Well 2021 has now passed and we all start to make plans for the new year, I will get around to mentioning my plans lower down but for now lets look back at 2021. It started badly for the first 3 months with lockdown and the dreaded words “a short drive”. I had no idea what this meant, no one did, it was up to the local constabulary to decide if they wanted to fine you, utter nonsense. I stayed from the door to start with then started to drive a bit, then a bit further and onwards. I refined the local walks I’d discovered in previous lockdowns to make them better and came up with about 4 which were perfect, which got me through the early months of the year. Next I moved on to the south west corner of Dartmoor and then by April I was tramping South West Coastal path again and heading further away. In total I did 64 walks this year, just 1 less than 2020 (I still have 3 to write up) with 29 on Dartmoor, 23 coastal, 7 in the Lakes, 2 in Brecon Beacons, one near Swindon, a National Trust property and one on Bodmin Moor. As with each of the years I could have done more walking, certainly my two Lake District trips were cut short of walks, one due to injury (see the Great Gable walk mentioned below) and once due to biblical rain which lasted 4 days and flooded the county. However the walking I actually did was pretty good. I certainly extended my South West Coastal Path completed sections this year, having doubled what I’d done previously, to make it to 230miles, which I’m really pleased with. I’m passed 1/3rd distance now having pretty much completed a long section from Lyme Regis to Plymouth and I’m making in roads into the north Cornwall coast as well (all the walks on the coastal path are here).
As for my efforts to complete the Wainwrights, well I was able to visit the Lake District twice in 2021, which was a real relief and I managed a few walks up there, bagging 13 Wainwrights. This has pushed me to 176 completed with 38 left to do (all the Lakes walks can be found here). I still have a large amount of Western and Southern Fells on my list, I think 21 on my list are in those areas so I really need to make an effort around Wasdale and Eskdale. My Dartmoor 365 list has leapt onwards and I only have 36 left on the list now (a couple of walks to publish still), I have really enjoyed these walks this year. I’ve enjoyed stitching together walks around the lanes on the edge of the moor and popping on to the moor to see a tor or two before back to a village for a coffee or pint and I hope to be able to continue these in 2022. The Dartmoor 365 list is probably the best way to see the whole moor and all it has (here). As for this year on the website, again the number of views has increased to just over 125000, which is astounding and about 58000 people visiting. A huge thank you from me to everyone of you that have clicked here and I hope you have found a walk, tor or map that was useful to yourself. My most popular pages/walks this year are the obvious tors lists, alongside individual pages for Shilley and Sharrah Pools (classic wildswimming spots), High Willhays also features highly. The most popular walk is still one from 2017 Blea Rigg to Tarn Crag in the Lakes (here) and a fair few of my lockdown 1 walks from 2020. My most clicked walk from this year is in my list of best walks of 2021 below, it was one to Fur Tor and it was a cracker.
With all this eulogising about great walks, views and things to do there were some down points. One walk on Bodmin Moor irked me somewhat with the amount of fencing and lack of gates to link paths together. I really enjoy the tors on Bodmin Moor and Rough Tor was a cracker to visit this year (here) but the walk wasn’t enjoyable due to some very grumpy landowners. Still it was great to get to the high point of Cornwall. Then there was our Great Gable walk in the summer with the boys, this would have been top of the list normally and visiting Great Gable should be a pleasure, however with my youngest falling on Green Gable and splitting his knee open, it took the edge off the walk somewhat. Finally the one wildcamp we had on Dartmoor this year was a bit of a disaster with me getting tonsillitis that evening and feeling awful all night in the tent, never have I wanted to get off Dartmoor so much (here). All these mishaps are balanced nicely by some lovely moments, the swimming at Shilley pool was a real treat (its also listed below) and finally putting boot on Lakeland soil after a couple of year absence was brilliant, Carrock Fell might not jump out as a great fell but it was a cracking walk (here)
My favourite walks this year are below:
The Lizard – Easily the best walk and thing I did last year. Taking the boys away for a night and then a walk on Britain’s most southerly point, best walk, best weekend and Kynance Cove, just glorious. I asked for hotel vouchers for Christmas so we can repeat these types of experiences.
Fur Tor, Queen of the moor – A great walk on Dartmoor from a different direction for me from Bagga Tor. Glorious sunshine plus snow on the way back!
Crackington Haven to Boscastle – You’ll hit the highest point of the whole coastal path on this walk, 223m on High Cliff. Plenty of ups and downs on this walk, a real leg burner but Boscastle is spectacular.
Finale of the Foster 500 – I’ve been at my tor list since the website started in 2015, extending it a couple of times, this was the end. The final 2 tors.
Pen Y Fan – I started walking outside of the south west or Lake District! The Brecons are superb and this is a classic in the area.
Shilley Pool – The most fun I had on the moor in 2021, hot day, sliding down into a cool plunge pool. Quality.
Esk Pike – My favourite Lake District walk from 2021 and a route I cobbled together linking fells that you wouldn’t normally walk on the same day. Only a downpour at the end took the edge off a classic Lake District day.
Pendower Beach – Perfect weather and a lovely day down in the Roseland Peninsula. If walking was always like this we would never do anything else.
As for 2022, well Dartmoor 365 and the South West Coastal path will feature heavily. I should complete the Dartmoor 365 list this year easily and as I mentioned above, I have hotel vouchers to spend in Premier Inns. So will be looking to get some weekends away with the boys and tick off some spectacular parts of the coastal path, if I’m taking the boys then it makes sense to hit the highlights such as Land’s End, Sennen Cove, Porthcurno, Kynance Cove (again), St Michaels Mount and maybe more of the north Cornwall coast. I would love to go back to the Tank Museum (Bovington) again and perhaps another walk with the boys after that. I’d love to get back to Brecon Beacons again this year (Black Mountain maybe) and maybe another smaller hill in the area like I did last time with Sugar Loaf. I have 2 visits to the Lakes booked, which should mean I get through the 180 Wainwright mark at least. Finally I’d like to do a multiday walk. Maybe part of the coastal path as that would tick off two things at once, nothing too huge but maybe 3 days!! So lots to think about and lots of new places to go and see, hopefully through this website you’ll come with me and enjoy it all as much as I do. Hope you all have a happy and healthy 2022.