar will have noticed the scenery was particularly spectacular with the Autumn colours.
Our last job of the year saw us in the Wadi Rum desert in Jordan, Lawrence of Arabia country. Working with Tribal Tracks we took a group of four charity fundraisers on a 100km hike through the desert, unearthly rock formations and red sand taking in the higheat peak in the country. It was a magnificent way to round off a wonderful year of work.
Back to the bookshop for Christmas!