2013 My Walking Year in review

First came the promises…

And next came the deliverance! After last year’s resolve of “Keep it local” I went a bit further afield this year by not one, but three trips to the Lake District and each time returned with a 3,000′ summit ticked off my list.

Once again my walking year got off to a frustratingly slow start owing to family commitments, lethargy and well more lethargy and it was the beginning of March before my first trip out to mighty Pendle Hill. Having finally reached the lesser summit of Stang Top Moor on last year’s Pendle Witch Day I practically stumbled on to it on this walk and was once more taken aback by the fantastic views towards it’s neighbouring giant. The weather could have been the star attraction on this walk as we basked in sunshine at the start and encountered snow at the summit. The trip back down to Boar Clough via Ogden Clough was slippery but otherwise boring!

Two weeks later came a walking forum meet with the lovely Sheena in my bid to tick off not one but the remaining two compass routes up and over Winter Hill. The snow was thick and this expedited our track across Rivington Moor – a route that at most other times of year I would not attempt for the fear of gaining a wet foot or two! After this walk I can now draw my conclusions that the best route up to Winter Hill is the North Easterly from the A675 and the best down is the North Westerly skirting the flank of the rather bland-from-up-close Noon Hill – but not over it.

Saturday the 13th of April saw me attempt my Coastal Walk in Southport and if I had worn trainers as opposed to my Brasher Hill Masters then I think that I would have completed all of the 18 miles that I had planned to walk. That being said it was lovely to spend so much time walking around in Southport knowing that if the weather took a turn for the worst I could be home within half and hour. Within two weeks I was back walking in Southport again as one sunny Tuesday afternoon I undertook the Coast to Crops – Part One walk. Added together these two walks weighed in at an impressive 26.25 miles in distance…and a not as impressive 50′ (give or take ten feet) in ascension…still it was all good healthy exercise!

By way of contrast the only walk of any distance that I attempted in May was the ill-fated Winter Hill Round . I say ill-fated as this route has previously seen me kiss goodbye to what had been a perfectly good pair of boots and on another occasion have the moorland behind me set alight. However on this time it could have been my throat ablaze as I ran out of water with something like three miles to go…on a notably hot day! I survived but have not been back to the area since.

June saw us (Karl and me) tackle and achieve the dizzying highest peak in England of Scafell Pike . This was a high spot in all senses of the phrase as it rejuvenated my interest in walking in not only the Lake District but in hills altogether. Yes, the terrain atop the mountain is bloody awful and yes I did fall over four times but in all honesty I am chomping at the bit to walk the other few routes up here – especially Julia Bradbury and Alfred Wainwright’s favourite way from Seathwaite Farm.

And so we are in to July and without doubt the best walk of the year – Skiddaw via the tourist path returning via Sale How, the Cumbrian Way and little old Latrigg. Given the temperature (oh my was it hot) and the distance, oh and throw in the three and a quarter thousand feet over 10.8 miles we did marvellously. True I wanted to give up and simply wait for Karl to “bag” Latrigg after we had done the Cumbrian Way stretch (and what a stretch), but I am so glad that he laughed this off. This was one of those days where one hopes that the memory of it will stay with you forever. Excellent weather, walk, company and my goodness did I take a lot of water with me and almost drink every drop! Hopefully the next time that we do Skiddaw will be the “Slate” path via Ullock Pike and Carlside and taking in “Little Man” too!

August saw little walking at all…in fact none. I hope to never experience this again and rightfully apologise to you dear readers.

In September once again came around the attempt to set off on a walk up to Helvellyn. Each year since 2009 I have planned to do this and in every year once I have made my mind up to do this …the rain starts. This year was no different but thanks to Karl we darn well did it anyway. Mist over Helvellyn was without doubt the hardest walk of the year, I would put this down to the weather, lack of preparation and the fact that when the wind gets up on any slope of this mountain – it’s just not a comfortable place to be! I have to return to Helvellyn on at least two more occasions, once to do the dual ridge walk encompassing Swirral Edge and Catstycam and once to do the great north to south traverse of the eastern fells / Helvellyn range.

The one walk in October (after the Spanish holiday break) was a group walk over Pendle Hill with a bunch of us from the walking forum. This was a great walk at varying speeds over various terrains and ticked off another route of ascent for me over my (still) favourite hill. As far as group walks go this was every bit as good as last year’s(2012) classic over Winter Hill and Great Hill but with the added bonus of being of course on Pendle – where I had not been for the best side of six months.

As with all years, November and December are strictly none walking months as I just never seem to have the time and the weather takes a severe nose-dive. At one point in 2012 I wondered about the possibility of having a winter walk up to the coast at Marshside and this still may happen in-between Christmas and New Year. Add to this the long neglected return to Longridge with Karl if he’s up for it and I might yet manage to walk somewhere in December yet! One never knows!

All in all I have not done as much walking as I would have liked this year but I am more than compensated for this by the quality of the walks undertaken: Skiddaw, Helvellyn and Scafell Pike, that gigantic walk over Southport’s glorious Coastal Road and my first ever snow walk over Winter Hill, not bad. Add to this two lovely strolls over Pendle one taking in Stang Top Moor and the other featuring me not getting lost on Spence Moor and I think all said and done the year has been a good one. Fat Goat Walks will be moving to a new web host in the new year (the current one is woefully slow! and it is my intention to do a lot more evening walks as well as the weekend ones so there should be a lot more content…I do appreciate that the posts have been a bit thin on the ground this year. Thank you for your continued patience and for calling in. This post is scheduled to go out on New Year’s Eve (let’s see if it makes it!) so I do hope that you’ve had a wonderful festive season and wish you a very happy new year.

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