Highlights of 2022

It was a year in which I was able to experience new places. Here are some of the highlights from my 2022.

Spring in Snowdonia

Aran Fawddwy

In the run up to my birthday, I booked myself in for a five-day trip to Snowdonia. I’d never previously been here alone and I’d not stayed in a local hotel or bunkhouse before. At the end of March, it was too cold to consider camping!

Each day, I was able to walk somewhere new. Mountains I’d heard of but hadn’t discovered before. I’d treat myself to a pub lunch one evening and lunch at a cafĂ© on my sole ‘rest day’. Most of the time, the weather was simply glorious for the time of the year. Wild fires were happening! It also snowed on my final night in Ffestiniog and I enjoyed a very wintry drive home south.

Scotland

Ben Macdui with Brunel Walking Group

In June, I travelled north over the border and in to Scotland for the first time in my life. This was for a week in the Cairngorms, organised by Brunel Walking Group. Originally, my plane had been to fly up to Inverness from Bristol with others… Then, our flights were cancelled, days before! I ended up sharing the nine-hour drive and enjoyed the experience.

Weather-wise, the wind speeds were ferocious for the first few days. We were resigned to staying close to the lochs and not climbing any higher. But we did meet the Munros, we had two of the best days of walking. Scrambling, sunshine and a lone patch of snow were memories from our final full day.

(Let’s just not mention Covid…)

Dartmoor in a Heatwave

(This isn’t Dartmoor. But it was hot and dry)

For a weekend in July, I again joined Brunel for a camping trip to the north of Dartmoor National Park. Down in Devon, the weather was scorching! It was almost too hot to hike. One day on the moor, one along the coast. Temperatures were inescapable, from the moment the sun ramped up at 5am in our tents.

I led a good walk on the final day, starting at Postbridge and heading up to Sittaford Tor via the Grey Wethers Stone Circles. We crossed over the East Dart River before the end and it’s a route I’d like to explore again, one day.

Wild Swimming

(That’s a loch. I didn’t swim in that!)

2021 was a year in which I took more of an interest in cycling, beyond commuting to and from work. I never thought I’d say this but I then took to wild swimming last summer!

We’re not talking hours, miles and different strokes. I did it for the experience. At first, dipping in with trepidation. With each outing, slowing building my confidence to not sink. We sampled a few rivers, outdoor marine lakes and eyed up other opportunities and ideas.

I’d been on a hiatus from the late summer through to the end of 2022 but I’m pleased to say that I’ve already taken one dip this year. In January!

Wild Camping

My tent pitched up, one evening in Somerset.

With no National Trails to follow, I’ve limited myself to just the one wild camp in the summer time. I’d hoped and intended to do several more. One attempt over in South Wales left me only with a very long drive home one evening.

I say this most years now but I do hope to do more of them through 2023. Perhaps in at least three seasons of the year.

Lake District

View of Striding Edge, Helvellyn and Catstye Cam.

It was about time, wasn’t it?! After ten years of being a Ramblers member, I finally decided to take the solo drive up in to Cumbria – having driven straight past it on my way up to Scotland in June.

That’s all I have to share now in retrospect. I’ll soon be writing about my intentions for 2023.

Thanks for reading.

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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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