A brand-new year is already two-weeks underway! Over the Christmas break, I took a few minutes to jot down a couple of short lists – one for potential walks; the other for ideal camping destinations.
In this post, I’ll be proposing a selection of places I could choose to visit, here in 2016.
Last year, I really ‘out-did’ myself on two counts, for both of which I feel I have grown a little and I am grateful – firstly, for managing to go off camping on four separate weekends throughout the summer; secondly, for completing a record three-night stay on my own, in that final weekend. To all of that, I can also add an October weekend spent in a North Wales holiday cottage.
After exploring the most popular parts of the Brecon Beacons last May, I’m naturally inclined to believe it would be a good idea to cross the River Severn once more this year. I’d probably be on my own this time and the coast path along the western edge of Pembrokeshire looks inviting… But it would mean a longer drive. An immediate alternative would be to head a little further west from the Black Mountains, only ninety-minutes from home and maybe half the journey of a trip to the nation’s western edge.
I’ve never been there and I’m fully aware that you can wild camp there without breaking the law. Whether or not I’d choose to do that for more than a single night though, is another question. Dartmoor is almost within driving distance from home – I’m sure it’s not quite as far as Dorset. Maybe it’s something I’ll save for a future day of walking instead. As far as landscapes go, I believe it could also be too ‘undistinguished’ from the hills I have close to home.
Devon or Cornwall
It’s been a very long time since I went to Cornwall but the appeal in both counties is that I would get to see more of the British coastline and sample another stretch of the South West Coast Path. Like Dorset, it’s the kind of place I’d prefer to avoid in August, as it would no doubt be heaving with bodies. I do currently like the idea of a weekend in Cornwall though. It feels like a very strong contender.
For the same reasons, I also have an urge towards visiting Dorset for a third successive summer… There are still sections of coast I’d like to walk there but maybe I could turn those in to day-trips instead…
If we only revisit the same destinations, year in year out, that leaves a whole lot of world we’re less able to see.
This is already high on my list of priorities – I may even label it as No.1, even if that’s not to say it would be my very first destination of the year. This was my other choice for my three-night stay away in September of last year. One of the reasons I decided to head for the Peak District instead was because I couldn’t decide on where exactly to stop and explore… But I think Shropshire is only a couple of hours drive from home and a good ninety-minutes less than Derbyshire, perhaps.
As much as I enjoyed September’s stay near Buxton, exploring a tiny portion of the White Peak; the less-than-fortunate weather meant there was still a lot I didn’t get to see and, in contrast to that area, there is also the Dark Peak to the north, upon which the Pennine Way trail officially begins.
If I could explore some of the Dark Peak area, it would feel ‘less of a Dorset‘, based on what I wrote earlier.
Still, I wonder about other destinations and if I can survive an three-and-a-half-hour drive north and back in one weekend, I could certainly travel that bit further to explore proper Northerness. Ribblehead Viaduct would be a must and I also hear continuously good things about Whitby. I do hope to go there one day but it almost feels like a ‘Peaks Vs. Yorkshire‘ battle at the moment.
I put a lot of effort in to chasing the biggest hills and coastal climbs but I also wonder what may like to the east of Wiltshire, further than my bridleway-bound feet have currently explored… It’s flat over there, isn’t it? There’s also the thought of temporarily reacquainting with a friend who moved back there a few months ago. While I can’t go much further west in England, I’ll eventually reach my limits driving north and south, when I may have to consider turning east anyway. It’s an option for a potentially ‘less intensive’ trip.
If I was going to talk about the Lake District then, I would also have to consider Scotland – right now, that all seems like too much. I’m aware that the Lakes cover a huge and recently-expanded mass of land, requiring perhaps four OS maps in order to define it all… Everyone goes to the Lake District. It looks absolutely stunning from the photos I’ve seen but I don’t see it as essential to me, at least for this year.
I’m still somewhat gutted that I effectively missed out on my best chance yet to have climbed Mount Snowdon in October, regardless of the fact that it wouldn’t have been the most enjoyable of experiences it could’ve been on a better day. Four-hours is a considerable drive and one I’m not too keen to have to endure on my own. There are other attractions nearby and I like the idea of kayaking but I also feel like the ‘need’ for someone else is going to hold me back on this idea above all others.
So, it looks as though I may be leaning towards longer drives this year than the average of the previous two years. With that in mind, I may also consider more three-night stays, as opposed to the usual two, in order to make more of my time and the effort required to get there.
There’s also the possibility that other circumstances could arise that may affect these current intentions – maybe I’ll find myself headed for a festival somewhere or perhaps I’ll even end up abroad, walking several-hundred miles along some well known and prestigious pilgrimage!