Hiking Highlights: 2017

Welcome to 2018!

Before we look ahead to what may lie in store this year, I’d like to spend some time reflecting upon some of my personal highlights and achievements from 2017.

It would be easy for me to look back and say ‘In the end, despite buying all that kit, I still haven’t walked the Ridgeway’ or, as I very recently realised ‘I haven’t set foot on Exmoor once this year’ and ‘I’ve still not been to Dartmoor’

– Cadair Idris –

Without any shadow of a doubt, my single most memorable walk from the year has to be the climb of Cadair Idris in May.

My first proper hike in Snowdonia, after missing out on Snowdon eighteen-months earlier. It was a rewarding mountain to climb; the mist added atmosphere before clearing minutes ahead of us reaching the summit.

– Camping With Others –

On two occasions in 2017, I challenged my social anxiety fears and went camping with up to nineteen other people, each time. Both areas we visited were new to me and, even though I had my wobbles and moments of withdrawl, it was a rewarding experience overall, on both occasions.

I’m very used to camping alone or with one other person I know quite well. From here on, I feel I can look at a proposed trip and not have to miss out exploring someone new. I can still gain from an experience where I feel the fear.

– Friendship –

Following on from that, I’ve slowly been working on changing one of my own views and thought patterns towards other people in the walking group. It’s not their fault at all. But, before this year, I have always mentally divided “friends” in to categories.

For example:

Close Friends / Walking Group Friends / Work Friends

Certainly, within the walking group, I’ve begun to tear down the wall that separates ‘them’ from mixing in with my list of ‘close friends’. Not only have I begun to ease my strict definition but some of these people within one group and met people from another. Other connections and friendships have been made.

I still have work to do here but I can honestly say that I’m better off for being able to say that a few people within the group are also people I consider to be close friends and not just names and faces I occasionally walk with.

‘Work friends’ is tricky, as I changed jobs in the spring and now find myself in a situation where I share very little in the way of common interests with my colleagues. I don’t believe that will progress without another change in circumstances, at least.

There is also something to be said for the online world and connections I’ve begun to make through social media. Fortunately, we’re not talking about online dating! Been there, done that, don’t ever want to return to it! But I’ve been on one walk and met up with a fellow YouTube creator. Quite recently, I’ve received offers to go wild camping with a couple of others on Dartmoor. I’ve also got long term plans to head down that way to finally meet up and walk with another person – it’s simply a case of finding a convenient time.

Of course, having walked more than a thousand miles over the past year, I could’ve written all about my three favourite walks as I do have fond memories from so many weekends.

I’ve always struggled with social situations. Certainly, since my early teenage years. Walking has become a way in which I can change my life. My life is far more ‘adventurous’ [and I’m not keen on that word – it’ll be the subject of a forthcoming post] than it would’ve been at this time six-years ago.

Thank you for reading and keep walking through 2018.

Author: Olly Parry-Jones

I live in Weston-super-Mare, close to the Mendip Hills in Somerset and I enjoy time spent outdoors, whether that's walking, camping or backpacking. My day job involved making furniture from recycled wood (I'm a furniture maker and carpenter by trade). I have two blogs: Olly Writes (woodworking, DIY, baking) Walks With Olly (walking, camping and kit) You can also find me on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. My second YouTube channel is titled 'Walks with Olly'.

5 thoughts on “Hiking Highlights: 2017”

  1. Lovely post! Iā€™m new here & would love if you checked out my posts, and followed if you enjoyed them! Thanks so much, Rachel! šŸ˜Šā¤ļø


  2. Great reflection on 2017! I was glad to read about your section on how you’ve developed stronger friendships with walking friends. It can be tough to take a friendship to a next level (like going from casual walking friends to close friends) but it’s also rewarding. I find it’s easier to be close friends with my hiking friends and running friends because I spend so much time with them doing something somewhat painful/strenuous and there’s just a certain bond that’s built from that. I hope 2018 is a great one for you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Liz. šŸ™‚
      I agree with what you say. I’ve also come to accept that I spend a lot of extended time with the people I walk with and we also see each other quite regularly. In some ways, some of my other friendships have cooled off a bit because I see those people less often.

      I also hope you have a great year. šŸ™‚


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