Looking ahead to 2013

Well, 2012 was a bit of a disaster for me, in terms of the amount I achieved, but there’s little point lamenting about it. Needless to say, I made quite a few promises and plans, both personally, and on this blog, and I think I succeeded in, well, none of them, really. In part, that was due to the horrible weather we had in 2012, but there was also a lack of motivation on my part in some cases, too.

Looking to 2013, though, I’m determined that it won’t happen again. I’m going to try and exert my independence a little and escape into the wilds much more often.

Do I still want to get into running? Yes, but only for fitness purposes, rather than for any specific goal. I found that I quite enjoy it, but as soon as it got frosty outside, I was more than a little reluctant to get out on the streets (understandably, I’d like to think!) I plan on taking that back up again once the worst of the winter is past, probably in mid to late march. In the meantime, I’m willing to let the cardiovascular fitness slide a little (but not too much!)

So, do I have any big plans for 2013?

Well, yes and no. I plan on walking the West Highland Way again in May (starting Saturday May 11th). I’ve walked the West highland Way before, with Janie, but when we did that, we used the courier service to transport our baggage. This time, I plan on carrying my own gear and doing it properly. I’m hoping that by doing a decent length walk like this at the start of the main walking and backpacking season, I’ll be fit enough to carry out a good few backpacking trips (I’m thinking a 3 day trip every month, from May – October and day trips most weekends in between) during the rest of the year.

I bought myself a couple of books before Christmas, from the Cicerone Backpacking Britain range, which has several backpacking trips from anywhere from 2 days to a week. I’m hoping to tick a few of them off before winter kicks in next year. I have to admit, when I got them, I was a bit daunted, as a lot of the trips involved taking in the summits, when I’m used to walking the glens. That’s why I’m hoping a week of solid walking on the West highland Way, coupled with several day trips (and the occasional overnighter) in the hills will make me fit enough to carry a few of them out.

As my last post points out – I’ve also got a new camera, and I’m moving on a bit from the point and shoot cameras I’ve been used to. I’ve just ordered a carbon fibre tripod (with head, just over 1kg, so light enough to carry for most backpacking trips), and I plan on focusing quite a bit more over the coming year on the photographs I take. It should mean that the quality of the images I take will markedly improve (I already think that’s the case, just from the photos in the previous post!) It also means that I’ll occasionally pick shorter walks, but with a photographic interest, as much as a walking one.

A good example of this is next weekend, where I plan on going out for 4 consecutive days (staying in different youth hostels each day), with a view to taking photos of some of the stunning mountain scenery we have in Scotland. The objective isn’t for the big, long walks, but rather, good photo opportunities.

Janie and I have been talking, and we’ve agreed that we’re going to be putting a bit more focus into Cullaloe, the nature reserve that we manage in 2013. This means that as well as getting out into the hills, I’ll also be doing more to encourage others to get involved in the reserve and to take an interest in the wildlife that can be found in their local environment. Pond dipping, moth trapping, bug and bat hunting will all feature, I suspect, along with the usual butterfly surveys which I carry out each year.

Basically, I plan on spending as much time in the outdoors as I possible can in 2013, whether that’s backpacking, hill walking, taking photographs of the local scenery or working at Cullaloe. And I can’t think of anything I’d rather be doing!

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