Today, Ambles & Rambles has reached something of a landmark – 100,000 page views since I started the blog just over 5 years ago.
So, first of all, my thanks to those who have read, browsed or made comment at one time or another.
|Pointed look: The Matterhorn from Grindjisee (Sept 2012)
Now at 100,000 hits in 5 years, I can’t claim it has “gone viral” and, to the best of my knowledge, nothing appears to have been “trending” when I wasn’t looking. But I must admit to a certain satisfaction with this figure, especially considering the reasoning behind the blog in the first place.
|The good life: Family homestay in Nderlysa, Thethi National Park,
Albania (Jun 2011)
My thoughts at the outset were simple enough: to keep a record of my walking trips for posterity, to act as a creative incentive through writing and photography, and to better acquaint myself with the world of social media (something quite new to me at that time).
|Beardy weirdy: frozen face-fuzz, minus 15 degrees C
during the day, Mayrhofen, (Jan 2012)
Pretty soon it settled into the melange you now see: predominantly trip reports from both home and abroad, a few gear reviews, some walking-related thoughts and a little campaigning thrown in for good measure.
|Borderline friendship: Kushtrim & Dimitrije at
the Montenegro-Kosovo border (July 2013)
Looking back over the last 5 years, there have been plenty of great moments - the smattering of photos adorning this post representing just a few. Some bring back great memories, others are simply favourite pictures – in one way or another, though, all capture some of the more memorable times spent out and about.
|Peak perfection: from Stanton Moor, Peak District (Oct 2011)
Starting my own blog also introduced me to other people’s blogs – an online community of like-minded outdoor enthusiasts willing to educate, entertain and inspire through their love of walking, backpacking, travelling and exploring the great outdoors. It was something of a revelation to discover just how many unique and passionate voices there were out there, with their generosity and willingness to share.
|Winter of content: Snowy tracks above Dentdale
I, too, have had opportunities to inform and advise, and some of the most satisfying moments have come when messages have been posted asking for information about places we have walked or things we have done. Our trips to The Balkans and The Alps have featured highly in this regard, and I hope I have been able to satisfactorily answer the questions posed. Who knows: maybe someone has even been sufficiently inspired by these pages to choose one of those destinations for themselves.
|Coasting along: beautiful Pembrokeshire Coast Path
At its busiest, I was able to post about once a week. In recent times, however, pressures of work and other commitments have meant that whilst we both still really enjoy our walking trips and get out there whenever we can, we have done fewer new routes and I have had less time to prepare posts - an unfortunate consequence of a busy life.
|Time and tide: Norfolk Coast Path, Easter 2014
With a few notable exceptions, it seems to be a similar story across the blogosphere. Traffic has reduced and momentum slowed, which is a shame. However, the effort required to maintain a blog can be considerable, and I guess the novelty can wear off after a while.
|Go west, young man (and woman): On Camino,
just beyond Najera (Sept 2014)
Enthusiasm wanes: people migrate to other platforms such as FB or Twitter (which have their uses, but to my mind don’t offer the same opportunity that a blog does) or their lives move on, and there simply isn’t enough time anymore. For what it’s worth I intend to keep A&R going, even if it’s in an ad hoc way, as I still want to keep a record of our trips and have something to look back on in my dotage.
|At something of a crossroads: Walking the Mare
a Mare Nord, Corsica (May 2010)
Who knows, there may come a time when I can give it a bit more input again, and regain the impetus of 2-3 years ago. One thing is for certain: we never know what life will bring in future, but it would be nice to think more walking and exploring can be squeezed in somewhere along the way, before I get too old to get out there anymore – or too batty to care!