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.

 

Cycling in Perthshire

 

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.

 

View southwest, heading down Beinn Sgritheall

View southwest, heading down Beinn Sgritheall

 

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.

 

Wild camp near Arisaig

 

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.

 

 

 

7 Comments on “My Challenges for 2015

  1. Hello and happy new year.

    It’s very interesting reading your challenge for the year – no doubt a lot of small challenges to be achieved prior to LEJOG. My husband is a keen cyclist and said that’s a great bike! He really enjoys using Strava to monitor his progress against his own and others’ times and distances – e.g. 500km cycled in 8 days for the Festive 500, ending last night! He is signed up for the London to Brighton and a number of ‘sportives’ organised through BritishCycling.org.uk – might be useful to you to know. In case it helps your training ideas, he’s only got fit in the last year and he can now do an average of 164 miles a week over 10 hours’ riding a week as he makes it part of his ‘commute’ journeys 2-3 times a week. As you say, it’s going to be important to build your stamina for the 75 miles a day. Ian (my better half) has lost 2 stone in the last 6 months – he is getting closer to a ‘good’ cycling weight. The most important suggestion he has for you is to download Strava – and I know how much fun and gentle competition it provides.

    Many congratulations on being chosen as the expert campervan man for Cool Camping – I love that site and the van additions look interesting.Great that you are writing reviews too – those you have provided for us to read on your blog are extremely helpful.

    I’m impressed that you somehow manage to fit in all that you do with the new role for D of E. My sons completed gold/bronze and gained hugely from the process. I work with young people and know how valuable the award scheme is.

    If you want any feedback or VW stories from a Beach owner, we’d be very happy to write for you.

    Liz

  2. Hi Liz,

    Thanks – it’s great to hear that your husband has managed to quickly build up the miles and his own fitness in just a short space of time … ‘cos I’m gonna have to do the same in only 4 1/2 months !! I will check out local sportives as well as Strava since as you say, I’ll need lots of intermediate goals to work to in the period up to May. I’m not able to commute to work on a regular basis unfortunately so weekend training rides and evening exercise bike sessions are likely to be my staple until the lighter nights return.

    Yes, I would be interested in hearing your ideas, recommendations, tips etc as a Beach owner. Could you send me a quick e-mail using the ‘Get in Touch’ form opposite and we can explore ideas please ?

    Thanks again !

  3. Love to read your first blog of the year, gets me thinking about my own goals. Like the duke of edinburgh plan that you have for yourself. My boys are a few years away from that so very much something I could aspire to doing in the future….might be something to gently lead myself into! Good luck with the award nomination. Thats great.

    • Thanks very much. Yes, the DoE scheme is one that’s just crept up on me – more a lucky coincidence than something I’ve set out to do. I’ve one child at High School and the other will go up in 18 months’ time. Good luck thinking about and achieving your own gosls !

  4. Great to hear of your lejog challenge. I would agree with other comments .. Join strava and monitor your progress over local routes. Maybe join a gym and do spinning classes , great for working up a sweat. Check out British cycling website for any sky rides, free to enter and varied routes taken by experienced trained cyclists, useful for loads of advice and maybe a training buddy. If you can cycle with someone else it makes the miles go in quicker.

    • Hi Dennis,

      Thanks, these are some really useful tips and suggestions. I’m on a steep learning curve ..!

      I’ve just joined Strava – it’s a revelation ! I’ve just discovered there are 400+ people faster than me on a particular local segments of road (out of 500!!). But I now have something to aim for …

      I now have a training plan and already have three rides under my belt, so all going well so far. I’m aiming to meet up with my nephew to have one or two training/practice weekends over the next few months, with back to back rides and carrying all the gear we’ll be taking.

      Any more suggestions and tips gratefully received !

  5. Pingback: On winning the Trespass Blog Awards | Wild about Scotland

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