It’s been a while since I posted on this blog, not least because it has now been a very long time since I have been anywhere near a hill (our 100th Munro on Beinn Bhreac in October, to be precise). This isn’t an unusual situation for us – whilst we have done some winter walking in the past, we tend to do very little as the equation of cost of getting somewhere with proper mountains, versus the likelihood of getting decent enough weather to actually go out and do something when we get there (given we aren’t fans of walking in bad weather), doesn’t really pan out. In the past, First Scotrail used to offer cheap deals in the winter months for frequent sleeper train users which made it worth taking a punt, but since the takeover by Serco these have vanished, with no indication they will ever reappear.
So we have an ‘off season’ and are currently slap bang in the middle of it with no plans to get out into the hills until the middle of March, when we are making the first of several planned trips to the Lake District. My preparation for getting back into the hills was meant to involve some flat walks down South plus hitting the gym however a combination of factors has rather got in the way of that so far, though I have been managing to get to the swimming pool. The problem is that the only way to stay fit enough to do big hills is to do big hills…rather difficult when you live in one of the flattest parts of the country. My fitness therefore isn’t great and the fact my back seems to be grumpier than it has been in a while doesn’t help, but I’m sure that we’ll get there. (After all, having taken up hill walking following a serious back injury, I initially had no expectation of getting up one Munro let alone 100 of the things – and I’m very grateful to be able to do what I can).
So what have I been doing in the off season? For a start – planning! Booking up stuff for this year. Two trips to Ambleside, one to Keswick for the Mountain Festival, and thanks to Easyjet’s sale, 4 weekend or long weekend trips to Scotland booked in plus a longer holiday later in the year. Poring over maps for routes that will link together a load of Wainwrights in one go, as getting back some fitness on those before going anywhere near the higher Scottish peaks has got to be a good idea. Thinking about some Munros which would ease us back in, preferably something with a half way decent path and a relatively low bog factor… there are still some of those we haven’t done.
And also other stuff that has nothing to do with hills but plenty to do with life – which there is a lot more to than walking. DIY in the house. Going to museums. Trying to cook different food. Trying new restaurants. Spending time with family and friends. Oh and actually sorting through my gear and dumping the stuff which is full of holes or doesn’t fit any more – that’s one off the 2016 wish list already! Though all it will probably take before I end up with more is a wet day in Ambleside, with Gaynor Sports beckoning…