At this time of year, I’ve noticed that on most hill walking blogs and websites a ‘what are your plans for 2016?’ post or thread pops up. I’ve usually been a bit nervous about replying to these because in my experience setting big targets for yourself can be a bit of a self defeating exercise – not least because like any target you never seem to quite achieve it. A bit like new years resolutions which 90% of the time seem to get binned about a week in to January (for instance when turning up at the gym and being totally unable to park due to everyone else having had the same idea). Plus there is always the risk that getting a target out there in public leads to embarrassment (and possible taking of the p***) when you get to the end of the year and realised you got nowhere near it.
Last year our prime focus was bringing up the 100th Munro and everything else was a bonus. It was also nice to do the 50th Wainwright which hadn’t necessarily been in the game plan. This year there are no major numerical targets; there is zero chance of getting to any sort of significant number in Munro terms, and given the increasing cost of getting to Scotland (particularly given that cheap deals on the train seem to be increasingly rare) I can see us spending more time in the Lake District, which has two distinct advantages – firstly that the Lakes ‘tick list’ includes loads of small hills which are good for a marginal weather day, and secondly that it is doable last-minute from London if there is a weather window without completely breaking the bank, which Scotland just isn’t. There are definitely some things in Scotland I would like to do, but we will have to see how it goes.
From an overall point of view I would like to:
· Get back some sort of hill fitness which is currently woefully lacking. The lack of any sort of decent hills within a daytime drive of London isn’t helpful but a couple of visits to the Lakes before we go anywhere near the Munros again won’t hurt. Nor will getting off my backside and going back to the gym/ swimming pool and I’m hoping that doing a ‘slightly damp January’ (i.e. mostly dry) won’t hurt in terms of getting some weight loss going. Lugging around an extra stone or so more than I used to isn’t helping me feel fit for the hills.
· Not worry about what the ‘hillier than thou’ brigade or similar may or may not say or think and just enjoy getting out there. I’m never going to end up doing loads of hills each year when I live in South-East London.
· Sort out my gear and dump a load of stuff that is no longer fit for purpose or doesn’t fit. I have loads of this some of which dates back to when we first started hill walking. For instance a pair of walking boots which have never really fitted properly and give me blisters any time I wear them (not that I have for about 3 years). Do I really need 8 pairs of walking trousers? No, especially given 4 of these either don’t fit or have holes in.
Some specific things I would like to do:
· Getting to 75 Wainwrights would be nice, but I think unlikely given it would require me to do more than I ever have.
· Do a Munro in the Crianlarich/ Tyndrum area – it’s getting daft we haven’t given how close they are to Glasgow. Would be nice to do Cruach Ardrain (our one remaining ‘bogey hill’)
· Do a Munro in the Mamores – again getting daft due to the amount of time we have spent in the Glencoe area over the years.
· Do a Munro either in Glen Affric or the Loch Lochy/ Glenfinnan area.
· Do either Scafell Pike or Blencathra.
· Do the Kentmere horseshoe, and re-do the Fairfield Horseshoe (with Stuart this time).
· Get a camping trip of some sort in and actually use the tent we bought in 2013 and still haven’t used. Either that or do a bothy trip.
Let’s see what the year brings. None of them will be a disaster if they don’t happen, but would be good if some of them do. So I’ll raise a glass of Malbec to that… when January’s over anyway!!