Happy New Year to you all!
I recently made a short vlog on YouTube talking about this and, having now repeated this thought process for a second time, I’m already feeling as though I have more ideas than I could possibly squeeze in to a single year!
But that doesn’t have to be a bad thing.
My Next Long-Distance Walk
This has been one of my most frequently asked questions in response to my Cleveland Way videos on YouTube. I knew at the time that it would probably involve travelling even further from home. Local doesn’t cut it anymore. Had it not been for the pandemic, I might’ve completed it already.
Does the West Highland Way need much of an introduction?! A long-distance trail across a portion of Scotland that attracts hikers from all over the world. Hopefully not as busy as Snowdon’s summit or even Ben Nevis. But one I would aim to complete in no more than six days of walking.
If I was to pencil in a date right now, it would be for the middle of May – prior to the high season of midges. I can’t imagine doing it in the heat of the summer for that very reason, having to camp each night as well. But May sounds frighteningly close. I’ve only just finished the Cleveland Way, right?! If it doesn’t happen in May, there’s a chance I could look towards September again.
The Lake District
All this talk of crossing the border to the north and I’ve still yet to visited what might be England’s most prestigious National Park.
Yep, a Lake District virgin, over here! Had I not opted for the Cleveland Way in September and many miles of backpacking, I’d have surely looked to have spent five nights camping around “The Lakes”. I’ve been entertaining this idea for a few years now. Quietly hoping for a companion to travel with; waiting patiently for group opportunities to arise (thanks, pandemic).
Looking ahead now, it seems as though it’ll be another trip I have to make alone. Six hours in to the North of England. Several nights of camping; days of climbing fells and previously unexplored mountains.
How do I choose between a trek across Scotland and a week in the Lake District?
Another Long-Distance Walk?
For whatever reason, I may decided that the West Highland Way is unachievable for me in this year. That can be okay. I am guilty of sometimes to succumbing to my self-inflicted pressures from having a presence on social media.
I’ve never completed the Cotswold Way. It is fairly local to me, with most parts accessible within an hour’s drive. Essentially, I’ve explored most of the hills but haven’t walked all of the paths in between. I may not allow myself the time to walk the whole trail in five or six days. But I could certainly do it over a series of weekends or day walks. Convenient bus routes are convenient in some areas to suit linear walking.
Beyond the Cotswold Way, I’ve had thoughts about walking the Two Moors Way (across Dartmoor and Exmoor) and even the Peddar’s Way and Norfolk Coast Path.. Neither of which seem to compare to a Scottish Highland adventure!
I’ve even thought about heading north to tackle the Cumbria Way. Technically, it does pass through the Lake District. But a return visit to that park would be required in order to tick of the higher summits.
I was talking with some friends recently about my close proximity to the Minehead-end of the 630 mile long South West Coast Path. Yet I’ve only walked that stretch as far as Lynton and Lynmouth; barely crossing the border in to North Devon. From there… Many miles remain untouched, until you arrive near St. Ives in Cornwall.
I feel I’ve now covered more than half of the Dorest section of the SWCP and, to be fair, I could probably walk more of that in day and weekend trips. Cornwall demands a good three hours of driving from home and a longer duration of stay. But I have huge voids all the way around Devon.
There’s also the Wales Coast path. Much longer in length but I’ve barely even sniffed at it. I’m not all that far from the Chepstow start/end point.
While the Wales Coast Path is much longer than the SWCP, it’s possible I could look at walking a section, like the Pembrokeshire Coast Path. Like the National Trails, this could be walked within a week. Although I’d need to explore public transport options.
More Wild Camping
In 2021, I amassed a total of TWO wild camps! A personal record and they both came within the space of a month. First, down on the Quantock Hills (the warm up) and then, midway through my trek along the Cleveland Way (waterlogged, dehydrated and hungry like a nightmare).
I have the intention to do more wild camping through 2022. I bought myself a winter inner for my backpacking tent, some time ago… Yet I can sit here now, in early January, with little intention of braving those long cold nights in the outdoors (especially now the mild spell of Christmas has passed). But who knows. Perhaps I’ll challenge myself. Perhaps I’ll form a habit that’ll last from the spring through and in to the autumn. Here, there and anywhere.
As of November, I officially stood down as the sole organiser of my own walking group on Meetup. It’s since been taken on by another and he’s bought with him a team of assistants, a new name and idea. It’s looking good for the survival of the group and I can relieve myself of the pressures of doing it all alone.
Many of those stresses were self-inflicted. I have a subscription to pay of almost £90, every six months. For that, I needed to lead walks and to charge for them accordingly. Doing it alone, I made myself solely responsible for fulfilling the program. Often leading walks as I chore. I didn’t want to be there.
On top of the need to ‘stay local’ during Lockdown 3.0 and my enthusiasm for walking has waned a bit through 2021. It’s something I will continue to be wary of. Walking for the right reasons. For myself and not always for the need to fulfil my own YouTube ‘quota’ of regular uploads.
I’ll make an effort to walk with different groups and to mix with other people and leaders. To lead my own walks at my own leisure and choosing.
I think that’s enough for now. Please feel free to share your own thoughts and plans below.
Thanks for reading.
4 thoughts on “Plans for 2022”
Happy New Year to you.
Good luck with 2022’s new adventures. Dont forget, as a sole traveller you dont have anything to prove, to yourself or anyone else, only take on challenges that are comfortable with you, otherwise they become a burden and not so enjoyable.
I wish you luck and keep on smiling 2022 (just another year) you have plenty of time to fulfill the rest of your dreams, so at your own steady pace! Good Luck 👍🙂
Good luck with all of your walking ideas
You sound like you have done far, far, far more walking them myself and my fiancee have done. We completed the West Highland Way last July and it was my 1st long distance walk since I was about 13 when I did the Greenstone-Caples track in NZ with my Mum. We were worried as we only really did 2 long practise walks but we found it fine. At the end of each day we were happy to take our boots off and have a beer but I think people make it sound harder than it is. We did use baggage transfers though (I won in an IG competition) and we stayed in hotels so maybe that explains things. It’s one of the best things I have ever done.
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Hi, thank for your comment and for subscribing!
I’ve certainly done a lot of walking in what will be ten years by the end of 2022! I’m pleased to hear that you have completed the West Highland Way. It does look to be a great trail and one that clearly attracts people from all over the world. I look forward to doing it one day… Although my own plans for this year and changing! Maybe I should write about that?
I get the impression with the West Highland Way that the name is perhaps more than what it offers… I’m sure it’s a walk amongst the Scottish ‘Highlands’ but, a bit like the Cumbria Way in the Lake District, you’re not spending every day crossing mountains. Much of the trail is more low-level (not a bad thing) and it remains accessible for many.
I’m pleased to hear that you are so pleased about it and I hope that you have other great plans for 2022.