My outdoor highlights from 2011

Before I start thinking too much about 2012 (yes I know I am running a week behind!), it is probably right to look back on 2011. Throughout 2011 I attempted a personal challenge to walk 1000 miles – the challenge was an excuse to get outdoors more and, with trips to Snowdonia, Dartmoor, Peak District, Brecon Beacons, Cotswolds and South Downs, as well as plenty of hikes in my local area, it certainly succeeded. I completed just under 900 miles (more details on that on my other blog: and here are some of the best bits:

Favourite Event: Just Walk 2011

It hurt like hell at the end, but I did really enjoy the 40km hike across South Downs in aid of MS Research – it was a great route with two nights camping in great company (@ukjeeper, @TheRamblingDuck, and the two MS Trust girls who plied me with Jelly Babies). It was also great to raise £1152 for MS Research (thank you again for everyone who donated).

You can view the route, as well as the photos and tweets, at

Favourite National Park Trip: Dartmoor

I am not sure if it was the lovely weather, the company or the awesome rugged landscape, but I really enjoyed a weekend in Dartmoor, and I am looking forward to visiting again soon!

Links to the write ups:

Favourite Experience: Wild Swimming

On a trip to Brecon Beacons in August I discovered wild swimming (or just outdoor swimming if you prefer). It was in a rather slimy pool, but I followed it up the following day in a beautiful waterfall plunge pool (see below) and, to be honest, I am still raving about it. Unfortunately there were no other opportunities for the rest of the year, but this is definitely something I will be doing in 2012!

Related post:

Favourite Walk: Waterfalls of Afon Mellte and Afon Nedd Fechan

I am totally in debt for Surfnslide for his original write up of this awesome waterfall themed walk (and the scene for my second wild swim). It is quite possibly one of the best walks I have ever done!

You can view the related blog post at:

Favourite Camp: Peak District with Gareth and Wales with Lauren

Ok I am cheating here slightly by picking two camps, but honestly my life would not be worth living if I choose a favourite. First up was my first wild camp with Gareth (from Webtogs) in the Peak District in a wonderful spot found by James. This was followed a few weeks later with a glorious little spot on a hill above Lauren’s house. Both fantastic experiences.

Favourite Kit: Chocolate Fish Merino Baselayer

I love my Chocolate Fish baselayer I bought earlier in the year – in fact I am pretty much always wearing it (except of course when it is in the wash…) It has a great fit, remains the same size as it was new (my Icebreakers seemed to shrink down a size over a few months) and still feels fantastic against my skin. They are not cheap – but they are worth it!

Other Highlights

  • Spending some quality time with friends both old and new out on the hills, especially @divescidiva
  • The Monsal Head outdoor bloggers meet organised by Terry
  • Social Hiking – literally blood, sweat and tears have gone into it in 2011!
  • Pretty sure I have forgotten something….

and 2012?

2012 is going to be all about taking time to enjoy the outdoors – I have a vague idea about some time out on Dartmoor, as well as more wild swimming and camping.

2012 is also the year of Walk 2012 – a great project that lets you be part of the Olympic experience whilst walking in some lovely English countryside. More on that soon!

Have a good 2012 everyone!

2 Replies to “My outdoor highlights from 2011”

  1. Thanks for you comment Gordon. I was quite nice to keep track of how far I was walking throughout the year – in fact I am currently doing a group test of tracker apps to work out which is the best for the job (I use ViewRanger which also gives you OS maps as well as linking to Social Hiking). Having a target did help encourage me out more.

    Just had a quick read of your McMurdo Parka review – a big winter jacket is one of the bits of kit I am definitely missing!

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