Yes folks, with Christmas barely starting here at knipetowers, the tree only just up, the lights now twinkling on the battlements and the advent calendar still in the shop, I’ve turned my attention to Things To Do next year. Whether or not I manage to do any, most, some or none of them lies in the lap of the gods and whether or not the stent doesn’t suddenly unwind and force itself out through my left nipple (although this would provide a handy hook for clipping the dog to whenever I need to use both hands)
Anyway, this is what I thought:
I’m not doing the TGO challenge next year, although I have just sent off a huuuge cheque to Alan Hardy for the meal at the TGO Challenge Spring gathering at the Snake Inn in March. A visit to the far South like this will assist me in my long-term desire to climb Shutlingsloe. And I’ve identified a lovely little TuMP near Penistone for bagging on the way.
And instead of the Chally, I’m intending to introduce Lucky The Dog to long-distance walkies on the English Coast to Coast. We’ll be backpacking. Lucky might be lucky to get some Reuben-type kit for his birthday… whenever that is…
As training for this, I thought I might visit the Isle of Man and walk up it from the feet to the scalp whilst bagging any stray Marilyns, HuMps, Deweys, Sub-Deweys, and whatever else there might be on the way.
In terms of general baggering – I’m within 9 ticks of finishing the Birketts, 13 Nutalls to go, 1 Fellranger (whatever that is) and 54 Marilyns to enter the Marilyn Hall of Fame (600 ticks). So its North Wales, Brecon Beacons, Shropshire, Galloway and the hills in the Southern Highlands between Loch Lomond and Loch Tay, plus the Isle of Man… Some of these will be static camps, some collected whilst backpacking and some whilst on a “family” holiday. The main difficulty here is a gert big rock sticking out of the side of Pillar, which would only be attempted with some significant help and a tight rope. That’s a tight rope, not a tightrope. There’s a difference.
There’s other forces also enticing me back to some of the classic Lakes ridge walks or “horseshoes”. I’m thinking Fairfield, Kentmere, Langdale….. that kind of thing.
And then there’s the Durham County Council rangering – one or two guided walks per month except in May and October – although the North Pennines Walking Festival will be in October, so I’ll likely do one of those, plus a bit of footpath vegetation-bashing. And a new walk to be added to the repertoire will be based on Kitty’s Wood and Crook’s new public footpaths and whatever has emerged from the landscaping of the open cast coalmine just up the road.
I’m also keeping the fundraising thing for Mind and have just renewed the virgin money-giving page. I’m not specially looking for donations but will continue with my strategy of “something for something” – I just need to generate some interesting ideas – I have a kind of equivalent of writer’s block about it at the moment…. But I will be doing the Autumn equinoxial North-East Skinny Dip again at Druridge Bay which is a great laugh and also supports Mind – probably with an overnight bivi the night before, which worked well this year, apart from the fact that the soft sand gets everywhere and there’s still quite a lot inside my sleeping bag liner.
And then there’s general backpacking – I have one ad-hoc trip half planned just now – heading West from Knighton. Probably 3 or 4 days. There’s some rather attractive-looking ridges available apparently – according to the OS maps of Shropshire Lucky just got for Christmas [koff]
And thats it. Will I fit it all in? Will I be carried off from Druridge bay by a randy octopus (we live in hope) (actually, we live in Crook..)
So, that’s it. It’s always better to look forward than to look back. So, with the last few dregs of the first 10 litre box of Black Paw IPA winking at me knowingly from the bottom of a proper pint glass – here’s to the future. I’ll look back later on.