My blog has just turned one year old! On 5th February 2017, I published my first post. It was about our first proper walk of 2017 – a stroll up Shutlingsloe with the help of some jelly babies. We didn’t make it. Arriving at a wall with a step stile covered in ice, we decided to cut our losses and head back to the car. Shutlingsloe would be there for another day. That day arrived a couple of weeks ago.
During the October half term holidays, we had a plan to get up early and head to the Pen-y-Pass car park on Snowdon. We were going to take in the lakes along the Miner’s Track, have a picnic and head back, dependant on how far Rowan’s legs fancied walking. We knew we would have to get up early as the car park fills up quickly, but knowing, 1. How popular a walk Snowdon is and 2. How rubbish we are at getting up super early, we had a plan B. Now there is the option of the Snowdon Sherpa, a bus that can take you from other car parks and villages round the foot of Snowdon to the Pen-y-Pass, but the thought of taking our ruffing furry pair on a bus wasn’t appealing. When we arrived at the car park, nowhere near early enough, plan B – the Watkin Path, was put into action.
A holiday in October means there is no guarantee of the weather (not that there is any time in the UK really). The night we arrived in Wales, I stayed up late till high tide as we had arrived just in time for Storm Brian and the caravan site was on flood alert. I wanted to go to bed knowing that we weren’t going to float off in the night – we didn’t. The next day was still really blowy with showers so, not wanting to stay in the caravan all day, we drove to West Shore Beach at Llandudno.
October saw our first holiday during a half term so we took the opportunity to spend the week in North Wales. For one of our days out, we visited Cwm Idwal – a beautiful National Nature Reserve and geography teacher’s dream.
It’s no secret that I love maps. Recently, I have been finding places to visit by simply browsing OS Maps online. One place I discovered this way was Turton and Entwistle Reservoir, so when I begrudgingly had to postpone a planned solo walk in the Lake District due to a forecast of high winds, I knew exactly where we would go as a family instead.
This September, Rowan started school. Despite being really exciting times for all of us, in all honesty, I also felt quite aggrieved. No longer could I just take a day of work and go off exploring with him. And our Friday adventure days are no more. Rowan really loves school though, and has settled into his routine far quicker than I have. Weekends suddenly seemed really full, with no time to do anything. By the end of September, I had reached the stage where, no matter what, we WERE going to get outside and enjoy being in nature. Beacon Fell, on the edge of the Forest of Bowland, near Preston was to be our destination. Not only is there a sculpture trail to follow, but it is also a dark skies location and I wanted to have a look around before we make our way up for a night time excursion at some point in the future.
At the end of August, I was really excited to be out in the Lakes with my lovely friend Kathryn again. Back before our children arrived, we had volunteered with Fix the Fells together, regularly making the journey up the M6 to spend the day with brilliant, passionate people repairing or maintaining the upland paths. (You can find out more about the great work they do here.) This time, our destination was Kentmere, to try and tackle the “more challenging than we had walked in ages” Kentmere Round.