As far as Missy G and I are concerned, 2013 will go down as something of a curate's egg of a year. There were definitely some good parts - very good, in fact, with some memorable trips - but, outside of the walking, there were some less good bits that happened along as well. I won't bore you with details of the not-so-good bits, but the good included our trip through Montenegro & Kosovo, hiking in southern Albania, and an excellent week along the Camino de Santiago from the Pyrenees to Logrono, as well as a number of great daywalks.
As a result, we had been accumulating mileage quite well, and by the middle of October we were making great strides towards topping last year's figure of just under 740 miles, racking up our best ever annual total along the way. However, the brakes were applied somewhat during the last few weeks of the year as I found myself in a bit of a predicament - firstly unceremoniously chucked out of work, then in a temporary role until Christmas - and with an understandable change of priorities as a consequence.
Nevertheless, we kept plodding along whenever we got the chance, and duly reached our new best ever at the beginning of December. Soon afterwards, we passed a cumulative 6000 miles since we began recording our annual mileage back in 2005 - a statistic that I commented on in a previous post - and it seemed from there on like we would cruise gently towards the end of the year. At this point, it hadn't occurred to us there was another milestone hoving into view: that of 800 miles for the year. It was a long shot, but it just might work!
Entering the festive break, we took our boots everywhere and put them on at every opportunity. Bit by bit, we crept nearer the goal, until, the day before New Year's Eve, we found ourselves heading north for our now-customary get together with friends in Dentdale. What followed was two days of eating, drinking and celebrating by night, and sloshing through muddy fields in the pouring rain by day. And it was muddy, and, boy, it did rain: at one stage I wasn’t sure whether we were walking north, south, east or west, but we were definitely walking upstream.
But, by the time we'd reached Sedbergh on New Year's Eve afternoon, we'd done the necessary, and pased the 800 mile mark by a whisker. Mission accomplished. For warmth, and by way of celebration, we squelched, dripping, into Duo cafe, sank a huge pot of tea, shared the last piece of (appropriately named) orange drizzle cake, and reflected on another year of walking as we tried to dry out and not leave mud on all the surfaces with which we came into contact.
Once again, we saw the New Year in with good friends, great food and a quality Rioja. And, it has to be said, an improved positivity. We'd finished the year on a high note, hitting our target with only hours to spare, and I'm looking forward to starting a new, full-time job next week. We have also heard some exciting news on the walking front (but more on that if it comes off). All in all, it looks like 2014 already has much to commend it!
Bring it on!
|Weir between Linton & Grassington