Saturday, 10 January 2015

2015: What's Next?




As previously noted, 2014 turned out to be rather a quiet year for the hills, and while there's no guarantee that this year will be dramatically better in that respect - I will at least try my best to get on it.

Those of you that follow my other blog will know about my Birthday List - a list of things I hope to accomplish before my next birthday in November. You will also then know that a few things on this list are centred around hiking and hill-based adventures...

Go Rock Climbing
I realise that I had this on my list from last year - and honestly, I'm kind of miffed at myself for not getting it done in 2014 (especially as I moved to Sheffield - which is considered a decent city for access to indoor and outdoor climbing opportunities - in 2014). So I will be making a point of getting this sorted.


Go Camping Somewhere Other Than The Lake District
I feel a bit disloyal putting that, but it would be nice to do. Plus I'll probably still end up camping in the Lakes at some point as well anyway.


Go Up 10 New Hills
I'm a bit stuck in my ways, I find a hill I like and climb it fairly often... OK that's not entirely true (if you ignore Side Pike and the Mam Tor circuit, anyway) but this has been a painfully quiet year on the hill front (harhar) and I'd like a livelier one next year.


Visit a Different Country in Great Britain
I have lived all my life in England and I have spent a whopping 3 days of my life in Wales. I need to have a nosy at the other places around these isles... And let's face it, I'm pretty unlikely to go somewhere in Wales, Scotland, or Ireland and not bother having a nosy at what's on offer hill-wise.



There's also a few others that are vaguely linked - stuff like getting fit and healthy (we all know how good walking is for this). But I figured I'd add a few Hill Resolutions on top of those from the Birthday List. Because I can...


1. Read a Book on the Wainwrights
This is cheating a little as font-of-all-hiking-knowledge Patrick got me a book about the Wainwrights for Christmas (which made my present look a bit crap) - but I have been meaning to get my learn on about this for a while.


2. Learn the Basics of Navigation.
As has been mentioned a bunch of times, I am banned from navigating on hikes because I am so terrible at it. I'm hoping that this is the year that that all gets turned around. I'm so serious about this one that I'm thinking of having it as number 26 on my Birthday List.


3. Climb Something Higher Than Illgill Head
Continuing with a theme from last year - always keep trying to outdo yourself. 


And what about this blog? One of the items on the Birthday List is to "Blog Better". In the case of Bitches Love Hills, this will mean the implementation of something approaching consistency. Ideally, I'd love to post a few times a week - hell even once a week - but I have to accept that if last year was hectic, this year is going to be ridiculous. Because of this I'm committing myself to this schedule...


4. Update Bitches Love Hills Twice-Monthly
That's right, BLH will be updated on the first and third Sunday of every month (starting from next month) - with additional posts in between on occasion. The reason for this is that I acknowledge that some months will be busier than others, that some will be filled with hilly adventures and inspiration, while others will involve me glued to my desk and only vaguely being able to remember what a hill looks like.
But I wanted to offer some consistency with the way I post (which I admit has been somewhat lacking of late) and this is a schedule that I can commit to in good conscience for now - though I'm hoping that there will soon be the opportunity for more.

(Also, I'll get the Lakes 2014 round ups finished and posted soon!)


So 2015 is looking to be a very busy year - but hopefully one that will involve an awful lot of adventure as well.


What are your hill-based goals for 2015?

Saturday, 3 January 2015

2014: A Retrospect

A little late to the party - but nonetheless...

I must confess, this year has been a quiet one hill-wise. You may have gathered this from the lack of updates (though this was also due to the PhD thing). Confession time: I haven't been up a hill since mine and the Yeti's less-than-victorious return from the Lakes.

But until I got all useless, I did get some good hills in.

Okay, some are repeats of old favourites but there were some new sights to be seen. So - like I did last year - I figured I'd do a quick run down of the 5 best walks I've had this year...


5. Lingmoor Fell (July)



The weather was a bit dim and dreary and a poorly Yeti meant that we couldn't venture as far as we would have liked, but this was still rather a nice walk - and it meant that Sam got to tick off his first Wainwright.



4. Mam Tor Circuit (June)



This walk has a special place in my heart and countdown for more soppy reasons. It was my first hill walk with my mum - and she did pretty damn well considering that she'd nearly died from a perforated ulcer at the start of the year. Plus I took a particularly ace photo of a sheep (modest).


3. Side Pike (July)



Another old favourite. But there's just something about this teeny hill that's so lovable. Maybe it's the wonderful view for relatively little work. Maybe it's the scrambly bits (so much fun). I've no idea. But this is still probably my favourite thing to go up in the Lakes. It's looking as though we might not be staying in Langdale this year (we'll see), so this might not appear in the next retrospective... but somehow I reckon that I'll end up begging and bribing my way to going up it next time I'm in Cumbria anyway.


2. Illgill Head (July)



This was the most heartbreaking hike of last year for one key reason: the clouds. I was expecting a glorious view of Wast Water when we got to the top (after all, it was pretty clear when we set off - with no low cloud forecast) but all we got was, well, this. But hey, that's just the way the scree tumbles sometimes, and it was still an awful lot of fun. Plus it meant that after two years, I finally got to replace Middle Fell as my highest hill climbed. I reckon I'll be looking into walking up and down this one again this year. Preferably on a clearer day.



1. Mickleden (July)


Ok. This is totally cheating. As noted in the write up of the day - a walk through Mickleden was chosen over a hill due to my very fragile state at the start of our Lakes trip. So it's not a hill at all. But this really was my favourite walk of 2014. That place is the very definition of beautiful. And playing around in the streams was far too much fun as well.


I hope you've all had a damn decent 2014, both on the hills and at sea level