In 2018, our honeymoon took us to the Isle of Arran, off the west coast of Scotland. We fell in love with the place. So much so, we were back again the following year, this time bringing along my Mum, Dad and sister, Karen. Whilst driving around during our prior visit, I kept noticing a path running alongside a river in the mountainous north of the island. It was so inviting, and it was now time to see where it led.
Amongst the books we found in our hire cottage on Arran, was one called “Arran for Families”. It was a brilliant little book – fully illustrated with easy to read information about places to visit on the island. On a showery day, we decided to visit two of the destinations we found within its pages – the Giant’s Graves and Glenashdale Falls.
At the start of this year, my friend Flick was over from Ibiza. We decided to catch up whilst walking in the Lakes, because going from a pleasantly warm 12 – 15 degrees to single digits in Manchester wasn’t enough of a temperature change – close to freezing on the fells was what was required.
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.
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.
With lovely weather forecast for the weekend, we decided we would visit the Lake District once more, to bag another Wainwright with Rowan. After a bit of research using the trusty Wainwright pictorial guides and the brilliant Hillbagging website, we decided to tackle Gowbarrow Fell. The walk we had planned was slightly shorter than our previous Wainwright walk, but included more of a climb so I was expecting it to be a bit of challenge for Rowan’s little legs.