Where do you start with last year, best not to dwell on it wherever possible in my opinion. A pandemic and a response to it which has left us all shaking our heads, u turns, broken promises, a tier system which nicely protects big business and leaves the small business owners piling on debt to stay afloat, looking after friends by giving them large contracts and the knowledge that eye tests are best done in Barnard Castle. But this is a walking website, so I’ve had a look at what I’ve managed to do this year, despite being told for large parts of it to stay indoors, apart from when you had to go outdoors!
Well this year I managed 65 walks, which is 10 more than 2019 and my best total since 2017. I’m pretty pleased with that, considering I didn’t go away this year (all 3 Lake District trips were cancelled), which helps to boost the numbers normally, as you walk 3 or 4 times each time you are away. Looking back at the walks there has been an obvious change this year, as I’ve started walking far more on the South West Coastal Path. These have been day walks which means that I need to get back to the starting point, I’ve always managed to create a loop which involves about 5 or 6 miles of the coastal path followed by a return along lanes. I’ve loved nearly every one of my coastal walks this year and they have provided a great change from the Dartmoor walks, which have still featured heavily (38 of the walks are Dartmoor). Adding up this years walks I’ve now completed 110miles of the total coastal path (which is 630miles in length), so about 18%. Lots more to do obviously. I’ve hardly done any of the north coast so will be looking at that this year, alongside more in Dorset and the far end of Cornwall.
My favourite walks of 2020 obviously include plenty of these coastal walks, a couple of wildcamps, 2 Dartmoor walks and a great day out at the Bovington Tank Museum (which we will be revisiting again this year for sure). I could have added lots more but managed to get it down to these 10 outings.
Budleigh Salterton to Exmouth – A Jurassic coast walk, so much colour on the cliffs and a great path to bring you back
Hope Cove to Bantham – The last coastal walk of the year, past a golf course and down to Bantham beach
Mevagissey to Caerhays Castle – The surprise walk of the year plus a seal
Bigbury to Mothercombe – The best walk of the year, perfect weather and scenery
East Portlemouth and Prawle Point – The rugged part of the South Devon coast
Tank museum and West Bay – Big boys toys and a great walk on the way home
Top Tor with the boys – My favourite day out on Dartmoor this year
Brousentor, Lynch Tor and Coffin Wood – A walk from earlier this year, so much to see in this area.
Alongside all the walking has been the finding of the butterflies. I took inspiration from other websites such as Beating The Bounds, and started to look out for them. I managed to find 15 different butterflies this year plus one moth. Most of them were spotted on my coastal walks, hopefully I will keep finding more this year. I managed to see Speckled Wood, Red Admiral, Comma, Large White, Small White, Common Blue, Clouded Yellow, Small Copper, Tortoiseshell, Meadow Brown, Peacock, Marbled White, Small Skipper, Gatekeeper (Hedge brown) and Wall Brown. Plus a Scarlett Tiger Moth.
So for this year, well at the start of December I started sticking pins in a UK map. Places to visit, or more importantly, mountains to climb not just for this year but the next 5 years. I’ve put some marks in Scotland, a fair few in Snowdonia and the Brecons. Yorkshire and the Peak District. Time to go to some new spots and walk the hills that I have read lots about. I am crossing everything that the 2 holidays booked for the Lake District go ahead (August and October). 2020 was the first year in 12 that I didn’t go and I’m stuck on 163 Wainwrights currently. No doubt that Dartmoor will appear more this year, I’m currently going through the Dartmoor 365 list (there are 365 square miles of Dartmoor National Park), I’ve picked off around 260 of the squares so around a hundred to do, which should be good way to see lots of different parts of the place.
I’ve also tweaked my Dartmoor tors/hills list. I’ve taken off some of the rubbish outcrops and added some better ones, I’ve only got 8 left to do now (one walk still to publish which has 3 new tors on it). Finally the coastal path, I need to work out a good way to get to the north coasts of Devon and Cornwall. I think me and the boys might be throwing a tent in the back of the car after school on a Friday and heading up there for a walk on the Saturday. All in all it should keep me busy, there’s no way I’m staying in this year.