Thursday, 23 December 2010

Walk Review 2010

As 2010 rapidly draws to a close and with few opportunities left for doing any further walks this year I've decided it was time for a review of my Pennine adventures over the course of the last 12 months.

Standing on Ward's Stone - the highest point in the Bowland fells
Indeed with the exception of a couple of walks in Snowdonia almost all my walking in 2010 has been in the Pennines and Cheviots. This has primarily been due to the website which I first started work on in December 2009 and which went live at the beginning of July 2010. Having put so much work into creating the site I didn't really then want to spend all my time walking elsewhere, in the Lake District for example.

A wintry South Pennine landscape from Little Wolf Stones
Having divided, for the purposes of the site, the Pennines into 9 areas I felt duty bound to explore some of these areas more than I previously had done, this was especially true of the West Pennines which I hadn't visited at all prior to 2010. Indeed my first walk of the year was on Bull Hill in the West Pennines. The walk proved to be memorable not only because it was my first visit to the West Pennines but it was also both my first proper walk following a knee operation the previous December but also the first time I had experienced an inversion.

Looking towards the Peel Tower from Harcles Hill
Initially I planned to try and visit each area about 4-5 times each over the course of the year. On the whole I just about managed this with the main exception being the North Pennines. I don't quite know how it happened but I only managed 2 walks in the North Pennines - I must try harder to get there next year! At least though I finally got to the top of Cross Fell - the highest point in the Pennines.

On the summit of Cross Fell during one of only two walks I did in the North Pennines in 2010
Anyway the following, in no particular order, are my best and worst moments on the hills in 2010. The following are highly subjective and as with all walking experiences were very much dependent on conditions overhead and underfoot.

Top 5 walks
1. Windy Gyle and the Border Ridge
2. The horseshoe walk around Edale including my first visit to Kinder Scout
3. Langdale Horseshoe
4. Pots and Pans
5. Beacon Hill and Great Ashby Scar

One of my favourite walks of the year was the Edale horseshoe walk during which I visited the rocks of Ringing Roger
Top 5 viewpoints
1. Windy Gyle
2. Ward's Stone (West Top)
3. Simon's Seat (Howgills)
4. Beacon Hill (Westmorland)
5. Higher Shelf Stones

One of my favourite views of the year - the view north from Windy Gyle towards The Cheviot
Top 5 moments
1. Getting to the top of Bull Hill just 7 weeks after an operation to repair cartilege in my left knee.
2. Using the snow on the upper reaches of Cross Fell to cool me down on a very hot day in May.
3. Sitting on Russell's Cairn on the top of Windy Gyle soaking in the view on a lovely summer's day.
4. Watching my two year old daughter discover the joys of throwing snow while up at Brimham Rocks.
5. Fox watching on Harbottle Crag

The fox I watched for a while above Harbottle Crag
5 worst moments
1. Receiving a phone call, while stood in the driving rain on Middleton Fell, from my solicitor advising me that our first time house purchase was likely to fall through at the last moment (thankfully it didn't in the end!).
2. Having to turn back from our intended route in the muddy fields north of Longridge Fell due to the horrendous smell of nearby muck spreading.
3. Taking the 'wild' route up Wildboar Clough.
4. Having to fight my way through the trees and undergrowth to get on to Harbottle Crag.
5. Trying to scramble up wet, slippery rocks and grass to escape a ravine in Cautley Gill.

Having to risk life and limb to escape this ravine was definitely one of the worst moments of 2010. It did get the adrenaline flowing though!
Overall it has been a cracking year for walking and, compared to previous years, I've even been fairly lucky with the weather. Roll on 2011!!!

Happy Christmas.