Tuesday, 31 December 2013

2013: A Retrospect


This seems a bit of a cliche - or maybe this is just a sign that I'm getting so very old - but this year seems to have flown. 

It's been a pretty decent year, with meeting the Yeti, getting my place on my course (which, by the way, starts in just 3 weeks - eek!), and graduating. Not even mentioning that it's been a pretty spectacular year for hiking. Well, at least from my still rather novice point of view.

So here are my Top Five Hikes from the last 12 months (with links where appropriate)

5. Stickle Tarn, Lake District (July)

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This would have been higher on the list only the horrendous heat made it a less-than-enjoyable hike. Plus we didn't get to go any further than the tarn itself. It's definitely a hike I want to try again,- and this time go further. Maybe it will come a lot higher in next year's chart as a result.


4. Crimpiau, Snowdonia (August)

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My first hike over the border. The experience would have been improved by a better descent experience (gah), but the views were outstanding and well worth getting drenched in the traditional Welsh weather for.


3. Kinder Scout, Peak District (November)

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It was wonderful to return to the place where this little obsession with hills began, and on the day before my birthday no less. It would have been nice to have a bit less fog, but then again it wouldn't have been nearly as dramatic.

2. Side Pike, Lake District (July)

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In a lot of ways, this was actually my favourite hike: it was the place where I finally found my confidence with scrambling, where the Yeti and I got to bask in the morning light at the height of summer with not a soul to be seen for miles, and where we got views like this.
It was heaven on Earth, and only missed out on the top spot by a hair's breadth.

1. Mam Tor Circuit (May)

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But what could top the day I fell back in love with the hills? Sam and I walked the Mam Tor Circuit one sunny day in May to celebrate our 1-month anniversary, and I've been helplessly obsessed since.
It didn't hurt that I 'discovered' Back Tor on this trip either...

«(Such fun)


I hope you've all had a damn decent 2013, both on the hills and at sea level.
<3

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Another Sheep-Scaring Photo

Necessary and awesome. 


«You've come to the wrong neighbourho--

«--Oh Shit!

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Cotswold Outdoors vs Christmas Money

I hope you all had an amazing Christmas: that you ate too much, drank too much, and had far too much fun. I'll ramble on about mine in the next Back at Sea Level, but for now we need to talk about the third most important thing about the festive period (after food and presents family).
I'm talking, of course, about the Boxing Day Sales.

And when I heard that places like Cotswold Outdoors get in on these... well, I got a bit excited.

Unfortunately I'm still unable to drive at the moment and as the whole no-public-transport thing means I'd struggle to even get to my local town (5 miles away) never mind my local Cotswold branch (48 miles), I've instead taken to drooling over the stock online, with a view to do it in person in the next few days.

Here's some of the things I've been staring at a bit too long today...

Embiggen
From Left to Right:

  1. Helly Hansen Warm Pants Base Layer (£29)
  2. North Face Arctic Parka Jacket (£220)
  3. Outdoor Research Furry Gloves (£16)
  4. Rab Baltoro Alpine Jacket (£90)
  5. Haglofs Mid Q Trail Pant (£65)
  6. Osprey Talon 22 Rucksack (£59)  (I've been drooling over this one for a while...)

And bonus: They have my beloved Scarpa ZG65 boots on sale for just £70(!!)

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So I'm looking at an empty wallet once I've visited the shop with my Christmas envelopes. How about you?

I'm Back, Baby.

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Did you miss me? Foolish question. Of course you did.

You didn't miss a great deal; mainly me being hopelessly exhausted thanks to work, lots of commuting, and uni prep. Turns out full time work is somewhat tiring (I'm hoping it was just the long commute, otherwise I may yet fail at the whole being a grown up thing...)
But it wasn't all work: I aged up to the quarter century mark (ugh), which the Yeti and I marked with... Yes! A hike!

And would you believe it: we did the same route as I did eons ago at the start of 2012.
Back to where it all began.
I'm currently working on getting the Yeti to take me to the Long Mynd when I go to visit him in Shropshire later in the week; but even if we can't, I feel like Kinder's a nice, almost symbolic outing on which to finish the hiking year. Anyway, more on that at a later point.

Now there's still a lot going on in my life right now - although I'm no longer a full-time wage slave, I now have to get myself ready for starting my PhD next month (eek!). I'm also trying to cram in spending time with family, friends, and the Yeti before I cross the Pennines on a more permanent basis, and I'm working on getting into better shape in time for joining my first hiking soc. So I guess the posts won't be anywhere near as frequent as they were when I started this blog in August, but I will make the effort to post fairly regularly (I'm aiming for twice-weekly, and we'll see where we go from there). Oh, and I'll try as well to avoid a blog blackout any time soon.

Thank you all for your patience. I'll see you again very soon.