First of all, may I wish you all a Happy New Year ! Thanks to everyone who’s subscribed, followed, commented and liked my Wild about Scotland posts on WordPress and Twitter over the last year and I hope that 2015 brings you everything that you wish for.
As regular readers will know, I like challenges. Setting a goal is a great motivator and drives me to achieve something new. So rather than set resolutions every year I set a number of challenges I’d like to achieve. It gets me out and about, doing new activities and stops me getting stale.
Life would be boring if we didn’t stretch ourselves.
Last year I had great fun with my 14 for 2014 – 14 new and different activities including wild camping on a mountain top on Midsummer’s Day, climbing the Rum Cuillin and trying sea kayaking for the first time. In the process I raised money for charity and I’d like to say a huge “thank you” to all of you who very kindly donated to Naomi House. However, the primary objective was to taste some new experiences. I could try 15 for 2015, 16 for 2016 and so on of course … but that would get tiresome, not to say taxing and quite expensive !
So this year I’m going minimalist: my challenges for 2015 are about quality, not quantity.
My main challenge this year is to cycle Land’s End to John O’Groats in May with one of my nephews. That’s 1,000 miles cycling over 14 days, unsupported and staying at a mix of campsites, hostels and B&Bs. LEJOG is a classic challenge but one I hadn’t really considered until fairly recently. It was only when my nephew mentioned it being on his UK bucket list (after having returned from an extended round-the-world trip with his girlfriend) that the seed of the idea took root in my mind. I’ll be raising money for charity, in aid of the Maggie’s Centres who provide practical, emotional and social support for people with cancer as well as their families.
I’m new to cycle touring but recently bought a Dawes Galaxy bike and am really looking forward to the trip. However, LEJOG is much more of a challenge than simply cycling from A to B. We’ll be averaging 75 miles a day which is approximately 75 more miles a day than I’m currently cycling, and so I really need to start training in earnest. Expect lots of posts about training rides, route planning, gear and so on. In fact, by the end of the year I’m planning to produce a guide to cycling LEJOG (or JOGLE if you prefer) aimed at complete beginners like me as well as more experienced cyclists.
If the first half of 2015 isn’t going to busy enough I’m also volunteering to become an expedition leader for the Duke of Edinburgh awards scheme. So this year I’ll be helping a group of fourteen young people (14-15 year olds) with their Bronze Award as well as getting trained myself to be an expedition leader from 2016. This involves several training weekends and logging my previous walking experience to gain the Hill and Moorland Leader qualification. This is about giving something back, particularly since both my kids will no doubt participate in the DoE scheme, with my daughter starting this year.
Thirdly, I’ve branched out to do a bit of writing for other websites. I’ve written a couple of articles for Cool Camping who’ve added a camper van section to their website. The articles will be published soon with yours truly somehow becoming their camper van ‘expert’ (!). I’ve also recently been selected to be a product reviewer for Camping Insider and will be writing reviews of products linked to my interests over the course of the year. Their new website will be up and running soon and I’ve already been reviewing my first product. I’m also looking out for other writing opportunities and so please get in touch if you have any suitable suggestions.
In among all of that stuff I’ll be out and about in my camper van, climbing some new hills, cycle camping and having nights out with the stars (sorry to disappoint but this will most definitely not be the showbiz variety).
This is a lot to pack in and I also have a long-suffering family who put up with my hobbies plus a full-time job to attend to every so often. So again, the emphasis is on quality, not quantity.
I’m looking forward to hearing about other people’s adventures in 2015 so please let me know if any of this strikes a chord with your own interests.
Finally, don’t forget that Wild about Scotland has been nominated under the Trespass Outdoors Blog Awards (under the Camping category). If you haven’t already voted, then you have until the 5th January to cast your vote (via Facebook).
I hope you’ve enjoyed your New Year (or Hogmanay here in Scotland) and like me, I hope you’ll be looking forward to getting out and about once the better weather arrives.