Happy New Year - what's ahead in 2014?
So, it's been a fairly full on year with up', down's and a bit of left and right thrown in for good measure.
In the closing days of 2012 I wrote a blog post that was a wash up of 2012 and some plans for 2013 so I thought it'd be interesting to see what actually happened this year and how it compared to the plans that I had in mind at the start of the year.
It "may" be a good idea to have a quick scan through that post: here
You'll be pleased to hear that I'm not going to put back links to all of my posts to walks and hikes in 2013 - you'll have to search for them, sorry!
So, 2013 in summary - where to start and how did it compare with my plans?
Well my main goals and aspirations for 2013 were;
- Mt Toubkal, N Africa
- Mt Triglav, Slovenia
- Scrambling on Skye
- Blog - more reviews and user feedback....
So, how did I get on with these goals? Great in some cases and not so well in others, but I have some great reasons for not achieving them all honest!
Mt Toubkal - was amazing. It was so much more that I expected it to be, in all honesty I didn't really know what to expect and it was a great experience in both culture and dealing with the unexpected - as well as learning how to tie a moroccan head scarf!
Mt Triglav - unfortunately, as the lack of accompanying image will highlight, I didn't make this trip but JD and Capt had a great (if not uneventful) time.
Lack of holiday entitlement stopped me from going with them but it was at the sacrifice of our wedding on the Isle of Skye and a week in the Cairngorms so I can't really complain as we had an amazing time and got married in the most idyllic location imaginable.
Scrambling on Skye - ok so I may have cheated a little with this one in my last blog of 2012 as we'd already begun planning the wedding on Skye but couldn't "let the cat out of the bag" as it were.
Needless to say we had an amazing time & got married in the perfect setting, on the side of Loch Coruisk, and then had some great walks in the mountains across the island.
The scrambling on the Cuillin ridge was a lesson in humility for me and also a push that made me even more determined to conquer my fears and push my limits.
Photography - aside from pictures of the walks and hikes that I've been on in 2013 and a fair few of our new four legged addition to the family I really haven't done very well at all with this one. I just haven't been able to find the time to make specific trips and haven't wanted to carry kg's of expensive SLR and lenses along with me on the mountain walks. So will I be trying to do more photography in 2014 - yes, but for another reason and one that has also contributed to less winter walking that I'd normally hope to do; a new addition to the family that's due in April which I'm sure will change everything and be another huge challenge in ways that I can't even begin to comprehend at the moment.
The Blog - well I've posted as much as I can and have made a good crack at updating the review pages on GPS and kit items but one area that I've really struggled on, despite a surge in visits to the blog, is user feedback. It is always interesting to hear from people that read the blog and have suggestions on areas that I could improve or cut back on so please, feel free to comment!
So what else happened in 2013 that is worth mentioning?
Well we got a dog, Monty the Springer Spaniel, and he's awesome! He has far too much energy and showed off his truly boundless energy reserves on a trip to Cadair Idris by swimming in Llyn Cau in between running there and back without pause.
Stand Up Paddleboarding - this one's a bit random I grant you but it is a great way to get out in the warm summer evenings and experience a different side of the rivers and watersides that we usually only see from the land and its a fantastic way to build core strength and to improve balance.
Cycling - it's taken somewhat of a back seat recently with the house move and loss of cycling partner (due to Donna's pregnancy nothing else!) but when I was managing to get out it culminated with the inaugural London-Surrey 100 which was a great challenge and for a great cause, Naomi House Children's hospice.
Scouts and 3 Peaks in 2014 - not really related you may say but actually, to me, they are. I've struggled to get to as many Scout meetings as I'd have liked to this year with work and home commitments but I have made it camps, hikes and away weekends as well as passing my GNAS Archery Leader's course.
And how does that relate to 3 Peaks you ask? Well it's the leadership element that excites me and drives me and, while I said I'd never do it again, the challenge of leading a team of people up into the mountains and completing what will be a massive challenge for them gives me a huge sense of achievement, and that's another reason why I'll be continuing with my ML qualification and hopefully completing that by 2015.
and lastly, Paleo. After a dalliance with this way of eating (no, it's really not a diet) in the early stages of 2013 we had a bit of a break during the start of Donna's pregnancy but are back "on it" now and hoping to keep this up through 2014 coupled with more time on the bike and in the pool - fingers crossed!
and so to lessons learnt?
There are so many as you'd expect but the main thing that sticks with me is;
"Just get on with it"
Life is going to throw up some twists and turns and it's never going to be plain sailing but that's half the fun isn't it? It'd be no fun if it wasn't now would it. There will be times when you think (as I do) why? how? or I can't. But afterwards you realise that there's always a reason, always a way and you can - so just get on with it and enjoy it! You only get one chance after all.
Happy 2014 and here's to another great year