#walk1000miles – December 2018

I’ve been saying this all year but, I had no intention of walking the full one-thousand miles this year. My aim was purely to walk as often as would seem reasonable and to see, out of curiosity, how many miles I could cover within an average year.

Well, that hunger probably took over – aided by several months of unemployment, lots of free time and the ambition to complete my first National Trail. I have many good memories from 2018 and I look forward to walking my way through 2019…

Again, I won’t be setting out to reach any target but I’ll probably complete this challenge for a third successive year!

01/12 – 11.25 miles – Belstone, Dartmoor
02/12 – 10 miles – Chagford, Dartmoor
08/12 – 9.25 miles – Chew Magna, BaNES
16/12 – 9.5 miles – Oldbury-on-Severn, Gloucestershire
22/12 – 10 miles – Burrington Breather (walk leading)
24/12 – 13.25 miles – Priddy to Westbury-sub-Mendip
26/12 – 13.5 miles – Quantock Hills, Somerset
28/12 – 11.5 miles – Bal Bach and Bal Mawr, Black Mountains
30/12 – 10.5 miles – Pensford to Stantonbury Hill, BaNES

Total for December 2018 = 98.75 miles

Roaming across Dartmoor with Brunel Walking Group. Somewhere near Belstone.

My month began with the continued survival and completion of a long-weekend down on Dartmoor at its dampest. I enjoyed each of the walks, in spite of the weather each day and I’m pleased to have been able to experience it with the group and also to have ticked off a few more square miles of the northern half of the moor.

Leading from the rear; my final group walk of 2018, above Burrington Combe in North Somerset.

Before Christmas, I led what would become my final group walk of the year. With many people having just broken up with work on the previous day, I wasn’t anticipating a huge turnout and it was a good day not spent indoors with a pleasant group of people.

Wading our way between Chagford and Dartmoor, along what was once a bridleway, now open to marine traffic.

On a side note: our group has, for some time, been struggling to ‘recruit’ new walk leaders and the stature of our events programme suffers because of this. I know that we are not the only Ramblers group to suffer from this (even in our local area) but I hope we don’t end up in a state like Somerset Young Walkers, who have basically ceased being due to a lack of volunteer input.

Pensford and the River Chew, North East Somerset.

Elsewhere in December, I completed a number of familiar and local walks (less than an hour’s drive from home). Even considering that I started the month with a tread back in to the world of full-time employment, I think I’ve amassed an impressive stature of mileage.

Looking down towards Llanthony from Bal Bach in the Black Mountains of South Wales.

Another highlight was a very recent walk in the Black Mountains of South Wales with my friend Dave (I’ll be writing about this one, soon). We climbed to and explored sections of the mountain range that I’d not previously been to. This walk was always on the table, so to speak; even before the Severn Bridge tolls were scrapped.

Views of the Quantocks from Cothelstone Hill on a busy Boxing Day.

I managed to maintain a healthy and regular habit of walking every other day through my eleven-day Christmas break.

Grand total for 2018 = 1,110.75 miles


So, not only have I completed the #walk1000miles challenge without any stern intention but, compared to my tally of 2017, I’ve also beaten my personal best by a margin of eighteen miles!

Near the foot of Stantonbury Hill in North East Somerset.

2019 is likely to be an interesting year, regardless of how far I walk.

Thanks for reading and for your support over the past twelve month.

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'.

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