Tuesday, 31 December 2013

2013 – The Score on the Door


As I sit here finishing off the last few drops of Christmas Black Paw beer and waiting for the inevitable midnight watching of the telly with a nice malt (I have some Bunnahabhain saved), it’s time to spend my ever-deteriorating brain cells considering the year just about passed. As I become ever more addled, my spelling and grammar may well become even worse than usual….  here goes anyway..

bowes loop 011

Some raw stats:

In 2013 I walked 1463 miles and climbed 217000 feet of up and, as I’m sitting exactly where I began on 1 january 2013, I must have done that amount of downhill too..

I camped out for 39 nights altogether – although one of these nights was in a bothy, so, maybe it doesn’t count and 15 were on campsites, leaving 23 not on campsites. One night was spent in a snow trench with the gentle tickle of little snowflakes landing on my nose in the middle of the night.

325 people came on my Durham County Council guided walks

It was a year of mixed fortunes, though, but the main fings-wot-appened are these:

March – A few days on the hills between Abergavenny and Merthyr Tydfil. It was perishing cold, finished wetly and Dawn wasn’t very well. So it was a bit mixed..

cefn yr ystrad 014

April – A couple of TGO challenge practise walks – A small bunch enjoyed deep and soft snow walking the Herring Road from Lauder to Dunbar, finishing with a fine curry and a night in the very poshest of dosses at Spott, with comfy beds, hot showers, a kettle, a fire and a supply of vino collapso. Good practise for the TGO

herring road

Later – a few days in the Borders from Langholm with Dawn. I thought this went reasonably well and we finished miles away in Ravenstonedale.  The weather was dampish.

tarras 015

May – TGO Challenge. This ended in fairly dramatic fashion for Dawn who left Knoydart in a big red and white helicopter. I carried on in increasingly duff weather – actually, this has become normal weather for the TGO nowadays. Watch out for a heatwave in 2014! For me, the walk went well despite being on a personal downer for the first few days,  a fairly tough bit in the middle and a glorious march at the end. I had some long days and a couple of epic booze-ups. All normal stuff, really, apart from the helicopter…

glen feshie

June – me and the Dawg went to Ettrick. It was hot. Bruno didn’t do well in the heat and I developed sciatica. But the hills were fab. Mixed y’see….

ettrick 012

July and August – Two campsite –based Hewitt-bagging trips. The second one was curtailed a bit early as it was stupidly hot. The word for the week was “horseflies”.

mallwyd 016


September – I crossed Dartmoor. It chucked it down. I bagged the Hewitt, though, in deep fog, and got wet. No, I mean really wet. Gwan , ask me how wet I got. It was a long way to go to get wet.   I seem to have lost the sciatica at some point – it just went away.


And then there was the North East Skinny Dip. Great fun, if a bit bizarre. Madness in the morning at Druridge Bay. This was probably the highlight of the year, in retrospect. People gave me £370 for it.  I was quite chuffed about that;  gruntled, even…

skinny dip

October – the Lleyn peninsula in a caravan This was brill. Its a very nice place. Its a very beautiful place, actually. Bagged lots of Marilyns and HuMps and Bruno ran about daft on the beach quite a lot.

lleyn peninsula

November – Fight Club Hikers washout weekend in Buttermere. It was wet. Again. This time it was even wetter than before.

fight club hikers

December – It rained. the it rained again. And it was windy. ……  and wet….  Did manage a night out above Weardale for the solstice

solstice weardale

So – overall, not a bad year. The summer was good and the rest of the time it heaved it down.

On the minus side -

Its rained since October!

Dawn’s sudden exit from the TGO Chally and her battle against all kinds of odds which kept her off the hills till the winter time (on the plus side, sheer determination seems to be winning some battle against uncaring council staff of the one hand and Atlantic storms on the other.

Dartmoor was a disappointment. I felt a bit let-down by it somehow. I’m not going back.

On the plus side –

My 12th TGO Challenge

Taking two of my grandkids up Penyghent – the Knipe rite of passage

Completing the Hewitts in October

The skinny dip!

And all of the Welsh trips


Worrabout next year?

I have lots of plans to do more backpacking and fewer Durham County walks and I’m trying to raise charity money for Mind. This is going reasonably well so far and I have a Damart  baselayer on auction over at the walkers forum and plans for more things to do. The Damart baselayer has received a couple of bids, but is still a bargain. And it’s toasty and soft and cosy. You could regret not bidding for this. I mean, we’re in for a cold and wet late winter. Brrr….

Its now time to test the Bunnahabhain. I mean, I should really check that it’s OK. I wouldn;t want any shocks or disappointments, now would I?

Happy new Year to all Pieblog readers. And for those who do manage to get out on the hills, I’m the shambling beardy bloke being pulled along by friendly brown Cumbrian dingo - in case we meet.





Louise said...

All the best for 2014 Mike and I look forward to Café Akto at CCFB. Good luck with the fundraising, you're a little beardy star x

Mike Knipe said...

Same to you pet lamb (North Eastern English affecionado term) Any cake preferences for café akto...?

Louise said...

Cake!! Er, chocolate. Or ginger. Or fruit. Or anything yummy! Please thanking you. I'll empty my shrapnel into your collection box (purely to lighten my load before heading uphill!) It's all getting very exciting ;-)

Unknown said...

And - you blogged. Inspirational, very funny stuff. Thanks, and Happy New Year.


Dawn said...

Well done Mike, in fact, exceptionally well done.

AlanR said...

Well done Mike. Its always a pleasure walking with you. All the best for 2014 and whatever routes it brings.

Alan Sloman said...

A nice round up of quite an eventful year, then.
After Mazeran, will you be in Braemar?
Cheers Mike. I've enjoyed your blog again this year. Always makes me grin!

Mike Knipe said...

Louise - Basically, it's cake, then.
Thanks Brian and Dawn (I forgot to mention one of our trips...dhuhh...)and Alan R
Alan S - after Mazeran, and by popular request (Louise) - I'll be going to the cairngorm Bridge with some cake. I do intend to go to Braemar and Callater and will have a little bagging frenzy of some local Corbetts and stuff... That's the plan anyway!

markswalkingblog said...

Crikey,you packed them in didn't you. Well done. Have another fruitful year in 2014!

Julian Glover said...

A pretty busy year then, one way or another! The walking alone puts our paltry potterings to shame.

Great fun as always, here's to more fun and inspiration in 2014!


Mike Knipe said...

Thanks Jules and Mark - Hopefully, 2014 will be even betterrer than 2013. Plans are afoot (that's about 0.3 metres)