We should be moving house again within a couple of weeks, this will be my fourth house move in just over two years. The difference this time is that we’re buying and it will be a home rather than just another house to rent, a place for the three of us to call our own for as long as we want it to be. The new place has a shed as well, I can hardly contain myself, a shed of my own! The moving around was exhausting but I still managed to get out for a few days and nights here and there, so try and think of this as a round robin with added bivi bags and bothies.
The year began with three days backpacking in a frozen Carneddau, thick low cloud, strong winds and heavy snow made the first day or so an exercise in map and compass skills. On the second night I camped on the edge of the frozen lake at the head of Cwm Caseg before a scramble up Yr Elen where the clouds finally lifted to reveal Snowdonia wearing its best winter coat.A few trips were made down to a quiet stretch of the River Trent to find my sea legs, the routine of cycling to the river, inflating a packraft and heading off to Newark before cycling back to Nottingham was worth it alone for the long awkward silent stares from the anglers on the river bank.A well planned trip to explore Torridon was sacked off to due to some utterly horrific weather which would have made four nights in a tent wet and miserable. Four nights, each spent in a different bothy around Attadale on the other hand, was a well placed Plan B. Walking through rain, hail and snow doesn’t dampen your spirits so much when there’s a warm fire and a roof over your head at the end of each day. After the trip up north, a jaunt to the Peak District felt like a walk in the back garden, a light pack and a short drive after work led to a sunset walk past the ruined land mass of Alport Castles before a chilly camp high above the Upper Derwent Valley. A night under a tarp saw the last snow of winter fall before as a hail storm rattled over at dawn coating the moors in ice.This was the year where I fell in love with my bivi bag all over again, it all started with waking up with the summer sun on my face after sleeping on the shores of of Loweswater. I spent the day packrafting in the sunshine across Loweswater, Crummock Water and finally Buttermere. There was enough light in the day to head up and over Haystacks to pitch at the head of Ennerdale to watch the sun sink down the valley. The bivi bag came out again for a few school night ventures, simple nights on local hills whenever the weather looked half decent. A surreal night was spent out on the river, laying down in the packraft looking up to the night sky to watch the perseid meteor shower before sleeping out on the riverbank and heading straight into work. Mid summer brought another night sleeping in a bag, Saturday evening’s weather forecast looked delightful whilst most of Sunday looked to be grim as it gets. A fine opportunity to go running with a light pack for a few hours heading over Shining Tor before a bivi out in the valley below. I got back to the car the next morning as the first raindrops fell. I went back to the Snowdonia in late summer for an overnight trip around the steep sided valleys around the empty Arans before camping out by the lake at Aran Fawddwy. As ever the best trips of the year were those with the wee mountain goats in tow, all through summer we made good use of our local hills and the peaks with a few visits up to North Yorkshire for days out in all weathers. Rufus the mountain goat came out for his first proper backpack on a balmy September weekend to explore the North Eastern fells, a sunset supper and a wild camp. Several summits and a few hundred metres of climbing meant that a good nights sleep was not a problem. No doubt, backpackers from all over the world will be selling their ultra light cuben fiber gear to save up for a batman rucksack in 2016.In the middle of August I rode out to the east coast for a bike bivi trip, a simple plan to sleep on the beach and watch the sun rise over the sea. An area just a few miles north of Skegness is nothing but sand and sea and felt a lot more remote and tranquil than its neighbouring towns. With plenty of summer left in September the wild uplands of Lancashire were calling, there wasn’t a soul to be seen in the Forest Bowland for two long days. When a thick mist rolled in after sunset there wasn’t a tent to be seen either, after taking a short walk to take photos I spent a worrying five minutes trying to remember exactly where I’d pitched. In October I spent a few days walking over tough ground through the Rhinogydd in Snowdonia, the mild weather that was to set the tone for the rest of the year meant that the morning camp felt like summer, coffee and pancakes out on the rocks went down well in the morning sun. There was even time for a run up Rhinog Fach to meet a lone mountain goat. If there was ever a time to yodel this was it.The year ended as it began, walking through snow and waking up to frozen boots, a brief flurry had dusted the fells followed by sunshine and prompted a winter horseshoe route around High Spy, Dale Head and Hindscarth with a camp just above the snowline. Thanks so much if you’ve taken any time at all to take a look at any posts here over the last year, I can’t see home ownership bringing an end to spending any spare moments in the back of beyond and already have a few trips planned for the coming months.
Thanks for reading and have a peaceful new year x