It is that time of year again where I submit my walk review for the year – or at least that is what I normally write. For some reason I didn’t get round to posting a review of 2017. That is a shame as 2017 was probably my most prolific year for walking in terms of both the volume of walks and the distance covered.
The same cannot be said for 2018. Over the course of the year I managed 52 walks covering 367 miles at an average of just over seven miles per walk. By most people’s standards this is a lot, for me though it is not so high. In fact it is the least amount of walks I’ve done in a calendar year since 2011. By contrast in 2016 and 2017 I managed over 500 miles, the latter year over the course of a record 74 walks.
All in all it has felt like a frustratingly stop-start year for walking. The reasons for this are largely due to poor weather at certain times of the year (the Beast from the East!), car problems, family commitments and health issues – including, on occasion, apathy. Perhaps at this point it is right to mention that my Saab finally packed up in June. Bought for a bargain £750 in 2010 the car had taken me to the starting point of about 500 walks over that time. It will be missed, especially as its replacement hasn’t proven to be very reliable!
An example of the kind of luck I’ve had was when on two consecutive weekends towards the end of the year I set off for a walk only to have to turn back due to problems with my new car. The first time it was due to a puncture and the second to my air con breaking and the resulting issues with keeping the windscreen clear. These problems contributed to me only getting out one weekend out of a possible five. Similar sequences played out at other times of the year too.
Of course quantity does not always equal quality and on a more positive note I have still enjoyed plenty of quality walks in 2018. For the first time in a few years this has included more walks outside of the Yorkshire Dales. Whilst over the last two years I’ve deliberately kept within the Dales (largely to work on content for this website) I’ve broadened my horizons once again in 2018.
One of the primary reasons for this is that I’d always planned on creating a similar website for the North Pennines. In fact I bought a domain for one at the same time as I bought myyorkshiredales.co.uk. Work on the North Pennines website began in January 2018 and continued throughout the first half of the year. Going hand in hand with this I began heading up to the North Pennines, especially Teesdale, fairly regularly.
Sadly my motivation slipped in the second half of the year, as did the frequency of my excursions to the North Pennines. However, a renewed burst of endeavour over the last few days has got the website in a reasonable enough state to be published. Called, you guessed it, mynorthpennines.co.uk, the website features all the North Pennine walks that were on my old mypennines.co.uk website. In addition there are a few that were never published on there plus the walks from this year. These include a memorable day in the snow on Knock Fell, the third highest summit in the Pennines, as well as walks to the likes of Cronkley Fell, Great Stony Hill and Chapefell Top.
Another area that I enjoyed reacquainting myself with in 2018 was the South Pennines. Early in the year I visited the likes of Pendle Hill, Weets Hill and Scammonden Water. However it was in the autumn that I really began to focus on the area again culminating in magnificent trio of walks in Calderdale – Stoodley Pike, Hardcastle Crags and Jumble Hole Clough – in the middle of November.
Over Easter I enjoyed a week’s holiday with my family in Windermere. As the only driver in a group of five, including my mum and step-father, it wouldn’t have been fair to leave them all and do lots of big fell walks. Instead I fit in a series of short walks visiting some of Wainwright’s Outlying Fells in the area. These included a family walk to the magnificent viewpoint of Orrest Head and a solo walk to the equally fine viewpoint of Latterbarrow. The highlights of the week though were some of the non-walking activities I did. These included ghyll scrambling, horse riding and, most memorably, a couple hours kayaking with my daughter on Windermere itself.
Even further afield I had my first walk on the White Cliffs of Dover. Thanks to a blizzard the cliffs were even whiter than normal! Finally, whilst on holiday in Malta in November, I enjoyed a fascinating history filled walk around the Selmun Peninsula.
As with the last couple of years one of the continuing themes of my walks has been to find and photograph waterfalls. Having ‘bagged’ all of the well known waterfalls in the Dales (and many more besides) I’ve gone seeking ever more difficult to access waterfalls. One of my most memorable outings of the year was a walk to Back Gill above Bishopdale. The walk turned into a lengthy battle with bracken but I was rewarded with views of a number of delightful falls that few other people have seen.
It was also nice to revisit waterfalls in other areas too including High Force and Low Force in Teesdale, Lumb Hole Falls in Calderdale and Lumb Hole Spout near Trawden. Possibly my favourite waterfall of 2018 was one I’d not visited before – Goit Stock Falls near Harden, Bingley. Located at the end of a lovely woodland walk I was lucky enough to visit it at the end of October when the autumn colours were quite spectacular.
As always at this time of year I not only reflect on what I’ve achieved over the last 12 months but look forward with anticipation to what I hope to do in the next year. I’ve already started planning my walking itinerary for the coming year. As with this year I plan on spreading my walking net a bit wider. I plan on returning to some more of the high fells of the North Pennines. Meanwhile there are still a few summits in the South Pennines that are long overdue a visit such as Manshead Hill and Crow Hill. I also aim to try and head over to the Lakes a bit more this year and I have my mind set on routes up the likes of Place Fell, Grasmoor and Coniston Old Man. Finally, I’m also hoping to do a bit of walking in Ireland.
Here are my favourite walks, views and walking moments of the year…
Top 5 Walks of 2018:
These are in no particular order. Click on the links to read the full walk reports.
- Fountains Fell from Malham Tarn
- Wharfedale Waterfalls
- Winder and Arant Haw
- Buckden to Bainbridge
- Great Pinseat and the Punchard Gills
The above are selected only from the walks appearing on this website. Undoubtedly one of my favourite walks of the year was High Brown Knoll and Hardcastle Crags on my birthday in November. Similarly a couple of my walks in the Lake District are also close contenders but I can’t direct you to reports on these. As for the North Pennines there are a few of walks that really stand out. These can be viewed on the My North Pennines website:
Top 5 Views of 2018:
- Three Peaks country from the trig point on Knowe Fell
- The very different perspective of the Yorkshire Dales from Cosh Knott
- Cragdale and Raydale from the descent of Stake Moss
- Upper Teesdale from the Thistle Green trig point on Cronkley Fell
- The view of the Lake District from Orrest Head
Top 5 Most Memorable Walking Moments of 2018:
- Taking my daughter up on to Pen-y-Ghent for the first time. She definitely did not enjoy the climb but was very pleased with herself and had more energy than me on the way back down!
- The huge thunder storm as I came down Moudy Mea. After the ominous approach when it finally struck I found myself directly underneath a cloudburst. Incredible.
- The tussles with head high bracken in Back Gill in order to get to some waterfalls. Not one of my most enjoyable moments but memorable nonetheless.
- The dramatic changes in weather and lighting as I stood awestruck by the trig point on Knowe Fell as nearby Fountains Fell changed hue numerous times.
- The sun illuminating the autumn woods of Hebden Dale as I stood on top of Hardcastle Crags with my wife. Glorious stuff and a real birthday present.
Finally thank you all for visiting and supporting this website over the last year. I’d like to take this opportunity to wish you a wonderful 2019 and that you find time to explore some of our wonderful countryside.